Spending time outdoors isn’t only a pleasant way to spend a lazy afternoon. It’s also good for you. Taking in a little fresh air, sunshine, and greenery helps reduce levels of cortisol, the stress hormone that’s linked to a multitude of health issues. That’s one reason why the outdoor lounge became a popular home addition in recent years. And the best part is that you don’t need to have an expansive country estate to enjoy outdoor living.
Even if you only have a modest space to work with, you can transform your outdoor area with these simple steps.
1. Revitalize Your Outdoor Space
Before you go on an outdoor decor shopping spree, the first thing that you should do is take stock of the space that you have to work with.
In this respect, having a larger space can be both a blessing and a curse. Sure, you have a lot more real estate to play with, but that also means that you’ll need to put in a lot more work to turn it into your ideal outdoor lounge.
If the prospect is a bit daunting, it may be wise to start small. Use a patio, deck, or patch of lawn immediately adjacent to the door as a starting point, and branch off from there.
Once you’ve settled on a place to start, you can do the work of cleaning and refurbishing the space before adding garden decor.
2. Make It Cozy
A good way to organize your ideas is to think of your lounge as an outdoor living room.
Your outdoor lounge might not have all of the same amenities as your living room. For example, most people don’t put a TV and entertainment center outside (though it’s certainly possible). But you should apply the same organizing principles.
As far as outdoor furniture goes, seating and surfaces should be your main priorities. After all, you want this space to not only be a place to relax but to entertain company. So arranging for a sofa, chairs, and places for everyone to set their drinks is a must.
You also want a focal point. For an indoor living room, this would usually be an entertainment center. With an outdoor lounge, you can be more creative.
An outdoor fireplace or fire pit, for example, makes a great focal point to arrange the space around. You can also situate the space around a decorated accent wall, or have your lounge facing out onto a well-maintained garden and lawn.
Whatever your preference, the idea is to create a space where everyone feels like they can come together. Having a feature that serves as an anchoring point helps foster that atmosphere.
3. Keep It Toasty
Normally, the challenge with creating a comfortable outdoor space is providing enough shade. After all, you tend to associate having fun in the backyard with spring and summer festivities.
But the good times don’t need to end because we’re entering the chillier months of the year. You just need to plan accordingly.
The aforementioned outdoor fireplaces and fire pits are great ways to keep comfortable throughout the winter. You can even buy gas-powered fixtures if you don’t want to deal with the hassle of keeping a fire going the old-fashioned way.
But not everyone will have the space or the budget for those. In their place, smaller torches and heat lamps make for a great alternative.
4. Have Greenery All Year-Round
In a perfect world, we’d be able to maintain a perfect, luscious garden year-round. Not only does plant life help brighten up a space, but the act of tending a garden is great for your health.
In the warmer months, you can make an effort to raise some natural foliage of your own. Even those of us without green thumbs can find some hardy perennials at the local garden center that are designed to survive the forgetful caretaker.
The greater challenge comes now that winter is right around the corner. Even the southern states can expect the occasional hard frost that can make keeping a garden difficult.
There are a couple of ways to answer this challenge. One is to keep as much of your greenery in pots as possible. This will let you quickly move your plants indoors whenever a frost is imminent.
The more low-maintenance solution is to opt for artificial plants.
Modern artificial plants are so realistic that most people would only know the difference upon close inspection. This makes them an ideal, stress-free way to keep a little greenery around, even in the dead of winter.
5. Light Up the Night
The encroaching chill in the air isn’t the only factor to consider as the cold months set in. It will only get darker earlier as the season progresses, so a lighting solution is a must.
Most homes already have at least one overhead porch light, but those aren’t always an optimal solution. Half the time they’re underpowered and can’t illuminate your entire lounge. Either that or they’re far too strong and wash out the whole area in harsh, glaring white light.
You want a happy medium. Plenty of light to see by, but still soft and tempered enough to create a sense of intimacy.
Solar-powered lights are a great solution. They charge throughout the day, then automatically turn on at night when you need them.
String lights are another underrated answer. When strung among a trellis, arch, or gazebo, they create instant mood lighting.
6. A Cocktail Bar Is a Must for Any Outdoor Lounge
No matter what your decor style is, you can hardly consider your outdoor space a lounge without including a place for your guests to get a libation.
Per our earlier point, a bar serves as a great focal point for your space. Particularly for Saturday night cocktail parties or Sunday morning mimosas.
You have plenty of options for how you do this. Weekend mixologists may opt for a large, fully-stocked bar. Or you may opt for a mini-fridge and a couple of carafes for serving pre-mixed batches of drinks. It comes down to how elaborate you’d like to get.
Turn Any Outdoor Area Into a Paradise
You don’t need huge tracts of land to turn your yard into a plush outdoor lounge. All you need is a clear game plan, a little effort, and the right furnishings.
Before you take your first steps, a great way to start brainstorming is to do a little window shopping. To get some ideas on how to add personality to your outdoor space, check out these unique garden and home furnishings.