There’s no time like summertime. From longer days to warmer temperatures, to spending more time outside, there are plenty of reasons to look forward to the summer months. It’s also a season synonymous with vacation and relaxation. In fact, according to a recent survey, nearly 81% of Americans are expected to travel this summer alone, with 42% reporting they plan to travel more than they did last summer1.
If you’re part of this demographic planning to hit the road or friendly skies this summer, you’re in great company. And even if you don’t have travel plans this summer, you can still take in many of the benefits of the summer season – right from the comfort of your own home.
From summer barbecues and al fresco dining to outdoor activities and social gatherings, summer is a perfect time to take in the fresh air and make the most of your yard space. Consider these budget-friendly tips to transform your outdoor space into your very own summer oasis.
Start with Your Outdoor Seating Area
Just like inside your home, an entertaining space begins with a pretty place to gather – and plenty of seating for conversations with friends, family, and loved ones. As the weather turns for the better, break out your outdoor furniture and arrange a gathering area for you and your guests. Cozy up hard furniture with pillows, cushions, and even throws to bring the indoor feeling outside. And if your space includes a deck or patio, consider adding an outdoor rug for an added layer of coziness – and a pop of color!
When it comes to outdoor furniture, its no secret that these pieces will be exposed to the elements over time. To make the most of your investment, opt for items made with weather-proof materials, specifically made for the outdoors. This will allow you to kick back and relax for years to come.
Create a Dining Space
Perhaps one of the best perks of warmer weather is being able to fire up the grill and enjoy all the flavors of summer barbecuing. But it doesn’t have to stop there. In addition to cooking outside, you can also enjoy your meal from the comfort of your outdoor space. With sunshine and comfortable temperatures, you may find yourself wanting to picnic as much as possible. And all it takes is a weatherproof dining table and some comfortable chairs.
For smaller spaces, an outdoor bistro set could provide a dining nook full of character. And for larger spaces or outdoor patios, an outdoor table with an extendable leaf could provide ample seating for yourself – as well as your guests!
Lean into Leisure
While outdoor dining and entertainment spaces are key to a vibrant yard, a summer oasis also calls for a place to relax. In assessing your outdoor space, be sure to add at least one comfortable, lounge-worthy piece of furniture. Whether it be a hammock in a shady spot to curl up with a book, or a chaise lounge for sunbathing or an afternoon nap, these relaxing spaces will transform your yard space into your very own piece of paradise. And the possibilities are endless. If you have a sturdy beam on your porch or pergola, consider installing an outdoor swing. Regardless of your lounge-space, be sure to add plenty of outdoor pillows and cushions for maximum comfort. Ready, set, relax…
Brighten Your Space with Lighting
As long summer days turn into dusk, you’ll want to make sure your backyard oasis is well lit once the sun sets. After all, some of the best summer memories are evenings out by the firepit or relaxing on the porch or deck. To maximize time spent outside, assess your lighting needs. When it comes to illuminating your outdoor oasis, the possibilities are truly endless. From string lights along fences or a covered patio, to candles on tables, outdoor sconces attached to the exterior of your home, up-lighting fixtures under trees, and even solar-powered lighting around your garden, you can combine a mix of lighting sources to make your backyard getaway truly magical after dark.
In deciding on light sources, be sure to account for steps and walkways. These should be well-illuminated to provide safe pathways in frequently trekked areas as well as to-and-from the house.
Personalize with Plants and Flowers
What better way to bring the bright colors of summer into your outdoor oasis than with colorful, cheery plants and flowers? Whether you opt for a few potted plants sporadically placed throughout your yard or several garden beds or planters, adding plants, herbs, and flowers to your yard is one of the easiest and best ways to add a personal touch to your space. Surrounding your space with greenery can also add a decorative, aesthetically pleasing touch to a patio or deck.
Whatever plants you opt for, be sure that they are climate-appropriate for your home. For example, if you live in an area that stays relatively warm and sunny all year, Marigolds or wildflowers can add a whimsical touch to your yard. Better yet, they’re not as high-maintenance as other plants. On the other hand, if you live in a climate with cold, harsh winters, you may instead opt for perennial plants that regrow every spring when the weather begins to warm.
Keep Bugs at Bay
Nothing can damper a relaxing evening outside quite like flying insects or creepy crawlers. And while eliminating bugs from a backyard entirely may be impossible, there are ways to control them and keep them at bay. For example, adding citronella candles throughout your space, especially any seating areas, will help ward off any unwelcome pests. You can also eliminate sources of standing water, which is known to attract mosquitoes. If your yard is spacious or especially “buggy,” you may consider hiring a professional pest control company to spray your space for any ticks, mosquitoes, or other bugs.
There’s no place like home. And by implementing just a few of these tips, you’ll seamlessly turn your home of many years into a relaxing summer oasis. But be warned – a yard this great means that friends and family will come knocking. Whether or not you let them in is your decision.
If you could use another source of cash to fund your backyard transformation, tapping into your home equity with a reverse mortgage could be a powerful option. Available to homeowners ages 62 and older, a reverse mortgage allows you to convert a portion of your home’s equity into cash to use however you wish2. And with senior homeowners now accounting for over $10.6 trillion in home equity3, you may be surprised to see just how much equity is in your home.