Create an Outdoor Living Space on a Budget


As the summer months approach, more and more of us will be spending time outdoors. The warmer temperatures and extra daylight are the ideal time to extend your home’s living space and enjoy your outdoor areas. Whatever the size of your yard, patio, or deck there are simple ways to make it as appealing and as livable as the inside of your home. Here are some ideas to get your outdoor space ready for relaxed summer living – without emptying your wallet!

Define Spaces

Think about different types of seating to accommodate different activities and create a cozy sense of separation and privacy for each. Use fences, planter boxes, pergolas and landscaping to help define outdoor spaces and select furniture based on the intended use of the space. A table and chairs designates a spot for dining alfresco, loungers will invite time spent relaxing around the pool, and a strategically placed couch and chairs can create a more secluded conversational space. Choose furnishings that are durable enough to be left outside but also comfortable. Classic options include wrought iron, aluminum, and traditional wood. When space is limited, throw pillows can be a versatile, cost effective option for comfortable seating that also adds a pop of color and style. Pillows sized 22 to 26 inches are ideal for this purpose. Look for weatherproof fabrics designed specifically for outdoor use to add color and style.

Create a Focal Point

Add an interesting feature that enhances the appeal of a space and gives visitors a reason to linger. A fire pit or fireplace can be an enchanting focal point and the heat will help extend the outdoor living season. A beautiful view, a water feature, art, creative landscape and an outdoor kitchen can also serve as central features around which to build cozy, inviting space.


Bring some of the style from the inside – out. Accessorize with colorful vases, pillows, candles, lanterns, planters, outdoor rugs and container gardens. Refresh umbrellas to add color and provide shade. If you plan to do some entertaining, look for tabletop accessories like napkins, placemats, and durable pitchers and cups to brighten table surfaces. To make small spaces feel more open, add elements that draw the eye up such as tall plants, a vertical garden or other vertical pieces.


Sometimes the most enjoyable outdoor time is spent after the sun sets. At the very least you’ll want to illuminate access to and from the house. Solar-powered accent lights can add drama and interest to the landscape, as well as light steps and pathways for safety. Weatherproof table lamps or strings of outdoor lights can add pleasant ambient lighting. Battery operated LED lights strung under an umbrella or placed in lanterns can add festive sparkle to nighttime entertaining. For outdoor kitchens, good task lighting over the work areas is helpful. Remember to select lighting rated for wet or damp locations if you plan to install it and leave it outside. Even under the cover of a slotted arbor or a solid roof, fixtures are likely to be exposed to the elements.

Did we miss anything? What are your favorite ways to define, accessorize and enjoy your outdoor living spaces?

By Amy Malloy