With the sun shining and the temps soaring, it’s safe to say you’ll be moving your meals outdoors. Where to begin?
Choose a patio set that suits your space and offers enough seating for the kind of entertaining you do. Plan for shelter from the rain and shade from the harsh sun by opting for a large umbrella or gazebo.
As for location, keep your eating area close to indoor access to ease carting supplies back and forth. And since you don’t want your guests sipping cocktails in the scorching late-day heat (or in a wind tunnel), consider how the elements impact your space.
Station your cooking area in close proximity to both your dining space and indoor access, and near a light source.
What kind of food will you be cooking and how often? Gas grills are easy to fire up and great for serving a crowd. While charcoal grills take longer to heat up, they add that extra, ever-so-tasty charred flavour. Be sure to place your charcoal grill further away from the house so the smoke doesn’t make its way indoors.
Bright idea: Set up an umbrella or BBQ shelter to protect you (and your food) from the rain.
To create an outdoor living room, like a lounge area around a firepit where guests can gather, find a space that’s separate from your dining area.
Look beyond simple chairs to cozy furniture like daybeds, love seats and rockers. Remember to add side tables or a coffee table for setting down drinks, snacks and magazines.
Tight budget? Just as you would for your interior décor, invest in classic pieces that’ll stand the test of time, and accessorize with affordable trendy items that you can easily update next season.
Bright idea: fashion an outdoor colour scheme by matching your décor with your garden.
Create a space your kids can call their own and contain their activities to a specific zone (read: away from your flower beds).
Kids need a fair amount of room, whether to splash around in a kiddie wading pool, play king of the castle in a playhouse, bounce on trampolines or make mud pies in a sandbox, so try to carve out a sizeable corner of your yard for them to get the most out of their space.
Bright idea: Keep the play area away from safety hazards like BBQs, pools and sheds.
Organizing and storage
Keep your backyard organized and safe by assigning an area for storage, like a shed. Perfect for storing outdoor furniture, chair cushions, pool toys and winter tires, sheds can also house your garden supplies.
Place your shed at the far end of the yard, not too far from your garden. Got kids? Be sure to keep it safely locked.
If you don’t have room in your backyard for a large storage shed, all-weather storage boxes are a great alternative that you can keep in a corner of your patio.
Time for some “me” time? Create your own personal outdoor oasis where you can relax, read or take a nap. A key ingredient here is shade.
Look for a spot near the garden and/or any water fixture, like a fountain or pool. Bonus points for a secret hiding place sheltered by trees or shrubs for maximum privacy (and maximum quiet).
Outfit a daybed with luscious pillows and a throw blanket or hang a standalone hammock, which you can move as you see fit. Another great option is a swing couch, perfect for taking in the day with an icy-cold lemonade.
If you have the luxury of choosing where to plant your veggie garden, consider creating a raised vegetable garden at one end of your yard, near your shed and garden supplies for convenience. Be sure to keep your rain barrel and compost bin at close range as well.
Above all, make sure there is plenty of sun and easy access to a water source. If frequent watering poses a challenge, install a soaker hose or drip system.
For more tips on how to get the most out of your veggie garden, check out our planting and harvesting calendar.
Creating the ideal outdoor space can be daunting, especially when faced with an extra big—or extra small—backyard. Not sure where to start? Consider these key activity zones when dividing your space to bring your indoor living outdoors.