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House & Home

Create the perfect outdoor escape in your backyard

Posted May 7

Outdoor entertaining

— If there’s anything better than heating up the grill and chilling drinks with friends on a summer evening, it’s decorating the space in which it all takes place. As with all things summer, refreshing your outdoor space calls for a simple, relaxed approach. Here are a few ideas for making a quick splash.

Sometimes, less is more

As fun as it is to design for new things, subtraction is often where the real opportunity is hiding. Make a tired space feel new again by donating, repurposing or storing items that simply don’t serve a purpose or add anything visually.

Rethinking arrangements

There’s more to design than placing chairs around a table or fire pit.

Striking the right balance takes some intentionality and thought. Incorporating strong elements of symmetry and repetition can do as much toward establishing a relaxing, inviting tone as an eclectic playlist or perfectly plated appetizers.

Identifying the focal point is a key early step. Often in backyard settings, it’s a permanent feature, such as a particular view, landscape design or fire pit. When this isn’t an option, or if the area serves a specific purpose such as dining, furniture can be used to create the same conversational effect.

Color and pattern

Most permanent fixtures and large outdoor furniture pieces trend traditional.

Adding flourishes with vibrant contrasting seat cushions and boldly patterned throw pillows is a quick way to express personality.

To customize your space, check out the Improvements line of outdoor furniture cushions and pillows, which offers an array of lively styles, patterns and color combinations. Their step-by-step outdoor cushion measuring guide makes finding the right-sized cushion easy, and quick and simple video instructions take the guesswork out of the process, ensuring the proper fit. For more information, visit improvementscatalog.com.

Lighten up

One of the easiest ways to dramatically enhance an outdoor setting is often overlooked -- lighting. Good lighting boosts safety and security. After all, summer is the season for tripping over pavers in the dark. And a thoughtful approach can be transformative -- from illuminating paths through the backyard to setting a relaxing tone for a patio. Many solutions, such as higher-voltage lighting systems, call for a contractor’s expertise. Even some lower-voltage systems will require some additional equipment for proper energy control.

To keep it simple, solar is the way to go. Just make sure the photovoltaic cell is positioned to collect maximum sunlight during the day so it’s ready to shine through the night. For example, the new Provence solar post and path lights from Improvements are a good way to accent landscaping while keeping pathways safe.

Ultimately, there is no one-size-fits-all template for the perfect backyard summer sanctuary. With a creative mindset and a clear vision, you can transform your backyard into a unique space.

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