For Your (Outdoor) Entertainment
Nothing says summer like outdoor movie nights. For the most complete drive-in movie experience in your own backyard, set up an outdoor entertainment system like this one, equipped with an HD projector, electric-powered flat screen, speakers, and more. And you don't need to be a film aficionado to appreciate this system: play some music to set the mood, or hook up a Wii or PS4 for a more interactive experience. Available on Amazon; $1,699.
Related: Weekend Projects - 5 Easy Ways to Build an Outdoor Movie Screen
Know and Grow What You Eat
For the green thumbs out there, foodscaping finds the middle ground between farming and landscaping. Growing edible plants gained popularity after the economic downturn of 2008. And why not? Most herbs, fruits, and vegetables are attractive and low-maintenance—and think of all the money you'll save on tea, seasonings, and picnic snacks!
Related: Growing Up: 10 Inventive DIY Vertical Gardens
What a Wash
After working hard or laying out in the sun, it's best to hit the shower—the outdoor shower, that is! Outdoor showers have been around for years, but this year they're back in the spotlight for their sheer convenience and accessible luxury. Less maintenance than a pool and more versatile to boot, the outdoor shower lets you cool down while enjoying the summer sun.
Related: Beat the Heat - 16 DIY Outdoor Showers to Cool You Down
Design: Crisp Architects; Photo: Rob Karosis
Pass on Grass
A lush lawn looks great but requires tons of maintenance. That's why it makes sense to trade in for a low-maintenance ground cover, like this red creeping thyme. Not only do ground covers require less water and little to no maintenance, but they can thrive in poor soil and keep out unwanted weeds. As an added bonus, when you walk across aromatic thyme, the ground cover releases a pleasant scent into the air.
Related: No More Mowing - 10 Grass-Free Alternatives to a Traditional Lawn
The Indoors, Out
Homeowners have always sought to live in harmony with nature. But whereas the trend used to be toward bringing the outdoors in, many today are doing the opposite—situating traditionally "indoor" comforts onto the deck, porch, or patio. Thanks to advances in all-weather materials, furniture and accessories are now available in so many shapes, sizes, and styles, you can decorate outdoor living spaces in much the same way that you would any room in the home.
Related: 5 Ways to Create the Perfect Outdoor Room
To officially kick off outdoor entertaining season, update your outdoor space with a fire pit. The right fire pit can serve not only as a potential focal point for your outdoor space, but it also creates a warm, cozy ambiance, adds lighting, and provides an adequate cooking source.
Related: 13 Fire Pits We Love
Zillow Digs home in Atherton, CA
Pantone's color of the year Marsala pairs beautifully with other earthy colors like corals, greens, and muted grays, making it a suitable color for the outdoors. Try out the trendy red in your existing outdoor color scheme by switching out something as simple (and small) as your chair cushions. Even with only a slight update, the rich red-brown color will add a great warmth to your space.
Related: Perfectly Suited - 9 Top-Rated Color Combinations for Your Home Exterior
Zillow Digs home in Redondo Beach, CA
For more on outdoor living, consider:
12 Ways to Wake Up Your Tired Outdoor Furniture
Picture-Perfect Patios: 10 Outdoor Spaces to Love
Top 10 Classic DIY Projects for the Outdoors
If you have the money to hire a handyman for every household woe, go ahead. But if you want to hang on to your cash and exercise some self-sufficiency, check out these clever products that solve a million and one little problems around the house. Go now!