Get ready to spend more time outside!
Come summer, you want to be outside as much as possible—gardening, grilling, tinkering, and just taking it easy. But even the most inviting backyard can use a little boost and a few upgrades to make the great outdoors even greater for you and your family. If you yearn to turn a so-so backyard into your own personal paradise, check out these outside-the-home improvements you can tailor to your passions and favorite pastimes. Once you've made the most of your little piece of heaven on earth, you’ll be loving outdoor living like never before!
1. Start with a shed.
The key to creating an outdoor space that you'll want to use all the time—by day and night, in all kinds of weather—is a sturdy, attractive little structure to serve as your home-close-to-home. At its most basic, a shed provides shelter, storage, work surfaces, and seating; beyond that, you can customize it to suit your interests.
Whether you decide to create a chic, comfy “she shed,” an awesome adjunct to your grill, a well-equipped workshop, or a playhouse for the kids, it's important to start with a shed that's soundly built of top-quality materials and sits on a solid foundation. Look to LP® Outdoor Building Solutions® for the goods—from LP ProStruct® Flooring with SmartFinish®, the only flooring product specifically warranted for shed use, to reflective LP ProStruct® Roof Sheathing with SilverTech® that brightens the shed’s interior while keeping it comfortable. And, thanks to the company's innovative SmartGuard® treatment process, you can count on its siding and flooring to boast extra strength, durability, and resistance to fungal decay and termites.
2. Deck it out.
Decks are among the most popular outdoor additions homeowners make these days, according to a recent survey conducted by the architecture and design website Houzz. Whether outside a house or a shed, a deck abutting either increases functional space, enhances the look of the structure, and helps integrate it with the rest of the yard. Putting in a deck is the perfect weekend project for a DIYer with good carpentry skills. Size it appropriately for its intended uses, frame it out with 2x6's, and build it from pressure-treated lumber.
3. Do it up right.
Furniture and other decor let you turn your patio and shed into highly personal spaces where you can feel relaxed and at ease. Consider how you'll be using the space before you plan the furnishings. For instance, if you'll be hosting book club meetings, plan on plenty of comfy seating around a coffee table. If you'll be using the shed as an office, focus on a desk and good lighting. A shed constructed of rugged, weather-resistant materials will keep furnishings safe, but be reasonable—don't fill your shed with family heirlooms and overstuffed furniture. Instead, opt for easy-care canvas, wicker, plastic, metal, jute, and similar materials that will fare best if you ever need the extra seating for a bonfire or outdoor barbecue.
4. Put in pavers.
Create a pathway from the backdoor of your house to your shed with versatile pavers. You can even use them to make a small patio. They’re economical, attractive, and strong, able to handle heavy traffic with minimal maintenance. If you want to take this on as a DIY project, you’ll need to mark the perimeter, remove grass and soil, and add paving base and sand before laying the stones, cutting them as necessary with a masonry saw.
5. Plant a container garden.
Colorful blooms around your outdoor structure will bring a smile to your face, help your shed blend in with your landscaping, and make you more inclined to spend time out there. Container gardens are a simple way to spread color near your shed, and while store-bought pots and planter boxes work well, offbeat containers like washtubs, crates, buckets, and even old sinks add whimsical flair and are easy to come by. The possibilities are as limitless as your imagination!
6. Add an awning.
An old-fashioned awning gives an outdoor structure a quaint appearance and provides welcome respite from the summer sun. The shade it provides makes it more comfortable and convenient to move things in and out of your shed in warm weather. Also, together with insulating materials like the LP ProStruct® Roof with SilverTech®, an awning can help keep the shed interior cooler. When planning a new shed, ask your builder to include awnings over the door and windows (particularly the west-facing ones) to reduce solar gain.
7. Beautify with an arbor.
An arbor is a lovely way to lend color, fragrance, and texture to your yard. This tall, arched structure typically has two sides and a roof that provide support for vines and other climbing plants. Once it’s covered with flowers and foliage, an arbor also creates a level of privacy. Consider placing an arbor wherever you want a green screen between your yard and your neighbor's. Though arbors are usually constructed of wood, you can find some constructed from other materials, including stone, vinyl, or metal, that will suit any style.
8. Brighten the night.
An outdoor fireplace can stretch backyard living into nighttime hours and chillier weather. There are ample options: a traditional arched-box fireplace faced with stone or brick, a generous round stone fire pit for larger social gatherings, and even small, portable models. Before you get your heart set on an outdoor fire feature, research local building codes, and as you plan, keep the size of your yard and the prevailing wind direction in mind.
9. Make a statement.
While sheds are the most versatile and practical of outdoor living additions, other types of structures can lend grace and glamour to your space. For instance, pergolas and gazebos are fanciful yet not impractical because they provide shade and privacy. Both are popular garden structures, but they have crucial differences. Pergolas are square or rectangle, with open crossbeams above, while gazebos are rounded or octagonal, with a closed roof. Both offer charm aplenty!
Start building sooner rather than later.
If these great ideas for the great outdoors have inspired you to upgrade your landscape in exciting new ways, you're probably eager to get started. The best place to begin? Go to LPShed.com to contact a local shed dealer who can help you set up the ultimate custom-tailored outdoor living environment for your family.
Whether you're a lawn care novice or a master gardener, everyone can use a little help around the yard. Subscribe to The Dirt newsletter for tips, recommendations, and problem-solving tools that can help you tame your great outdoors.