Looking to upgrade your neglected backyard? We have some great ideas for patios, decks, gardens, outdoor kitchens, and more! Transforming your outdoor space is worthwhile, no matter how much space you have, or what your budget is. You should be able to relax, cook, and entertain in your outdoor space as well as you would in your house. Comfort, functionality, and aesthetics are all essential for transforming your outdoor space into an oasis.
There are a few basic elements to consider in your backyard design. These are just a few bright ideas to make sure your upgrade plan is well-rounded, with cutting edge design features that will have your neighbours green with envy.
A Great Lighting Plan
Endless summer nights require the right lighting plan. You don’t want any glaring lights hovering over you at night; ambiance is key. The right ambiance can be achieved by adding soft string lights over a patio or deck, rope lighting to line pathways, and garden lights gently accenting your plants and flowers.
You also need to make sure you’re using the right type of lights in your plan. Solar-powered lights save on energy and can be easily moved, but for permanent fixtures over and around seating and cooking areas, you’ll want to invest in some great LED bulbs. Skip the CFLs; most of them don’t perform well outside, particularly in colder climates where freezing occurs in the winter.
An Outdoor Kitchen
Entertaining outdoors is far more enjoyable when you aren’t running in and out of the house for supplies and appliances. An outdoor kitchen allows you to stay right where the action is, and grill those mouthwatering steaks to perfection without leaving your deck.
Of course, the BBQ should be the centre of the outdoor kitchen, but you can also set yourself up with a few outdoor cabinets and drawers to store utensils and cookware (again, no running inside for anything!). A mini fridge will keep your kabobs and beers cold, and a small amount of counter space is enough for some light chopping and prep work. If you have a little extra tucked into your upgrade budget, and outdoor sink means your kitchen is virtually self-contained.
Another small but important recommendation is a BBQ light, so you can keep cooking well past sundown without accidentally burning your midnight snacks! For a budget-friendly version, you can pick up a simple clip on light from your local hardware store.
A Hot Tub Oasis
If you’re going to invest in a hot tub, make it a focal point for your backyard fun. A bar along the side means you won’t have to get out to fill up beverages. A simple outdoor shower is perfect for rinsing off before and after. And who hasn’t gone out for a hot tub session and forgotten their towel? A simple cabinet keeps your towels on hand, or you can opt for a heated towel cabinet for extra comfort.
Privacy screens are another must for enjoying your hot tub, particularly if your neighbours are a little close for comfort or have a raised deck. An affordable DIY version uses posts with light, gauzy fabric that can be pulled around like curtains. For higher budgets and to get double the usage, a gazebo-style enclosure with the option for a roof will shelter you completely from snow and rain, as well as nosy neighbours.
If you’re rebuilding a deck, but don’t have a hot tub yet, make sure to plan a space for one in case you decide to purchase down the road.
A Relaxing Lounge Space
You want to make the most of your outdoor relaxation with somewhere to sit back with a great book, or gather with friends and family. Of course, a great set of patio furniture does most of the work for you, but don’t forget to have space for snacks and drinks. If your patio furniture doesn’t have built in cup holders, invest in some sturdy, but easily moved side tables.
Shade is also important to consider for your lounge space. If you don’t have any built-in shade or tall trees, set up an adjustable umbrella you can easily pop up over the space during sunny or rainy periods. Larger budgets could include a small screened-in patio, which provides shade, protection from bugs, and an area where you can sit outside even when the clouds threaten.
Finally, don’t forget your entertainment! Outdoor speakers mean you can listen to your tunes while you garden, entertain, or relax. Another amazing idea for budding families is a TV or projector so you can host your family movie nights outdoors.
We want to help you transform your backyard into an oasis, no matter your budget! Blue Collar can provide:
BBQ hookups (and other outdoor kitchen hookups)
Hot tub hookups
Entertainment and speaker system installation
A range of other outdoor electrical needs
If you’ve already transformed your backyard, we’d love to see your design ideas. Please share them on our Facebook page!
By Danielle Mohr: Fine Point Writing & Editing (finepointwriting.ca)