‘Tis the season for people to spend more time outdoors, chilling in the backyard, on the porch or on your deck. And while sometimes you’re ready to lie down in the grass in the park or an outdoor concert, with a little bit of design panache and these creative tips, you can turn your outdoor space into an oasis of your own.

1. Anchor Your Space

Use indoor/outdoor rugs to define and anchor your space. You can also use pavers or even gravel, if it fits the design of the area.

Outdoor Rug

2. Beat the Heat

Get out of the indoor heat and create an outdoor kitchen. Options abound beyond just throwing some burgers on the grill. Some like to customize their outdoor kitchen complete with a roll down gate to protect the appliances from the elements, or install a covered grill, with a bar-sized fridge to keep drinks cold and a counter or cabinetry for storage and serving.

Outdoor Kitchen

3. Gather ‘Round the Fire

An outdoor fireplace or fire pit extends the use of your outdoor space, warming up a chilly evening, adding a more sophisticated take to a summer night – and not having to go camping to enjoy an open fire. Tip: Use leftover bricks from your renovation to build the fireplace.

Outdoor Fire Pit

4. Raise the Roof

Use a series of arching trellises above the dining table. Hang chandeliers from them for soft lighting. Shade trees planted strategically will grow to create a canopy over your outdoor room with dappled sunlight peeking through. A pergola can help give an area of your yard some structure and define the space, but can also provide some privacy if neighbors are near.

Outdoor Chandelier

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5. Drape It

Outfit a porch with drapes to let the sunlight shine through while blocking strong rays. Install drapes around a simple frame for a cabana-style anywhere. Choose lightweight fabrics to enhance the summer’s breeze, or go for a more dramatic mood.

Outdoor Curtain

6. Decorate

Use weatherproof furniture and cushions to create a comfortable seating area, just like your living room or family room. On a porch, you can install a ceiling fan and even a heater to stretch its usage beyond the two or three month span of warmest months of the year.

Outdoor Furniture

7. Slide It

Sliding panels can divide up a space to delineate different uses for different spaces in your yard or rooftop deck. In addition, it creates privacy.

Backyard Cabana

8. Grow It

Use plants to create privacy with a living wall, or to hide a wall or fence (yours or the neighbors). Container plantings can be arranged on a ledge or low wall, especially if you’re using plants like bamboo. Or choose a thick, sturdy shrub like boxwood to create a tall hedge.

Container Plant Wall

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9. Make It Yours

Create a reading nook in a corner of the garden with a built in bench, chaise lounges, beanbags, or poufs and cushions. Rock it out with a pair of rocking chairs, or create a “treeless treehouse” that doesn’t have to be just for kids.

Garden Bench

10. Just Add Water

You may not want or have room for a pool, but a small water feature, like a small pond in an area that’s got poor drainage, can solve a problem by working the terrain you’ve got. Another idea is to make a fountain out of a container like a large urn. You can move it where you want in your yard or garden, and adds the serenity of running water to your backyard haven.

Backyard Pond

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