07/25/2013 11:21 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Transform Your Outdoor Space

Summer is all about getting outdoors. Whether it is lounging around reading a good book, being active, or grilling, your outdoor space can be the perfect place to relax, have fun or entertain. With a little imagination, a touch of creativity, and some muscle an ordinary backyard space can be transformed into a magical oasis.

Any volume of space can undergo a transformation. Take a look at this backyard's
'before and after.' The space looked small, crowded and overgrown.

Landscape design by Mark Hartley Landscape Architects & home by Studio Pyramid

Whether you have a big budget or a small budget, follow these simple tips to enhance your outdoor space.

• Think about your space as a series of different rooms. Dedicate places to cook, play, lounge and entertain.

• Think outside the box. Not everything has to be used for its intended purpose. Why not transform a garage into a pool cabana and a driveway into a dining room?

• During the day the sunlight is all you need, but be sure you have spaces for shade and sun.

• Summer nights, the sun sets late, and then the moon and stars enhance your lighting scheme. Add to the drama by using candles, candelabras or chandeliers.

• Some lighting serves a dual purpose as a fan to cool you down and to keep the bugs at bay.

• Mother nature has taken care of most of decorating but your possibilities are limitless.

• Flowers and plants serve as the perfect backdrop. Layer in art, fabrics and even outdoor rugs, pillows, throws; anything you use indoors you can use outdoors with water resistant fabric such as Sunbrella. Use slip covers or leather for easy cleaning.

• Simple water resistant pillows on the ground can serve as additional seating.

• Potted green plants can be moved indoors in the winter so no seasonal planting is needed. Choose plants that stay green year round such as yews and boxwood.

• Cover walls and fences with vines which look beautiful and make the fence disappear - climbing hydrangeas are great as they have a very large wingspan.


• To maximize the enjoyment of your outdoor space, stock up on all the outdoor essentials for relaxing, entertaining and playing.

• For spur of moment casual dinners, be prepared by stocking outdoor cabinets with everything you need; you'll be much more likely to pull off great event.

• Turn a garage into a full service cabana with everything in one place, from sunscreens, sports equipment, towels and first aid kits.

• A small refrigerator holds indispensable luxuries without all the extra wet footsteps in the house.