Outdoor living spaces add possibilities and enjoyment to your dream home. If you didn’t get the ideal outdoor space when you bought your dream home, it can be easy to let the cost of creating that out of doors dream get a little out of hand. Here are tips for making your outside living space as inviting as your living room, without taking out a loan. (Of course, if you’re ready for BIG projects, using the equity in your house to take it on is often a smart move, but that’s a different conversation.)
Focus on the Front Door
We know that the best investment you can make in the value of your home (surprisingly) is replacing the front door. But to give your home a brighter, and well, homier, feel set aside a little bit of your budget for the space people experience when they first approach your home. A coat of paint in a signature color, an urn or pedestal pot with a selection of flowering plants and drapey ferns, or even a rocker or bench with a cushion in outdoor friendly fabric, will go a long ways toward creating a smile-inducing approach to your indoors.
Landscaping with shrubs and perennials can get pricey. But bright, cheerful annuals will lift your spirits for a lot less. Use metallic finish spray paint to make cheap, plastic pots look more luxurious (with the added benefit that you won’t have to empty them to keep them from cracking in the winter like you would with terra cotta or ceramic.) Fill them with petunias or vinca, sweet potato vine or asparagus fern, or go for bold with cockscomb and marigold mixes. Zinnias and cosmos will nod happily in a sunny spot, and if you love the romance, fragrance, and practicality of herbs, you can fill your pots and side beds with everything from basil and rosemary to lemon verbena and bright red bee balm.
Light up the Night
Solar powered options abound if you want to add some night time romance or drama to your outdoor spaces. From fairy lights to path illumination, you won’t need an outlet or a lot of money to turn on the light.
Turn up the Heat
Whether your evenings are still a little crisp or you want to roast hot dogs and marshmallows without building a bonfire, a fire-pit adds ambiance and practicality. You can purchase a small one for very little money, or you can build your own custom firepit, for about the same investment and more ingenuity and elbow grease.
Made in the Shade
Sunny spots are great, but too much sun will drive you indoors. To enjoy your outdoor spaces even more, and add interest and color to the decor as well, think about bright umbrellas or a pergola covered in vines. Either will give you a refuge from the sun and a focal point to arrange your space around.
The sound of moving water and the glimmer of light as it is reflected from a pool, stream, or fountain adds a soothing, seductive element to your space. Tranquility fountains can be small and free-standing, placed in a pot surrounded by plants or on a table top. If your space lends itself to a larger, in-ground fountain, there are projects that stay within a frugal budget or you can keep an eye on second-hand stores and buying sites.
Colorful and Cushy
No matter what seating you’re already using for your outdoor living space (and there are inexpensive options there too) adding colorful pillows not only makes it more attractive, it also makes it more comfortable. If you’re handy with a sewing machine, you can get pillow forms and choose your own fabric at an outlet, like fabric.com, but if you aren’t watching for sales, pick up a few here and a few there. The nice thing is that mix and match don’t have to match perfectly, so you can spread your budget out on this one.
Take a Look Underfoot
While rugs are certainly a wonderful way to add texture and definition to outdoor spaces, they aren’t the only way. Consider using stained concrete stepping stones (make a fun project of finding molds around the house) or undertake a project like painting existing concrete of your patio.
The best part is you can make a wish list and cross it off a little at a time all spring and summer long, making your space more comfortable and inviting with every little thing you do.
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We’re here if you need to close on your dream home fast (we are, after all, the “home of the 8 Day Close”) and we can help you get the right mortgage for you even when your credit isn’t great. Call your local office, or fill out our easy on-line form, to get one of our licensed loan officers working on the right financing to get you into the home of your dreams!