How to Transform Your Outdoor Space for Entertaining

Image Source: Unsplash

Make the most of the great outdoors and turn your outdoor space into a retreat. Create the ultimate space for relaxing, entertaining and occupying the kids with these great ideas.

Make a fire pit

What’s not to love about roasting marshmallows by the fire? Enjoy this ultimate family-bonding activity by spending nights by the fire. You’ll be able to enjoy the fire and keep warm – even during the wintertime.

Spruce up your space with a fire pit centrepiece. Buy one ready-made or make your own in a few hours with pavers and concrete. Build a bench around the fire pit piled with cushions for that campfire feel or surround the fire with outdoor deck chairs.

Create a play area

Keep the kids entertained for hours on end with a dedicated play area. A swing set, slide and trampoline are popular ideas to turn your garden into a kid’s paradise. On the creative side, you could set up an outdoor crafts area. Or bring the beach to you in Summer by creating a sandpit alongside a kids paddle pool. Continue the beach feel with a hammock strung between two palm trees.

Plant a vegetable garden

Growing your own edible garden is incredibly rewarding. It’s also a great hobby for the kids and a great way to teach them about sustainability.

Rhubarb, rosemary and tomatoes are amongst the easiest plants to grow. They are great options to start with if you’re not already a gardening guru.

Consider a net to keep the birds from eating your hard-earned produce.

Image Source: Unsplash

Install a pool or a spa pool

Take the plunge and add a swimming pool to your house. Not only will it add value to your home, but the number of summer memories will be priceless.

If space is a problem or you’d prefer a place to relax, consider a spa pool. This is a cheaper option compared to the pool, and you could use it year-round, even when it’s sub-zero outside.

Provide comfortable seating

Create a comfortable outdoor area you actually want to spend time in. There are endless options for comfortable seating, including sofas, loungers and dining sets.

If you love to entertain but are pushed for space, consider a colourful set of stacking chairs. This lets you add a pop of colour to your backyard but still have the freedom to store them away easily when needed.

Set up an outdoor kitchen

The outdoor kitchen is an up-and-coming trend perfect for entertainers and socialites.

Clear a patio area for a BBQ and ample bench space for preparation. Set up an outdoor fridge for a mini-bar and even consider a wood-fired pizza oven. Don’t miss out on enjoying the outdoors when you’re cooking. Instead, be in the centre of the action in your outdoor kitchen.

Image Source: Pxhere

 Fix large doors

Great indoor-outdoor flow is a must-have for many homeowners. Treat your garden area as an extension of your living area.

The easiest way to create this indoor-outdoor flow is through large doors. Choose from the many options including folding, bi-folding, French, retractable and sliding doors. To completely open up your home to the great outdoors, consider fitting sliding doors on two perpendicular walls.

Put up outdoor lighting

String lights will transform your outdoor space into an enchanted garden. Drive out the darkness with this elegant touch. Hang them near your outdoor dining area for late-night dinner parties or near your lounging area where you can curl up with a blanket and a good book.

Refreshing and updating your outdoor space can be tailored to suit all budgets. It can be as simple and effortless as adding string lights to the patio area or as extravagant as building a poolside slice of paradise. It’s up to you to choose what works best for your home.

Author bio:

Alex Cordier is a freelance writer from Auckland, New Zealand. When she’s not busy writing articles for various blogs, you can find her traveling or reading on the beach. To learn more about her, visit her personal blog.

Getting Real: What’s The Deal With “Curb Appeal”?

Once you get your house hunt on, you’ll undoubtedly start hearing lots of terms getting thrown around. From “pre-approval” to “closing costs”, it can be tough to suss out exactly what all of these things mean, especially if it’s your first time looking for a home.

This time, we’re tackling “curb appeal.” Everyone kinda gets it, but really, uh…what is it? No matter if you’re just starting out or have been on the market for a bit, sometimes a little clarity can go a long way.

What is curb appeal, exactly?

Simply put, it’s a first impression.

Like it or not, the way that a home looks from the street can have a huge impact on our overall opinion of it. Similarly to how you would put your best foot forward on a first date or job interview, homeowners–especially those in the market for a buyer–often put extra effort into making their home’s exterior look good.

In real estate terms, curb appeal can be anything that adds either functional or aesthetic value to a home’s exterior. As the buyer, you’ll want to factor these types of details into your home search. As you look at listings, make sure to keep an eye out for elements of curb appeal and to make a note of how they sway your opinion on the home.

That being said, it’s important to keep a balanced perspective. Sometimes curb appeal is not indicative of what a home will look like once you head inside, so it should never be used as your single determining factor for whether or not it’s worth taking a look at a home.

Key factors to look for

Now that you know what curb appeal is, it’s time to get a little deeper into the different elements that go into creating a home that is aesthetically pleasing from the outside.

Typically, these items can be divided into a couple of different categories. They are:

  • Structural Items: Be sure to take a look at the condition of things like the home’s roof, gutters, and siding. While aesthetics are good to have, functionality is arguably more important. Evaluate if these items look well-maintained or if they will probably require some work to get up to snuff.
  • Landscaping: How does the overall landscaping look? Has the lawn been mowed recently? Are there any trees or bushes that look like they may need pruning? Did the seller put effort into decorative landscaping with flowers and plants? Landscaping upgrades and maintenance can both add up.
  • Functional Elements: If the home has any functional elements like a pathway to the front door or exterior lights, take a moment to evaluate those, as well.
  • The Entryway: The last element of curb appeal is the entryway. Ideally, the front door will look especially inviting. Has the front door been freshly painted? Are the address numbers predominantly displayed?

Again, these elements shouldn’t make or break your decision on whether or not to make an offer on the home. However, as you look at a property, it’s a good idea to take these factors into account since if you do decide to make an offer, they’ll be inputs into deciding what’s a fair offer price.

Consider the costs

At its core, curb appeal is actually a financial matter. One way or another, improved curb appeal does come with a cost.

A home that looks better from the outside will likely fetch a higher sale price than one without any of these small touches. However, if you decide to buy a property without these small touches, you may need to pay for them in the long run.

If you do decide to go with a property that’s a bit more of a fixer-upper, keep in mind that you don’t have to take care of everything all at once.

While some of the projects listed above are smaller, things like roofing and professional landscaping can end up costing thousands of dollars.

We suggest doing your research and budgeting carefully before undertaking any DIY projects.

But, boosting curb appeal also boosts equity. If you do decide to invest in some of these projects and improve the look and function of your home over time, you should see that benefit come back to you when you re-sell it. You’ll also find that you’ll take pride in enjoying your investment throughout the duration of your time in the home.

This article originally appeared on OpenListings.

Backyard Design Ideas For 2019

Living in a huge Victorian house is a dream of millions of people around the world, especially those who have spent all their lives regretting having been born 150 years too late. But, if you manage to find a cool Victorian house to purchase or rent, you’ll be in a position to turn all your wishes into reality, and all you have to do is maintain this house regularly and keep the high standard. One of the ways to do so is by focusing on the backyard and investing your energy and time into turning it into the best backyard in the world. If you too are planning on doing that sometime in the future, but still lack ideas, here’s what you can do.

Mow the Lawn Regularly

Old Victorian backyards were meticulously maintained and taken care of more than we can imagine today, and that’s exactly what you need to do as well. Mowing your lawn and making sure it’s always in the perfect condition is the first step towards having an amazing Victorian backyard – or any backyard, for that matter.

First, learn how often you have to mow the lawn, then get a decent commercial mower and some professional mowing equipment, and you’ll be ready to turn your lawn into the best one in the entire neighbourhood!

Focus on the Focal Point

This used to be another thing the Victorians were particularly proud of – the focal point. Whether it’s a fountain, a huge tree or a display of colourful flowers, they invested their time in making sure it’s the best focal point they could make.

The benefit of doing that is having something memorable in your backyard that will draw the attention of your visitors and show them just how much you care for your outdoor space. Also, it’s a way to add some class and elegance to your backyard, and turn it into a space you’ll just love spending time in every day of the week.

Build a Deck

Adding a deck to a Victorian house can be rather tricky, and unless you do it right, this feature could easily ruin the entire aesthetic of your home and make it seem inappropriate and ridiculous. But, if you aren’t afraid to think outside the box and invest your time into this project, you could boost the visual appeal of your home and make it more special than ever.

Building a deck may seem easy and rather simple, but it’s actually harder than most people think, which is why you should leave it to professionals. These people know how to pick the right material, where to position your deck, how to make it sturdy and durable, and they’ll teach you how to maintain your deck in the years to come as well. This way, you can be sure your deck will remain the most appealing feature of your home in the future too.

Add Some Paving

Huge Victorian houses come with huge Victorian backyards, and these are sometimes hard to deal with unless you have some help. You can’t walk from one corner to the other without some proper paving, so this is another project you should take into consideration.

Again, this is something you might want to leave to someone who’s a bit more experienced and skilled than you are, so hire a paving expert as soon as you can, and you can be sure they’ll finish the job professionally, efficiently and on time. Once they add some new paving to your backyard, you’ll be able to manoeuvre more easily and discover areas you’ve probably never visited before.

Build a Glasshouse or a Greenhouse

Lots of Victorians loved spending time in the open, and that’s how glasshouses were born – these spaces were somewhere between interior and exterior space, combining the best of both worlds. This is where people would drink their tea, eat their biscuits and talk with their friends, all while enjoying the afternoon sun.

Another idea you could explore is a greenhouse – this structure is primarily connected to gardening and planting various flowers, vegetables and plants, and it’s a hobby the Victorians loved. They would come here to take their minds off everyday troubles and focus on their own well-being, and that’s something you can do as well. Building a greenhouse shouldn’t be too hard as long as you have a proper plan and know what you’re doing, so explore this idea and enjoy your new hobby in your old Victorian backyard.

Turning your Victorian backyard into a special space you’re going to love and enjoy every day of the week isn’t as difficult as it may seem. In the end, all you have to do is give it some love and attention, making the most of this outdoor area and being able to spend as much time there as you can.

Large Scrabble Game For Your Yard

The Scrabble game shown is a bit fancy buy you can do this at home. You take walking stones that measure 12 x 12 or 10 x 10 and make a 15 stone by 15 stone patio.

With wood (use thin board to thick board depending on your budget and make the following tiles the same size as your paving stones size.

  • 4 blank tiles (scoring 0 points)
  • 1 point: E ×24, A ×16, O ×15, T ×15, I ×13, N ×13, R ×13, S ×10, L ×7, U ×7
  • 2 points: D ×8, G ×5
  • 3 points: C ×6, M ×6, B ×4, P ×4
  • 4 points: H ×5, F ×4, W ×4, Y ×4, V ×3
  • 5 points: K ×2
  • 8 points: J ×2, X ×2
  • 10 points: Q ×2, Z ×2

Hand paint or use stencils to make the coordinating letters and points for the tiles. use your own style and paint the tiles background in vibrant colors or color pallet of your choice. Letters could be any font – they don’t HAVE to be identical to the Scrabble font and colors.

Using a scrabble board you will make tiles the same size as your paving stones and make the triple, double tile  designs. These can be placed before your game starts. Again use your imagination and place the tiles in any position to make each game unique.

Store all tiems in a dry place to prevent warping, paint peeling and mildew.