In the warm months, there’s nothing better than coming home and immediately kicking off your shoes, grabbing an ice-cold drink and heading right outside. Sitting outdoors in the fresh air is a great way to loosen up, unwind and let go. Summer may still seem far off, but now is actually a great time to begin planning ways to make your outdoor space more comfortable — see if one of these 10 ideas will work for your porch, patio or yard.
Poolside lounge. If you have a pool (lucky you!) why not steer away from the usual plastic deck furniture in favor of something sleeker and more chic? A sea grass daybed, linen-backed deck chairs and a Moroccan tea table create a light, airy feel in this poolside space. Unwind under the shade of an oversize umbrella with a tall glass of something on ice and your favorite trashy novel. No pool? This look would work equally well on a backyard deck — I would surround the seating area with big pots of fragrant plants, like lavender.
Patio hangout. Who says only kids get to have fun on swings? Juice up your patio with a colorful indoor-outdoor hanging chair and a few big potted plants with interesting foliage, and swing your worries away.
Napworthy porch. A covered porch is the perfect place for napping — the fresh air and gentle breeze soothe, but the roof is there to protect you if a sudden shower springs up while you snooze. Any daybed makes a fine napping spot, but I think the rocking motion of a hanging bed is especially restful.
Backyard hideaway. Make a simple pergola in the backyard feel like an exotic getaway by stringing up white curtains all around and placing a cushy outdoor sofa or daybed underneath. The curtains not only create privacy but can also be adjusted to block the sun on a hot day.
Classic hammock. If you have nice, big trees in your backyard, why not put them to good use? String up a hammock and let the relaxation commence. Come home from work, kick off your shoes, grab something to drink and make a beeline to the backyard. No trees? You can also find hammocks that come with their own stands.
Private dining area. Whether you want to dine al fresco or just bring a glass of wine outdoors on a pleasant weekend, having a welcoming table for two is essential. Find a place blocked from the wind — a corner of the garden would be ideal — and make it feel even more private by surrounding it in lush plantings. Keep a stash of fresh tablecloths indoors and carry one out with you when you want to hang out at your table — it’s the quickest and easiest way to keep your table looking fresh.
Tropical retreat. Deep, dark tropical and reclaimed wood furniture, moody lighting and a hammock converge on this porch to make an irresistible hideaway. Whether your idea of R&R involves pouring cocktails and playing cards with friends, or enjoying a little peace and quiet solo, a setup like this will have you covered.
On a deck that gets a lot of sun, curtains or blinds can make the space much more comfortable. For a tropical look, try hanging simple (and inexpensive) bamboo blinds, as shown here.
Rooftop refuge. A chill-out zone like this one is essential for city dwellers. Even if your space is small (and the budget is limited), you can pull together a cute retreat with a café table for sitting and a blanket-covered futon and burlap pillows for lounging.
Sweet simplicity. Sometimes all you need is a place to get away. Tuck a pair of chairs (butterfly chairs are always stylish) and a small table into a hidden area of your garden — perhaps even in a side yard. Surround the seating area with native grasses that will rustle in the breeze, and hang a wind chime for gentle sounds that help release stress.
Get inspired by more backyard escapes