Your backyard is a sensational place to entertain friends and family, especially during spring and summer. Barbecues and pool parties are awesome ways to enjoy the beautiful climate with people you love. But first you need to make sure that your backyard is incredible enough to be a venue for entertainment and fun.

If it is not, transform it and create a new outdoor living space with a few simple yet beautiful additions. Apart from giving you extra space to entertain and relax, a few easy additions can give you a little extra privacy and make your outdoor space your favorite spot at home.

What is an Outdoor Living Space?

Any form of outdoor space that that helps in bringing out indoor comforts to the outdoors, such as a deck, gazebo, outdoor kitchen, patio, pergola, or a screened porch. With these spaces, you can enjoy the incredible outdoors while still getting the protection you need from the elements.

Think about it – the new pergola that you install will prevent the occasional rainstorm from ruining your BBQ party. With a screen porch, you can enjoy cool summer nights without worrying about mosquitoes.

Get a Pergola

For decades, gazebos and sunrooms have been popular backyard structures, but they often lack functionality and are expensive to build. A pergola is a marvelous alternative as it is easier and cheaper to construct. It is an open-air frame that typically has latticework roofing, offering a simple design that can accommodate almost any function and any budget.

Pergolas are traditionally shade structures that have mostly open roofs and sides. However, many modern designs incorporate canvas-covered or solid elements that offer better protection from the rain, sun, and wind. This means that your outdoor entertaining season can be extended into the fall and winter.

Design and Placement Tips for Pergolas

A number of factors need to be kept in mind when you choose where your pergola will go. Apart from accommodating the shape and size you desire, you will have to decide if you want a partial-cover or solid roof and whether you prefer a structure that is attached or separate.

When a pergola is situated within your yard landscape, it will be visible from your indoors and provides a visual element that draws attention to the landscape. For the placement of a separate structure, consider where you will spend the most time, where the view would be best and whether there are any areas that are naturally sheltered.

An attached pergola is a terrific option if you want to extend your indoor space onto an outdoor patio or ensure that your dinner parties are kept close to the kitchen. However, keep in mind that attached structures may block outdoor light, darkening interior spaces.

Add Fire to Your Backyard

Whether it is covered or uncovered, concrete, stone or metal, stately or simple, nothing adds a little something-extra to a backyard space than a touch of fire. In addition to adding ambience, light and warmth, fire pits can make entertaining easy and cooking fun.

Fire has a quality that brings people together and makes everyone feel at home. Plus, a fire pit can be a stellar focal point of your backyard’s design even when you do not use it.

Design Consideration for Fire Pits

You can make installing a fire pit as simple as you want. You can purchase a portable unit or construct an elaborate built-in living space with incorporated seating. A wide range of materials are available for built-in fire pits, including brick, concrete, stone, and tile. While most pits have a circular design, you can easily design an L-shaped, square, or triangular space.

In general, keeping the pit as centralized as you can is a wonderful idea with seats that envelope the fire. That way, you ensure that everyone has a terrific view and faces each other while they enjoy the fire.

Sink Your Patio

In recent years, sunken patios have become popular in backyard landscape design. If you have a small yard, you can get visual interest and depth by having a sunken area and also, the overall space will seem larger than it actually is. In an expansive yard, you can better delineate the architectural scheme of your outdoors with a sunken patio and create a slightly “separate” space for entertainment or relaxation.

Design Options for Patios

You can add dimension to a flat yard with a recessed patio as well as incorporate them into irregular and sloping landscapes. An inset patio can be circular or semicircular or square or simply blend naturally with the existing landscape.

With a sunken patio that has broad, paved steps, you can easily add plenty of built-in seating for your guests while a graduated border can give you extra room for terraced plantings so that you have added privacy.

In areas where fences would be obtrusive, you can get some isolation minus the eyesore with a below-grade patio. You can take in the scenery in your backyard and enjoy some much-needed isolation at the same time.

You can start enjoying your backyard area, fully without worrying about privacy issues, lack of space to entertain and the elements. All you need to do is create an outdoor living space by adding a few awesome additions.

With a simple design, the right materials, and solid construction, you can transform your backyard into your own private oasis.

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Pergolas have become quite the DIY projects for homes across the US, and why shouldn’t they? They create an ambient space to relax in and spend more time outside, while adding value to your home. Not only are they an attractive garden feature, you don’t have to pay through your nose to be a proud owner of a pergola. You can easily get a DIY pergola kit that comes with illustrated instructions, pre-cut panels, and the necessary hardware to fix the panels together.

Here are some things you have to consider before you rush off about your garden building one.

The Purpose of Your Pergola

One of the initial things you have to think about is what will you use your pergola for? This will give you a clearer picture as to the kind of space you require, the amount of shade you might receive, access to it and how private you want it to be. A pergola may be used to highlight a walkway, give shade to fernery or act as an extended outdoor living space to have barbeques or entertain guests.

When choosing the best Pergola design for your garden the size and shape of your pergola entirely depend on the space you have at hand. Some prefer to have it attached to their homes, while others prefer a freestanding structure. Whichever structure you choose, keep in mind that it should also be compatible with the size and architecture of your home to give it a more authentic and aesthetic look and feel.

The Shape and Design of Your Pergola

While a basic pergola in itself is enough to add flair to your garden or backyard, an additional design or two with a splash of color helps give it a more aesthetic feel. There is an array of shapes to choose from – hexagonal, circular, square, and rectangular. The square and rectangular shapes are more common in homes.

In the case of an attached pergola, be mindful of using a circular shape, as it will not fix properly. It is best to go with a semicircle, since it attaches perfectly to your home.

We live in interesting times, times where you can enter the store and purchase a do-it-yourself kit to build your own pergola with a specified design. Today, DIY kits offer a range of shapes and designs, so you are never restricted.


The Right Material for Your Pergola

Wood: This is the most conventional and common material used to build a pergola. Since wood is available in a wide variety, individual choices differ, and help in creating a fresher design.

Hardwoods are costly, but more durable and add an appeal to older homes. Softwood, on the other hand, is cheaper and comes treated. It can be made use of in building posts and beams. Wood stains can be used with softwood to give it a rich texture. Just remember the wood has to be planed if you intend using wood stain. No worries, most wood comes so you can stain it quite easily.

You may want to stain the wood before assembly or before you begin forming the pergola. This way you will know you stained all the spots and there will be no hard to reach areas if you do it this way.

Timber can give the pergola a more organic or rustic feel, but it does require adequate maintenance to protect the wood from fungi, moisture and/or termites. So use a good wood coating and wood preservatives. Oil-based preservatives are ideal for wood, being used outdoors. In case of rot, you need a remedial treatment of wood. Alternatively, you can opt for Western Red Cedar that is naturally resistant to pests and moisture.

Steel: Unlike wood, steel does not decay. Using chemically treated steel will also prevent oxidation of the material that results in rusting. You can install steel quicker than wood and it also is more convenient to install, as it has lower volume and needs less support. Steel is, hence, a more contemporary choice.

Aluminum: This alloy is lightweight and easy to maintain. It is the perfect choice of material for pergolas if you live near the sea because humidity and salty air can give way to corrosion. For extra protection and color options you can choose to go for a powder-coated aluminum.


The Roof & Lighting of Your Pergola

You can press the button to put a roof over your pergola to get protection from the sun and rain. If you’re looking to completely block off the sun, wind, and rain, you can point your finger towards a steel or thatched roof. This is also more viable if you particularly live in a storm- or rain-prone part of the country.

If you want partial protection and a little bit of sunshine coming in, transparent panels or sails are just the thing for you. You can also choose to hang vines, as they’re lightweight and attractive. A few majestic options are honeysuckle, trumpet vine, wisteria, and clematis.

Installing lighting in your pergola allows you to enjoy your outdoor living space after sunset. It could be a sensational way to spend time with family and friends when it is dark. Make sure you get a licensed electrician to install the lighting.

Pergolas are turning into more of a trend and will continue to do so. And, if you are the kind of person who loves being outdoors – reading a book or having a barbecue – amidst nature, a pergola just may be what you’re missing in your garden.

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outdoor lifestyle ideas From relaxing under the sun to hosting gorgeous and quaint brunches and barbecues in the garden, the outdoor undoubtedly adds a charm to our living space. But in most cases, all that open area is overlooked and not utilized. Here are five outdoor lifestyle ideas that can spruce up your backyard in a jiffy and add to the value of your property.

A Relaxing Outdoor Pool

That’s right! This is the most commonly built structure in a garden or backyard. But, many of us may have bought the false notion that you require a massive space for an outdoor pool. On the contrary, today, you can find innovative designs to build a convenient outdoor pool that doesn’t eat up most of your property. Plunge pools are a poignant example. They can be circular, square, or rectangular and you can choose the design that best fits your space. Resistance jets, as the name suggests, create a resistance in the pool that helps you swim without space being an obstacle. These can be installed in the plunge pool; they also help with therapeutic exercises and swimming training. You can also use the jets to turn your pool into an outdoor spa by using the spa mode of the resistance jets. What a wonderful way to utilize your outdoor space and pamper yourself!

The Classic Gazebo

You can’t go wrong with a gazebo. A gazebo is among the oldest of outdoor structures in history. They are freestanding structures and while the conventional shapes used to be either octagonal or hexagonal, there is now a lot more room for creativity. You can choose from something like that of a Victorian style to something more rustic or contemporary. You needn’t worry about space, as you can invest in a DIY gazebo kit that perfectly suits your outdoor space. classic gazebo

A Comforting Deck

A deck provides a home with an extensive space to lounge in. It is nothing but a patio that is higher than the ground level of the home, but it sure does its bit in beautifying the home and allowing you to take in the soothing view of your garden. Typically, a deck is built using wood or vinyl. Commonly used wood types include cedar, redwood, and pine. However, it is important to maintain the wood to keep it from decaying and warping. A tremendous set of outdoor furniture and lightings would liven up the deck for a quality time with family and friends.

A Pretty Patio

A patio is definitely the most versatile space you can have at home. An ideal space for a patio is the rear of the house or the garden. It can be attached to or detached from your home. Usually, the landscape is taken into consideration when designing a patio. You can build your patio into a variety of shapes and sizes using a vast range of materials, such as stone, tile, pebbles, pavers, bricks, and rocks. Once it is built, all you need is some comfortable outdoor furniture to host barbecue parties, evening cocktails or just relax with a tall, cool drink in the company of family and friends. If the patio is large enough, place a daybed to relax after a hard day’s work. pergola effect

The Pergola Effect

A pergola is another outdoor structure that has lately become extremely popular, but has been around for centuries. It can be freestanding or attached to the home. Earlier, pergolas differed from gazebos in the sense that it lacked a roof and walls. However, these traditional rules have changed with time. If you love the idea of a living area outdoors, a pergola is just what you need. A pergola that is facing north will make the most use of the sun. The primary material used is wood, ranging from hardwood to softwood. But you can get pergolas made from steel and aluminum. If you are looking for rustic and traditional look and feel, opt for Western Red Cedar as your wood of choice. It is durable, aesthetically pleasing, and naturally resistant to pests and moisture. You can create your own private little space with climbing plants, sheer curtains, and flowering plants.

DIY Projects

DIY projects are a poetic way to set up structures like the gazebo and pergola. They are convenient and there is no need to waste time fretting over the design or materials. They are efficient. Pergola and Gazebo kits come with an easy-to-understand instruction manual, pre-cut wood panels and necessary hardware. If you choose Western Red Cedar panels, not only can you enjoy the outdoor structure, you also get the benefit of pest and moisture resistance. While you can use the DIY route to erect a pergola or gazebo with the help of DIY kits, use a professional to build your pool, patio, and deck. After all, you will be investing a lot of money and you want outdoor lifestyle ideas that are durable, beautiful, and functional.
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Backyard pergola Backyard pergolas owe their existence to the ancient Egyptians, who used to use them to escape from the heat while walking from one building to the next. They also used these beautiful outdoor structures to grow vines and other climbing plants. Today, thanks to advancements in construction technology and materials, a backyard pergola not only adds beauty to your garden, it also functions as a place to relax and enjoy some leisure time with your loved ones.

Why a Pergola?

You may wonder why introduce an architectural structure that has no walls to speak of or a solid roof to protect you from the sun, rain, or snow to your property anyhow? That is precisely the beauty of a backyard pergola. The lack of solid roof and walls helps a pergola define your outdoor space without restriction or constraints. The unique architectural feature allows you to be inside and outside at the same time and can add life to the landscape of your garden. You can use a pergola to frame a unique focal point in the garden or define a pathway in your garden. And, if you add a climbing plant to the structure, you will enjoy color as well as shade. pergola kit

Backyard Pergola – What are the Benefits?

If you are still skeptical about installing a pergola in your backyard, here are some wonderful advantages you will enjoy if you do so.
  • Maximize the View: Remember a backyard pergola doesn’t have walls and hence, you get an unobstructed (well, somewhat obstructed, right?) view of your lush garden and flowering plants. You can situate the structure where the view is the most beautiful, so that you can enjoy the serenity and beauty while relaxing under your pergola.
  • Stay Cool in the Summer: While you can sit in the patio and enjoy the sun, sometimes the heat can be unbearable, driving you indoors. With a backyard pergola, you can stay cool and still spend time outdoors. First, the breeze will flow freely through your backyard pergola as there is nothing to block it and you can block most of the rays of the sun by installing a slat roof. That way, even when the temperature outdoors is soaring, you stay cool and use the space for all types of fun activities, such as outdoor dining, reading a book while listening to music or sitting in your inflatable swimming pool and sipping a margarita!
  • Create Some Privacy: Even though pergolas have an open-structure construction, by adding accessories to them, you can create a privacy screen that blocks out unattractive views and ensures you get the privacy you want when spending time in your backyard.
  • Choose your Pergola Design and Style: Today, backyard pergolas can be made from a variety of materials and in different sizes and shapes. If you want to add some flair to your outdoor living space, pergolas are perfect. With modern and traditional designs, you can create the outdoor ambience you see to set your garden apart and make it look elegant without too much effort.
  • Boost the Resale Value of Your Property: It may sound clichéd but many people end up buying homes with backyard pergolas. It makes your garden more functional and aesthetically pleasing. So, in the future if you decide to sell your property, the pergola you install today will help you ask for a higher price compared to similar properties in the neighborhood.

Common Pergola Materials

Wood Pergolas

Previously, wood used to be the only material used to make a pergola. While wood looks gorgeous and blends with the natural surroundings of a garden seamlessly, there are other materials that are slowly catching on.

Cedar Pergolas

Cedar is one of the most preferable woods for making a pergola since it is naturally resistant to rot and decay. Also, the soothing aroma of the wood can be relaxing and therapeutic after a stressful day at work. However, most homeowners love pergolas made from redwood. This wood looks fantastic and is strong and durable. Of course, it is an expensive choice, but the durability makes it a worthwhile investment.

Metal Pergolas

Metals, such as aluminum, wrought iron and steel, are also quite popular. Bear in mind, regardless of the metal you purchase, the color invariably will be black. But don’t worry. Black pergolas are awesome and tend to be eye-catching. If you are looking for an affordable metal pergola, go with aluminum, since it is lightweight and more affordable than other metals. Wrought iron is the metal of choice for upscale gardens and neighborhoods.

Vinyl Pergolas

In recent times, even vinyl is used to make pergolas. It is a cheaper alternative to wood and hardly requires any maintenance. You never have to worry about rot or cracking as well.

Pergola Kits Make the Job Easy

cedar pergola kit You don’t have to go through the rigmarole of buying wood and building a pergola. You can easily invest in a pergola kit. Don’t worry, you can get stunning designs, numerous sizes, and in any material you wish. Furthermore, you can easily install the pergola yourself. Pergola kits come with all the necessary hardware and instructions. The installation does require two people, but it can be done in a few hours. With so many benefits of a pergola, it is hard not to install one. So, add a pergola to your garden to maximize the usage of your outdoor living space and make your garden more attractive and versatile. You just can’t go wrong with a wonderful pergola.
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