Your outdoor space will be ready for summer in no time.
Summer has arrived, but if you're still figuring out how to get your outdoor space ready for the season, don't worry. Here are some easy ways to spruce up your backyard for summer—all inspired by blogger Elizabeth Van Lierde of the College Housewife's beautiful backyard makeover. By recruiting some family members to help and DIY-ing many of the elements herself, Elizabeth was able to transform an underutilized (and formerly muddy) backyard into her own personal oasis. Check out the makeover below (and read all of the details over on the College Housewife), then let it inspire your next outdoor project.
The backyard before.
Before the makeover, this outdoor area was full of potential, but presented a muddy challenge. "We had been dealing with mud and grass sod that died from the previous tenant's installation for a while," Elizabeth explains. "After a few months, I grew exhaustingly tired of a muddy golden retriever, so I knew we needed to make a change!"
Set the groundwork.
To fix the muddy situation, Elizabeth decided to create a patio by installing gray pavers. "The gray pavers allowed us to reclaim the space and were super inexpensive. We now use it as an outdoor lounge area practically every day, whereas before it was just a muddy mess."
Elizabeth's top tip: "Any time you can grab help from friends and family, take it!" Her dad came to help her lay the pavers, and each 12-by-12-inch stone cost less than $2 (lowes.com), so the total project cost came to just about $100.
In your own backyard, try to find solutions that are practical for your space. Because Elizabeth's space only gets about an hour of sunlight per day, she knew it would be hard to grow anything and opted for the patio instead. Consider the light your yard gets, then look for low-maintenance outdoor plants that will work for your space.
Splurge on seating.
Whether you plan to use your backyard for entertaining, working from home, or reading on lazy summer afternoons, you're going to need seating that's both durable and stylish. Elizabeth decided to splurge on a four-piece patio set that provides plenty of seating and a table ($1,500, amazon.com)—and it transforms the area into a living space.
"It's like having a little outdoor living room," Elizabeth says. "My boyfriend and I both work from home in the afternoons, so sometimes we camp out with our laptops and have a lazy work lunch together. Most of the time we fill the space with pitchers of margaritas and have friends over to enjoy it with us."
Don't forget about lighting.
Similar to decorating an indoor space, the lighting choices for an outdoor patio can dramatically affect the vibe of the space. Elizabeth hung string lights overhead, creating a cozy, romantic atmosphere that's ready for a summer get-together. Especially if you plan to use your backyard for parties or just want to linger over dinner after dark, you'll want to invest in string lights, outdoor sconces, or LED path lights that light up the night.