Outdoor living spaces are wonderful areas to relax and entertain. With these ideas, though, you can kick your outdoor space up a level.

1. Create Privacy

Build a wall or add a section of fencing or a room divider to create a wall. If you actually build a wall or add fencing, you’ve also added space to hang artwork or add display shelving for plants or other objects. Grow taller foliage or flowering plants in a planter or containers to add privacy while inviting nature into an urban space.

2. Protect Your Space From the Weather

Protecting a section of your space from the weather lets you keep the party going outdoors. A pergola adds airy, shaded protection from hot sun, and with canvas frames that fit between the slats of the pergola, it protects you from the rain as well.

To create a more interesting pattern overhead, place the slats for the pergola’s roof on the diagonal. The shade from the slats then repeats that pattern under your feet. You r pergola’s roof also could be made from bamboo, thatch, or growing vines.

For more protection and privacy, you can hang tie-back drapes made of indoor/outdoor fabric from the supports of the pergola.

For a more intriguing shade solution, add a canvas sail or two. Like the panels for a pergola, you can choose canvas with a print or in coordinated or contrasting solid colors. Two or more sails can be placed at different heights and angles to add an even more unique look.

3. Use Your Space Even in Cool Weather

If you have an outdoor space you love, why let cooler weather stop you from using it? You can add an outdoor fireplace with a seating area or add fire pits or outdoor heating units in and around the seating areas you already have. It may not winter proof your outdoor living space, but you will be able to start enjoying it earlier in the spring and keep enjoying it later into the fall.

4. Blend Your Indoor and Outdoor Spaces

Once upon a time, outdoor furniture was outdoor furniture and indoor furniture was indoor furniture. With indoor/outdoor fabrics, though, you can carry your indoor color scheme and décor into your outdoor living area, creating a unified space that encourages guests to enjoy both areas and flow from one to the other.

Continue this blending of the indoors and outdoors with a complete outdoor kitchen.

With a weather-proof cabinet, you can even bring a large screen TV outdoors. Imagine watching a televised concert or sporting event under the stars in your own backyard.

5. Mix and Match

Add interest to your outdoor living area by mixing and matching. Mix stone or brick pavers, stone or brick planters, or a stone or brick wall with upholstered furniture or wicker furniture with thick pillows. Add braided or macramé wall hangings made from bulky yarn, fluffy, warm fisherman’s knit afghans or throws for cool evenings, and metallic, glass, and ceramic accessories.

Other mix and match ideas include mixing décor styles. Take metal and concrete from the industrial look and mixing it with a rustic, country look featuring a traditional pine trestle picnic table. You also could try mixing industrial elements with an Eastern look that includes bonsai trees, Oriental prints and room dividers, and black, lacquered woods.

The mix and match look is a creative one that lets you use your imagination and experiment.

6. Design an Outdoor Living Space Just for You

You may want an outdoor living space just for you, for your children, or for your pets. You can turn an outdoor living space into a romantic dining space for you and your spouse, a fitness or sports area, a meditation area, reading space, a space for drawing or painting, a music space, or a safe play space for your pets or children. Plant fragrant and flowering plants in a meditation area, a romantic nook, or an arts area, and consider adding a water feature. Shade areas for active uses, and choose plants for a play space carefully.

7. Maintain Your Attractive Space

Once you’ve created an outdoor living space or kicked the one you have up one or more levels, you’ll want to keep it that way so that you can continue to enjoy it for years. If you’ve used wood flooring, you’ll want to sand and refinish it every two to three years. Keep grass and weeds from growing between pavers, and check your pavers to make certain that they haven’t become loose or uneven. Reset loose or uneven pavers, and replace broken ones. Clean the filters on water features regularly. If you have used plants, follow the instructions for their care, and keep your shrubs pruned so that air can flow through and reach the interior.

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