As spring turns to summer, we all move outdoors to enjoy the fresh air, sunshine, and maybe a couple burgers on the grill. We've got two of our Shop the Look designers here to answer all your outdoor living questions to get your backyard ready for summer. Keep reading to get tips on the essentials for your outdoor kitchen, the best patio furniture, and storage for all those outdoor toys.
We love a good fire pit surrounded by a comfortable seating area, as well as a fabulous dining area for hosting dinner parties. –SLC Interiors
My musts for any outdoor space are comfortable seating, ample table space for food and drinks, and shade. –B. Pila Design Studio
2. What are the best options for outdoor storage of games, toys, and gardening tools?
If you don't mind visible storage, trunks and fun woven baskets are a great way to spice up the decor of an outdoor space. I also like furniture that doubles as storage, such as seats that go up, storage benches and side tables that have lift-up trays. –B. Pila Design Studio
Benches with a hinged top are great because they provide additional seating, but can also hide any unused toys, games, and gardening tools. –SLC Interiors
3. What is the best material for an outdoor dining set?
Woven seating with a weathered wooden frame is great. Iron and metal just get too hot in the summer months! –SLC Interiors
"Best" is a relative term, as it really depends on your location and how much maintenance you are willing to do. Understand that furnishings exposed to less humidity and sunlight will fare a bit better. If you are on the water, I recommend aluminum or teak. Understand that cushions are beautiful and add to the comfort, but require more consistent cleaning and care, but sling webbing is a good alternative because it requires less maintenance. –B. Pila Design Studio
4. What are the necessities for an outdoor kitchen on a budget?
The grill is the main piece, but if you can't afford a built-in, there are a lot of nice freestanding grill options that have side elements to provide you that extra surface space when needed. Water and refrigeration are also important elements, but not a necessity per say. If you can't have a sink and fridge outdoors, just make sure you position your outdoor kitchen in close proximity to your indoor kitchen. Nothing puts a damper on the fun of cooking more than running back and forth all the time. –B. Pila Design Studio
5. What's the best landscaping solution for someone without a green thumb?
We think the best landscaping solution for someone without a green thumb is low-maintenance grass, succulents, and a rock garden. –SLC Interiors
Xeriscapes are garden designs that require minimal irrigation and water levels. Heartier plants such as bromelias, succulents, and bougainvilleas are also attractive options, as are palm trees because they are used to surviving dry areas and windy conditions. –B. Pila Design Studio
6. Are outdoor rugs everything they're cracked up to be?
Truthfully, no, unless they are made from plastic. They can definitely add life to an outdoor space, but usually only last for one season. However, the good thing about a short life span is that you can change it up each year! –SLC Interiors
They are definitely nice and have progressed in durability over the years. Outdoor rugs anchor a seating arrangement, just as they do with indoor spaces to bring comfort. They are best used under a terrace to help prevent wear from the sun and weather conditions. The good thing is that outdoor rugs aren't all that expensive, so you can simply throw one away and replace with a new one from time to time. So, yes, I guess they are all they are cracked up to be! –B. Pila Design Studio
7. For a family-friendly yard, is it better to have a pool or a swing set?
Honestly, this decision is more about the parents and how much time and energy they want to put into up keep. Play sets tend to be a little easier, especially with younger kids, whereas with pools, parents have to be more on guard. In the long-run; however, the pool is probably best as it appeals to all ages from babies to teenagers, and its a great amenity for adults too. –B. Pila Design Studio
This is a tough one, and also a personal decision. Pools are very high maintenance, but can be the best decision you ever made when the temperatures start to climb. If you are up for the challenges that a pool comes with, we say do both! –SLC Interiors