It’s summer in Rochester! We all want to enjoy being outside while the weather is sunny and warm. There’s only a few short months to enjoy our outdoor living spaces, so how do we make the most of it? These seven tips will transform your home and create the best possible summer living experience for you and your family.

Designate Clear Separate Spaces

Indoors, your home probably has a separate living room, kitchen, dining room, and so on. The same concept should apply to your outdoor space. You and your guests will feel more comfortable with designated seating areas and clear pathways between the garden, grill, and other outdoor activities.

Using outdoor rugs and furniture is the easiest way to designate separate spaces. Areas can also be segmented off with planters, pergolas, and lighting.

Create Shade and Shelter

On clear days, the heat from the sun can be unforgiving. When it rains, everyone quickly runs indoors to avoid getting wet. Building sheltered spaces extends the time you can spend outdoors by protecting you from all elements. However, it’s important not to make your outdoor space feel like an extra room in your house with too many walls or screens.

An awning or waterproof canopy will give you the most protection from both sun and rain while also leaving the view intact and area open. Large umbrellas are good for temporary shade and shelter but are easily swept up in the wind.

Add a Privacy Wall

There are a thousand different uses for a privacy wall, the most obvious being in the name as it provides privacy in areas you might not want to be too exposed. A solid wall on one side can also help your outdoor space feel like it has a clear “start” and “end” to create a cozier space without becoming cramped. If you add leafy plants or an outdoor tapestry, the wall also helps to block some sound from your party from traveling over to the neighbors’ homes.

Remember to be sparing and strategic when putting up walls in your outdoor area! While it’s nice to have private spaces, too many walls will start making the outdoors feel like you’re back indoors.

Light Up the Night

The party shouldn’t have to end when the sun goes down. Making sure that your deck, patio, or porch has adequate lighting extends the time that you’re able to enjoy it. Your yard is also safer when lit up at night, keeping your guests from tripping on things they can’t see in the dark.

Solar lights that charge up during the day and turn on automatically in the dark are great for a subtle glow around the garden. Don’t assume that fairy lights are only meant for the holidays! Strings of lights can transform the space at night and make it feel magical. Fire pits and torches are also a source of light though they require constant attention for safety reasons.

Heat Your Outdoor Space

Summer in Rochester is always over too soon and the cold starts to creep back in. However, you can enjoy the outdoor season longer by adding heat sources to your deck, patio, or porch.

Fire pits are a classic heat source that can be as simple as a ring of rocks on a bare patch of dirt to a custom brick enclosure built into your patio. There are also a variety of outdoor space heaters and heat lamps to warm your living space. Some even claim that they keep mosquitos and other bugs away!

Get Comfortable Seating

It should be a no-brainer, right? Having comfortable, cushioned seats for you and your guests makes being outdoors all the more enjoyable. What’s comfortable to you might not be comfortable to everyone, so having a few different types of seating may be to your benefit.

Hammocks and hanging chairs are a fun addition to any outdoor space. Cushioned loveseats are perfect for lounging around, while barstools might make for a better working space or eating area.

Decorate Your Space

Don’t be afraid to bring the comforts and finishing touches of your indoor spaces outdoors! Artwork and bright colors can create a focal point for your porch, patio, or deck. These design elements and details create a more comfortable living environment by making the space more beautiful and inviting.

Try hanging a painting in a sheltered area, adding convenient touches like a drink cart or decorative pillows, or even just filling a vase with flowers. These little touches make all the difference in making the space look homey and complete.