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Outdoor Living

With the rise in all things al fresco, more focus is being given to outdoor spaces than ever before; and people are tricking out their backyards with everything from fire pits and water features to fully equipped kitchens that could satisfy a Michelin-star chef. It’s absolutely amazing to see the way even the smallest spaces are being transformed—serene tropical oases in the midst of urban life, romantic Tuscan vineyards set amongst cityscapes where grappa isn’t actually available unless you make a trip to the corner store. Outdoor spaces have become a blank canvas for the imagination to run free; and the market has really risen to meet the demand, creating products that are functional and durable enough to withstand the wear and tear of the elements but stylish enough to be used indoors.

There’s continuity to it all—a seamless flow that breaks down the barriers and easily guides everyone outside to enjoy a breath of fresh air, to take in a glimpse of the firmament in all its natural glory. Sunrise, sunset, twinkling stars sprinkled across the inky night sky…Nature is in, and people are investing the big bucks in spaces that were once merely an afterthought.

Whatever your vibe, there are options perfect for bringing your vision to life, whether you want a mini waterpark or have your heart set on something more sophisticated. But before you go all-out in planning the magazine-worthy backyard of your dreams, you need to rein it in and take a hard look at reality. For instance: What amount of space do you have? What type of terrain do you have and what is the size of your budget? Yes, they might put a damper on all the fun you’re having with creating a Pinterest board brimming in ideas for things like designer appliances and glittering pools fed by the cool cascade of a waterfall; but all of those questions play a huge factor in what’s feasible for you. They’ll also determine whether or not you’ll need to call in a professional to help you or can you tackle it all on your own in a fit of DIY madness. Naturally, the products you choose are crucial in maintaining any sort of budget. Those bright and shiny high-end options may have your inner magpie under a spell; but if you want to get the most bang for your buck and stretch your dollar just a little bit farther, take a look at options that have a similarly fantastically high style without the fantastically high price.

You’ll also need to think practically in terms of what you’ll actually use. If you hardly step foot in the kitchen insideyour house, installing an outdoor kitchen will be nothing more than an exercise in wasteful spending. On the flip side, if you have wicked skills at the grill, giving yourself a place to fire up your passion and put those talents to use will be a wise investment. Looking for a cozy spot to curl up and watch the world go by? Create an outdoor living area with comfortable seating arrangements and consider the installation of a fire pit to warm chilly nights. Even small changes can make a modest patio space more inviting, and you can make the transformation with minimal investments of time and money. Pergolas add shade to seating and dining areas as well; and on days when the sun is shining too brightly, those shady spots are crucial in staying comfortable and cool just a little bit longer. Regardless of what your budget may be or what type of backyard you have, there is an infinite amount of ways to get your outdoor space to serve your needs and bring a dose of fun to your daily life. All it takes is a little bit of planning and some creative vision, and that un-tapped terra firma can become the best spot in—or out—of the house.

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