With summer on the way, more people are once again enjoying their homes’ outdoor spaces. If your deck, patio or balcony isn’t living up to its potential, consider adding a few upgrades to get more from your outdoor space. Here are some ideas to enhance the open-air amenities of your home.

Find a Function

Before purchasing costly accessories, consider what function your outdoor space will serve. Will you be hosting barbecues for friends and family? Enjoying some private sunbathing? Creating a garden? The purpose of your new outdoor area will guide your purchase decisions, so be sure you have a clear idea of what that purpose is before heading to the store.

Pick a Theme

You can give your outdoor space a cohesive look and feel by designing around a theme. Selecting a theme for your area will make decorating easier and provide a ready-made atmosphere for your new spot. A sleek minimalist look works well with urban balconies, while more natural and rustic features are better suited for cabins or lake houses.

Have a Seat (or Several)

If you’re like most people, you typically use your outdoor space for relaxing and dining. Enhance that experience with comfortable seating that you and your guests will want to spend time in! Lounge chairs, reading chairs, rocking chairs, benches, swings, hammocks and patio sets are great examples of affordable ways to take a load off. High-quality and larger items can become pricey, but hidden gems are waiting to be found at secondhand stores and online marketplaces.

Prepare for a Grilling

Backyard grilling is a quintessential summertime tradition. Even those with limited space can use a small charcoal grill to enjoy outdoor cooking, while bigger gas grills can feed a large gathering. If you’re part of a homeowners association, especially in a condo building, just be sure you adhere to any rules concerning outdoor cooking.

Fire it Up

Perhaps the only thing better than dining al fresco is relaxing on a cool night around the warmth and glow of a crackling fire. Freestanding firepits can be purchased for as little as $100, or you can make your own in-ground version with some simple supplies from a home improvement store. As with grills, be sure to abide by any applicable homeowners association rules.

Have it Made in The Shade

Summer is time for fun in the sun, but there can certainly be too much of a good thing. Awnings, shade sails, umbrellas and pergolas are all options to provide protection from the heat and UV rays of direct sunlight. Shade sails can be purchased for as little as $30, but more elaborate options such as a motorized awning can run into the thousands of dollars.

Keep Bugs at Bay

If the mosquito is your state’s unofficial bird, then you know how insects can spoil outdoor enjoyment. Screens are the best way at keeping bugs out, whether you’re screening in a porch or an entire patio or pool area. Bug control gear such as a repellent device is less effective but much cheaper and easier to add to your outdoor space.

Pump up the Beats

Whether you’re relaxing alone or hosting a party, the right soundtrack can enhance your outdoor enjoyment. This can be as cheap and simple as a portable Bluetooth speaker to pair with your smartphone or as elaborate as a set of permanent outdoor speakers wired into a home sound system.


Now is the time to enhance your outdoor space for summer. With these ideas, you can transform a ho-hum exterior into an outdoor delight. Enjoy!