Andrea helps people design their homes and gardens. She likes to use Western Astrology and the Chinese Zodiac to help build templates.
20 Outdoor Projects Perfect for Summer
Summer is the perfect time to host events. There are several summer holidays and in many parts of the world, children are out of school. You'll have more people over at your house, and if you've played your cards right, you'll have the perfect spot to hang out with your guests.
There are simple things you can do to improve the overall look of your outdoor areas or even to show off your prowess at mastering DIY projects. Adding flowers here and there will add color. Some projects on this list take just a couple of hours while others take weeks. You may need an architect or contractor to help you with the more involved projects on this list.
If you're looking for ideas on how to improve your yard and/or property, I've got you covered. This list is here to help you brainstorm what to do with that empty space in your yard.
1. Afternoon Tea Gazebo
Topping the list, I highly recommend an afternoon tea gazebo. It's the perfect spot to lounge on a chair, read a good book, and get some fresh air. The gazebo should be designed to store cups, trays, and tea bags. If you can get electricity to your gazebo, you could add a fridge for cold drinks.
The gazebo is a perfect space to hold tea parties or more upscale intimate gatherings. Make sure you have plenty of chairs and tables. Add a lovely rug and charming flowers or succulents.
Cushions are a plus for chairs. If you don't want your cushions to get wet during a storm, add a compartment or box to store them. Gazebos have the added bonus of pushing you into nature while also having protection from the sun. If you design a magical secret garden, an afternoon tea gazebo could be the perfect complement to it.
2. Rain Curtain
When it comes to DIY projects that are not too hard to pull off and add finesse to your yard, the rain curtain definitely comes near the top of the list. I've added a video above this text; it will walk you through how to create and install a rain curtain. There are other YouTube videos out there of this outdoor installation if you're interested in learning how to make your own.
What is a rain curtain? It's an eye-catching design that shows water cascading in a straight vertical line. Some people put colored lights around the top to draw attention to the water droplets. These can get really expensive! If you feel confident with tools, it might be better to create your own.
It can also be a lovely feature that children can play in or you can use to quickly rinse off. Installing something like this into your yard takes your home from cute and quaint to contemporary and cool.
3. Screened Porch
If you have room to spare on your property, adding a screened porch can take your house to the next level. A screened porch lets you enjoy a cool breeze on summer nights without getting bothered by pesky mosquitoes or other nuisances.
On rainy days, a screened porch shields you from getting wet while also giving you space to enjoy the sounds and sights of storms. Curl up in a wicker chair, listen to the cicadas, and take in the sweet aromas of alfresco.
Read More From Dengarden
It's the perfect place to drink coffee in the morning, read a book in the afternoon, and play board games at night. A screened porch is perfect for a house with a gorgeous vista.
For the perfect outdoor dinner parties and gatherings, a deck is a necessity. It's a perfect space for those who like to host. With any type of outdoor space intended for mixing and mingling, you'll want to provide shelter from the sun. An awning or umbrella can do the trick.
Decks are best suited on the part of your house that faces a striking view. A sprawling deck has its advantages—more space to add items, more space for people to spread out, and more space to enjoy the view. Granted, a big deck will need more attention and care than a small one.
Build intrigue for your guests: Add French doors to your house's entrance to the deck. A private deck to your bedroom could be the perfect hideout to dine on cheese and wine. Decks also add intrigue with swaying hammocks and fire pit tables.
5. Tree House
A tree house or club house (if you don't have any trees in your yard) can be an excellent hideout for your kids. Of course, you could make a tree house that's worthy of an adult's free time, but you could also go on a vacation where they have the really nice and professional tree houses where you get pampered. Costa Rica, is that you calling me?
A tree house for your kid can give them a dedicated space to play and use their imagination. I still remember my next-door neighbor's tree house that I went to as a kid growing up in Arkansas. You can use recycled or repurposed furniture for this space. Just make sure that whatever is created is stable and won't fall to pieces when your kid bounces around in it.
6. Fire Pit Hangout Spot
My husband badly wants to redesign our backyard, so he can make a very cool gathering spot around a fire pit. This isn't surprising. Our third date was simply hanging out together at a campfire.
Fire pits have come way up in popularity over the past few years. There are contemporary fire pit designs that can be used in more urban areas. You could also opt for a fire pit table. Of course, if you have an apartment or deal with a landlord, these options might be challenging to get approved.
Owning a fire pit and having a lovely vista will enhance your days spent at home. You don't necessarily need to shell out a lot of money to create a fire pit gathering spot. You can simply buy one at Home Depot or Lowe's, and place it on your back porch.
For those of you who are more ambitious, you'll want to think through your vision. Measure out a space, decide on a seating arrangement, pick suitable flooring and building materials, and clear away potential hazards.
7. Redesigned Walkways
Think way outside of the box when it comes to the exterior details of your home. Redesigning walkways could be the touch that makes your house go from drab to fab.
Create a path with poured concrete and infuse it with unusual objects along the way—starfish, fossils, seashells, glow-in-the-dark stones, broken pottery, or marbles. You could also alternate between glass tiles and slate for steps.
Add a border of bricks or stones along a path. Plant flowers in colorful rows along your porch. Paint each stair a different color for a rainbow effect. Alternate the stairs between two colors to create a simple look that grabs people's attention.
When it comes to adding a unique touch to your home, check with a building inspector or contractor to make sure it's safe. Also, some HOAs are more strict than others.
8. Colorful Mosaic Tabletop for a Patio or Garden
Build intrigue in your outdoor space by replacing your typical table with one that has a mosaic top. Whether you want something round or square, you can find something to fit your needs. Mosaic tables tend to be durable and can withstand harsh weather. You can find ones that are colorful and fit cozily in a space dedicated to bird feeders or a lovely rose bush.
You could DIY your own mosaic table. It's not too hard to install one into a surface. You can get one custom-made through Mozaico. I've used the company in the past. They'll guide you through installing a mosaic for different outdoor projects.
A fountain can vastly improve the aesthetics of your yard. Fountains come in all shapes and sizes. You can also create your own if you have the right tools. There are videos on YouTube that will walk you through designing your own fountain.
A fountain can double as a birdbath. It's a good idea to place birdfeeders around a fountain. For a sensual experience, place fragrant potted plants by your water features. The scented flora will act as aroma therapy while the sounds of trickling water will relax you. Colored lights on your fountain can make for a fun nighttime experience.
10. Zen Garden
A zen garden is a meditative space where sand, rocks, and water features are brought together in harmony. This can be a fenced-off location in your yard. One plus: the zen garden will shrink the amount of area you need to mow.
Zen gardens often have lovely ponds or fountains with koi in it. Bamboo and Japanese maple are just two of the plants people commonly place in their zen space. Buddhist statues are often added, but you can add whatever objects have meaning to you.
Your zen garden needs a spot where you can sit and relax. It's a good idea to have enough room to stretch and do yoga. Two of the most common activities in zen gardens are raking sand and placing rocks in different formations.
11. Moon Gate
One way you can build curiosity and anticipation for your garden is to install a moon gate at its entrance. Moon gates are a traditional architectural design in Chinese gardens. The design has gained popularity and can now be found throughout the world.
A moon gate is a circular entrance that's usually built into a wall. The design has an otherworldly aspect to it, some have referred to it as a portal to other worlds. It can add a hint of fantasy to your yard, especially if you decorate it with vines, ivy, and flowers. A moon gate can be made out of just about any material: wood, brick, metal, or stone. It can be built into a wall or fence or left free-standing.
A pergola forms a shaded walkway, passage, or sitting area. There are vertical posts and several support crossbeams to create a lattice. People often use these to place their vines and hanging plants.
A pergola allows you to go outside and enjoy nature while also having some protection from harsh elements. It's a good shelter from the sun's rays and light rain showers. Pergolas can look attractive with the right decorations: plants, lights, and sculptures.
You can also add a canopy to your pergola for a party or to better protect yourself and your plants from inclement weather. A gazebo has full coverage whereas a pergola allows sunlight to shine through. A pergola is more suited for gardeners than a gazebo.
Back in the Victorian Era, people would create glasshouses to store their sensitive plants. In a glasshouse, you can nurture something challenging, like a pineapple. Glasshouses are simply a kind of greenhouse. They don't have to be very big. They could be the size of a closet.
A glasshouse is made up of glass panels. It usually has a triangular top. It may prove challenging to find someone who can build one or procure the right glass to withstand the elements. In the 19th century, they were made with glass and iron.
A glasshouse tall enough for palms is called a palmhouse.
14. Tiki Bar
For those of you wanting a woodwork challenge, you might want to consider constructing your own tiki bar. Pineapple daiquiris and piña coladas will draw in your neighbors. Add bamboo, lanterns, and tiki torches to complete your bar's look.
You don't necessarily have to create a tiki bar, you could create a bar with any theme. However, a tiki bar does have a certain allure to it. For one, a taste of the tropics will elevate your house parties. Also, a staycation will benefit from having a corner of your home dedicated to the vibes of a tropical fantasy.
For the ultimate experience: Take a bartending class. You're not looking to sell liquor, but you're looking for ways to perfect your martinis.
Cat owners, if you have a cat who loves to go outside but you worry they'll get themselves hurt, there is something you can do to compromise with your feline friend. Catios are a fairly new trend that allow your cat to go outside but in the comfort of a screened-in area. There are toys and scratching posts inside to keep them busy while they enjoy the fresh air.
You could build your own catio if you have a knack for tools and woodworking. I like the catios that have tilted ladders or walkways inside them. Catios are sold online and will set you back a few hundred bucks.
Some cats could care less about the outside world while others beg to go outside. The problem is having a cat who frequently goes outdoors without supervision can drastically reduce its lifespan. There are a lot of dangers: disease-carrying pests, predators, cars, catnappers. You might feel a lot more comfortable letting your cat out if you have a catio and a leash to take them on walks. Not all cats will take to a leash and harness but some will.
16. Birdhouse Neighborhood
A series of colorful birdhouses placed in the right spot can look charming. Place some birdfeeders nearby as well as a birdbath or two. Attracting birds to your house can help diminish pests like bugs.
You can buy plain birdhouses online or at local stores. With some spray paint, you can make these little domains for feathered friends more exciting. Of course, you can splurge and get more expensive paint.
You can place the birdhouses on a tree or create a structure that will hold all of them. On a road trip in Northwest Arkansas, I saw someone with a wooden display that had at least 24 colorful birdhouses on it. Next time I make that trip, I'm stopping to get a picture.
17. Accent Your Home With a Splash of Color
A purple door, robin egg blue shutters, and red trim can bring life to your house. You don't necessarily need to take on a big project like getting all of your siding repainted. You could pick a few choice objects and revolutionize them with fresh colors.
You don't have to pick a really wild color. If you're on the fence about a color, try painting something small like a rock or chair, and leave it by your house. Slowly add more of that color to other objects, and see if you like it or hate it.
18. Contemporary Light Displays
When the fireflies light up in your backyard, you know it's summer. A growing trend in neighborhoods is to add striking lighting features, not just regular old incandescent lightbulbs, but bright colors, funky shapes, and fantasy features. You can paint items with glow-in-the-dark paint to get them to radiate in neon. There are dozens of DIY ideas for lighting including placing bright objects in old mason jars and planters or aligning flowerbeds with rope lights.
Stepping stones that glow could give your outside space a magical feel. For Halloween, you can paint designs on stones with glow-in-the-dark paint to catch people off guard when night falls. Not so great at drawing? Use a stencil.
Bioluminescence is in right now, especially if you can combine it with things like fairies, gnomes, and mushrooms. Garden shops sell a variety of solar lights and fixtures to make your outdoor world more whimsical.
19. Porch Swing
One of the most time-honored places for storytelling is the front porch. A porch that runs the entire length of a house is begging for a porch swing. If you don't want to install a porch swing, add a row of rocking chairs.
This is one spot where you can get a pop of color. Instead of the typical white, brown, or black porch swing, opt for teal. Add seat cushions and a crate to store cushions so they don't get ruined by inclement weather.
Adding vintage items, like watering cans and antique planters, will bring everything together for a rustic scene.
20. Add Finesse to Your Mailbox
The mailbox can either be the first thing people see when they visit your property, or it's just an important belonging that fades into the scenery.
To take your mailbox to the next level, consider building a rock bed around it. Add lovely stones and plants and use bricks to build a border around it. You could add objects around your mailbox that hint at the kind of things people would expect to find inside the house. Statues and small fountains are great companions for mailboxes.
You could also install a new mailbox that looks clean, unique, or unusual. You don't have to be as wild as the guy in my town who has a bright blue dolphin statue for a mailbox. You know what part of town you're in when you come across that.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2022 Andrea Lawrence