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Enhancing your outdoor living space.

A simple makeover can transform your back yard into an inviting space for relaxation and entertaining. The first step to any home improvement is a plan. Decide what you want the outdoor space to offer in terms of seating, cooking and entertaining. Then set out to accomplish it with a step by step plan that gets you there easily and efficiently. Having a plan will help you acheive your goal and help determine and control cost. Fortunately, it's easier—and less expensive—than you may think to undergo a backyard makeover. Here, some ideas that can give your backyard a boost without breaking the bank.

Decide what spaces you need—dining area, cooking area, comfy lounging area, and play area—and clearly define them. Properly defined areas can make a big visual impact on your outdoor space. This can be as simple as repositioning the furniture and accessories that you already have. Adding an outdoor rug is a simple and attractive way to define the lounge area. Outdoor lanterns and candles can also set the evening mood. Soft pillows bring color and texture into the seating area. You may also want to build or buy a storage system to keep cushions and outdoor accessories out of sight and safe from weather when not in use.

Some more s'mores

Fire pits are a popular addition to any outdoor space. There are numerous styles to choose form and some free standing ones are a convenient and quick way to be enjoying s'mores by the fire with family and friends. If you are looking for something more permanent consider building your own with readily available landscaping pavers. For a more relaxed look you may want to consider using large garden rocks to define you fire pit. Surrounding the fire pit area with gravel can help define the space while also making it a safer area.

Create a walk way to connect your space

A stone walk with grace or river rock is a simple way to create a meandering path. Consider placing some pavers a few inches apart to make your walkway a little more substantial. If your home has a more modern feel you could consider using wooden slat decking for a connected look. To begin making the path use spray paint to define the edges. Next clear away one to two inches of grass or top soil and lay garden matting to prevent unwanted vegetation. Last fill in with the path gravel, stones or planks. The path can be edged with garden edging or left natural for a lower maintenance look.

Add Some Depth and Vertical Appeal

Add some dimension to your outdoor space by positioning large rocks or even boulders to define a space. You might choose to arrange them individually or cluster a few together. Don't be afraid to cut into the lawn to accommodate them, and leave some space around for planting colorful perennials or small shrubs. If you are a bit more constrained in a smaller area then adding some planters along the side of the home or fence can add color and dimension. A trellis will also draw the view upward for that vertical impact. A trellis is a quick and easy way to add some architectural detail while also defining a space in your yard. Place one toward the back of the garden as a focal point, or perhaps use one to mark the entrance to a sitting area or vegetable bed . Choose a flowering vine to plant on either side to soften the look and add color.

Let's not forget tending to your space.

Sometimes the simplest of things can have a big impact. Create a garden that brings beauty and color into your space. Finish it off by laying like-colored mulch on all flowerbeds and exposed soil in your backyard to give your space that finished, unified look. As an added benefit, mulch blocks weeds and holds much-needed nutrients for your plants.

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