Nothing beats relaxing on your patio, porch or deck after a long day. With just a few months of warm, sunny weather, Canadians do like to maximize their outdoor space come the summer months. But not every home comes equipped with the perfect spot for enjoying a warm, evening breeze. Here are some tips for making the most of your home’s outdoor space, no matter what the issue!

The blank slate: If you’ve recently moved into a home with a bare backyard and your budget is tight, try making small changes every year rather than tackling the entire space in one summer.  There are tons of affordable changes you can make to create a relaxing setting. The first mission to undertake is seating, a key element to any comfy gathering spot. Shop online garage sale sites and Kijiji to find a used patio set in good condition or look for some old, aluminum folding lawn chairs that you can upcycle. Simply remove the canvas or plastic webbing and replace by weaving some colourful craft cord across the frame! You can find step-by-step instructions online. Other options for DIY, budget-friendly furniture include pallets and cement blocks, tires and cable spools. You’d be amazed at what you can create with so little!

The fishbowl: Some homeowners are reluctant to use their backyards because there is little privacy, especially in newer subdivisions lacking mature trees.  If you’re feeling a little exposed, there are many ways to make your space feel like a secluded oasis. For an immediate solution, use wood, outdoor fabric or plants to create a wall that will create a partially enclosed seating area. Thinking long term, a privacy hedge is the perfect solution for an exposed backyard.  Good options include: arborvitae, boxwood, Golden vicary privet, forsythia and French lilac.

Small and compact: Even tight spaces can be turned into a wonderful place to kick back and relax after a long day. When creating more livable space outdoors and square footage is tight, think first about how you want to utilize the space and plan accordingly. Would you like an entertainment/eating area? A spot for kids to play? A meditating garden with a pond?  You likely will only be able to choose one function for a small backyard so take the time to consider how you can get the most bang for your buck!