Backyard camping: enjoy the great outdoors without leaving home

Backyard camping

Photo credit: Pinterest

Camping is one of my favorite summer activities, but sometimes it’s hard to set aside a week or even just a weekend to get away. That’s why I love the idea of backyard camping. It gives families the opportunity to spend time outdoors and bond. Plus, staying close to home is often recommended for young children who are not ready for the full camping experience.

Backyard camping seems like a simple concept, but there are some strategies you can use to create an experience that is similar to an actual camping trip. For example, you can:

Set up a tent

Backyard camping

Photo credit: Daily Mail

Okay, I know it seems silly to sleep outdoors when you have comfortable beds inside waiting for you. However, your backyard excursion will feel more like a bonfire than an authentic camping trip if you head inside after the fire dies down.

Design a sitting area

Seating area next to camp

Polywood Adirondack Chairs

Most campsites have benches for dining and generally people bring their own chairs. Set up your backyard to mimic an actual campsite by arranging outdoor chairs and tables near the tent area.

Install a fire pit

Fire pit

Firescapes Fire Pit

In my opinion, it’s not camping without a fire and s’mores. If you don’t already have one, consider adding a fire pit to your backyard space; you can use it all summer long! On chillier nights, make sure you have extra blankets for sitting around the fire!

Add a sprinkler

If you live within walking distance of a lake or ocean, head out for a swim in the afternoon. Otherwise, a sprinkler can add a splash of fun for the kids (and the adults).

Keep technology indoors

Phones and laptops are hard to leave behind — believe me, I know. Camping, however, is all about taking a break from technology and connecting with nature. While you might not have a forest in your backyard, you can at least enjoy the sunshine and breeze without having to check your cell every five minutes.

Roasting marshmallows

Photo credit: Pinterest

Are you ready to roast marshmallows and tell ghost stories? A simple camping trip in your backyard can be a special memory you and your family will cherish for years.

By Wendy Weinert

 

How to create a welcoming porch

I don’t know about you, but I want my home to feel welcoming to guests. A welcoming home means that friends and family will feel more comfortable during a visit and may even mean that they will be anticipating their next stay! While every room in the home can be decorated to feel inviting, the best place to start is actually outside, since the front porch is the first “room” guests will see. Here are some of my favorite ideas for welcoming guests into a home:

Porch_Livingroomset_Club-4

Offer a seat

I like to think of the front porch as being an outdoor living room, where you can socialize with close friends and family while enjoying the nice weather. A porch swing is a popular choice for kids and adults alike, but if your space isn’t big enough you can also seat guests on a smaller patio chair.

 

porch blog- rug

Photo credit: Pinterest

Make it cozy with a rug

A rug instantly makes any room I’m in feel more cozy. You probably use a rug to cozy up the living room, so why not do the same for the front porch? A welcome mat can also look inviting, especially if you’re working with limited space.

 

porch blog- lighting 2

Photo credit: Pinterest

Add light for nighttime

It’s hard to create a welcoming vibe when your front porch is completely dark. Plus, evenings are often the best time to enjoy a front porch – when the weather isn’t so hot. Try using a couple of outdoor wall lights to invite guests outdoors.

 

porch blog- painted door

Photo credit: Pinterest

Paint the door

You don’t have to paint the front door to make it welcoming, but I love the idea of a a bright-colored door! If you have a small front porch, this can be an easy way to add color and style without cluttering the area.

 

porch blog- final touches

Photo credit: Pinterest

Complete the look with a few final touches

A couple of potted plants, a few accent pillows on your swinging chair and a hanging sign on the door – these types of finishing touches are perfect for tying the welcoming look together.

Does your front porch invite people into your home? If not, try out a few of these welcoming ideas!

By Wendy Weinert

5 Ideas for Hosting an Outdoor Movie Night

5 Ideas for Hosting an Outdoor Movie Night

Kara Paslay Designs

It’s your turn to host movie night this month. Are you ready to put a new spin on your monthly tradition? Taking your movie night outdoors is an easy way to change things up and offer a new experience to guests. To make the evening enjoyable for everyone, keep these helpful tips in mind while planning the event.

5 Ideas for Hosting an Outdoor Movie Night

1. Let guests help pick the movie

You might like horror films or romantic comedies, but that doesn’t mean your guests like the same ones. Let your friends have some input regarding what movie you watch by compiling a list of suggestions and asking them to pick their top three. Then you can pick the movie (or movies) with the most votes.

5 Ideas for Hosting an Outdoor Movie Night

2. Prepare snacks and refreshments

Go with the classic movie-theater snack by making popcorn, but flavor it with fun toppings like paprika or chili powder for a unique twist. When handing out refreshments, offer them in closed bottles to prevent spills and to keep bugs from contaminating the water or soda.

5 Ideas for Hosting an Outdoor Movie Night

3. Provide comfortable seating

It’s hard to enjoy a movie when you’re constantly shifting to get comfortable. If you have outdoor chairs, add a cushion or pillow to make the seat comfier for guests. If your seating area is in the grass, you can use plush blankets instead.

5 Ideas for Hosting an Outdoor Movie Night

4. Keep everyone warm

As the sun drops, so will the temperature. Help your friends stay warm by sitting around a fire pit and providing spare blankets for everyone. You can then use the fire pit to make s’mores for dessert!

5 Ideas for Hosting an Outdoor Movie Night

5. Add light

A fire pit may be all the light you need, but if the fire dies out you’ll need to rely on a different light source. Your outdoor lighting should be soft so everyone can still see the movie. Consider an outdoor lamp or use landscape lighting to illuminate your outdoor space.

Hosting a movie night outdoors isn’t hard, but it can be an uncomfortable experience without the right setup. Use these ideas to start a new tradition and host an unforgettable movie night outdoors.

By Wendy Weinert

5 solutions for common outdoor patio problems

5 solutions for common outdoor patio problems

During the spring and summer months, there’s nothing better than relaxing on your patio or porch. Don’t let your outdoor oasis be spoiled, however, when a swarm of mosquitoes crashes the party or your neighbors decide to argue loudly next door. Enjoy the outdoors this season more fully by setting up your space to fix these five common annoyances.

5 solutions for common outdoor patio problems

1. Noise

It’s hard to enjoy socializing with friends when all you hear are cars driving by or the TV playing in a neighboring house. Eliminate some of that noise with noise of your own. A decorative wind chime is relaxing and will provide sounds you actually want to hear.

Tips for improving your outdoor space

2. Bugs

Nothing is worse than having to swat at bugs the entire time you’re outside. Besides spraying yourself with bug repellent, you can keep the bugs away by not wearing perfume, removing any standing water around the area (for example, rainwater left in an empty bucket) and lighting a citronella candle. If you have a porch, consider installing an outdoor fan, which also keeps biting bugs away.

5 solutions for common outdoor patio problems

3. Harsh sunlight 

During the winter all we wish for is the sun. But then the summer comes and the sun shines a little too bright. Prevent sunburn by incorporating shade into your outdoor space. There are lots of ways to add shade. You can use a simple trick like an umbrella or cloth canopy, or you can build your own shade in the form of an outdoor gazebo or arbor.

5 solutions for common outdoor patio problems

4. No light

After the sun goes down, you won’t have to worry about getting sunburned, but you will have to worry about being able to see. Depending on where your outdoor space is located, you can consider wall lights, lamps, landscape lighting or ambient lighting placed underneath furniture.

5. Heat/cold

During the day you might be too hot, but when it starts to get dark you might feel chilly. Combat both problems by installing an outdoor ceiling fan and setting up an outdoor heater in your patio. An extra supply of blankets will also come in handy at night and shade will help you stay cool, especially if you can’t hang up a fan.

You’ve spent a lot of time setting up your outdoor space, so why not enjoy it? Keep the annoyances away with these five solutions, and spend this season soaking up the fresh air!

By Wendy Weinert

Entertain in style with these outdoor patio decorating tips

After months of cold weather and snow, spring has finally arrived, and soon you can put that outdoor patio space to good use. Outdoor patios are the perfect place for entertaining during the warm spring and summer months – all you need is the right furniture, décor and these three helpful tips:

Entertain in style with these outdoor patio decorating tips

1. Arrange your space to match the occasion

Will your patio be used for afternoon cook-outs or for sophisticated dinners during the evening? Maybe your outdoor space will be a place where friends and family can simply gather for conversation and to enjoy the sunshine. Before you start browsing patio furniture, consider the different ways you might use your outdoor space so you can create a comfortable environment to match the style of entertaining you prefer.

Entertain in style with these outdoor patio decorating tips

Photo credit: Kate Byer Interior Design

2. Don’t forget about the lighting

While the sun can light up your space during the day, you’ll need outdoor lighting for evening entertaining so your guests can see each other! Make sure to set up the proper outdoor lighting so you can use your patio any time of the day. If you don’t have an outdoor electrical outlet, solar or candle-filled lanterns will also do the trick.

Entertain in style with these outdoor patio decorating tips

3. Add comfort with decorative pillows

Let’s face it – outdoor patio furniture is never going to be as comfortable as that plush sofa in your living room. That doesn’t mean, however, that you have to suffer hard chairs or benches. Use accent pillows for décor and to add comfort around the outdoor patio area. You can even use a large pillow as an extra seat if you run out of chairs!

Entertain in style with these outdoor patio decorating tips

Photo credit: La Dolce Vita

4. Make the most of the space you have

If your patio is small, simply work with what you have and find ways to maximize your space. For example, you can set up furniture around the perimeter of your space to provide room for movement and mingling. If your space is primarily for conversation, simply bunch furniture closer together to create a more intimate and cozy experience.

Don’t let the warm weather go to waste. With these tips in mind, you can set up your outdoor patio and enjoy months of entertaining fun!

By Wendy Weinert