Javascript is not enabled.

Javascript must be enabled to use this site. Please enable Javascript in your browser and try again.

Skip to content
Content starts here
Leaving Website

You are now leaving and going to a website that is not operated by AARP. A different privacy policy and terms of service will apply.

5 Ways To Spruce Up Your Outdoor Decor This Summer

Create a backyard space that feels like another room

spinner image Modern designed terrace with wicker furniture and plants
iStock / Getty Images

Gone are the days when nice backyard decor was simply a picnic table on a patio. In recent years homeowners have been turning the areas behind their houses into fully designed and stocked outdoor living rooms. With recent stay-at-home orders, it's certainly a trend that makes good sense. Here's how to make your deck or yard a more inviting (and durable) destination.

1. Choose your spot

Every yard has its power spot, the place where you naturally want to be. Often it's the section closest to your interior living space, since it makes for easy indoor-outdoor flow, says Allison Messner, cofounder of Yardzen, an online landscape-design platform. But it also could be where the view is loveliest or the shade is the most consistent. Wherever it is, that's where you want your outdoor room.

spinner image Image Alt Attribute

AARP Membership— $12 for your first year when you sign up for Automatic Renewal

Get instant access to members-only products and hundreds of discounts, a free second membership, and a subscription to AARP the Magazine.

Join Now

2. Select your seating

Avoid high-maintenance materials such as teak or heavy pieces made of iron. Instead, get a material like powder-coated aluminum, which will stay cool and is durable. Add removable cushions that you can store in a shed or in your home. Choose furniture that's sturdy, with arms you can grab and a strong back for support. “A lot of people need stability getting into and out of a seat as they get older,” notes Todd Haiman, a landscape designer based in New York City.

3. Furnish the space like a room

Tie it together with side tables and a weatherproof outdoor rug. Look for solid neutral colors such as grays or browns. “Go for as simple and as chic as possible,” says Greenwich, Connecticut, landscape architect Janice Parker. Unless your space has natural shade, you'll need coverings. A cantilevered umbrella allows for more open movement, reducing tripping hazards; it also provides a wide area of shade.

4. Create ambience

Light paths and walkways with solar lights spiked into the ground. Then light sitting areas with solar lanterns that hang from above or sit on a table. String Edison bulbs along a trellis to create a festive mood. Add music with a portable waterproof Bluetooth speaker. Instead of a fire pit, opt for a fire table, where guests can enjoy a campfire without sitting so close to the ground. Or buy a heat lamp to extend your season into the fall.

5. Don't forget plants and foliage

This is the outdoors, after all. Decorate with large planters of flowering annuals, setting them on tables or pedestals so you can tend to them without crouching. Choose low-maintenance plants, such as marigolds, petunias and zinnias, and cluster the containers to make watering easier. “You're supposed to enjoy your time and not be working,” Haiman adds. To reach hanging plants, use a wand attachment on your hose, rather than climbing a stepladder, to reduce the risk of falls.

Navigating the New Normal of Small Outdoor Gatherings

Discover AARP Members Only Access

Join AARP to Continue

Already a Member?