We’re all looking to relax more and always want to find a way to kick back by taking some time out to unwind. If a vacation isn’t on the cards, our home is the space we look to spend quality time in. Looking outside to the yard or the lawn, there’s an area which we wander out into from time to time – but forget that it could be an incredible, natural extension of our living space. No matter how large or small, upgrading our outdoor space can make a huge difference to the way we live, so here are8 items you really need to ensure you can put your feet up, unwind and truly appreciate time with your family.

1. Start with your green thumb

The easiest place to start is with plants to make the space look generally Whether it’s a wraparound balcony or a huge homestead, a combination of foliage and flowers in pots can add scent, shade, and all-year-round color. The choice is endless, so it’s about what catches your eye – small blooms in neat rows, trailing greenery hung from above or ready-grown large potted palms; go with what you really like. Remember to consider how much water they will need and where they’ll be happiest in the daily sun. Remember to complement the garden furniture with color-palette coordinated containers, too.

2. Accessorize, accessorize, accessorize

Being outdoors doesn’t mean you have to furnish it as if you’ve gone on a camping trip. You can be as comfortable outside as in; plush chairs, rugs to divide spaces and lots of colorful cushions can enhance the surrounding environment. You can buy hard-wearing furnishings made from polypropylene or synthetic textiles; some fabrics are available in fade-resistant fibers. All-weather sofas are now available in designs which are just like the ones indoors, and all you need to do is cover during bad weather.

3. Maintain your privacy

We all like to feel the sun on our backs but at the same time don’t want the neighbors too close. Use outdoor curtains to create an enclosed sunbathing spot or invest in some wooden lattice and some quick-growing plants. Vines are great to grow to ensure there are no prying eyes; honeysuckle gives a beautiful evening scent.

4. Time for entertainment

It’s the day of the big game on TV, but the sun is out, and you don’t want to watch it inside but also don’t want to miss a minute. No problem – bring your TV outside and cheer on your favorite team while catching some rays. Don’t worry about it being damaged by rain, cold weather or even a mis-kicked soccer ball, fit The TV Shield over the screen, and it will be protected. This outdoor TV cabinet is anti-glare, frost-resistant and tamper proof. Ideal for plasma or LED TVs, and fits over any model from 40-80”, it has been proven to last 20 years and still be as clear as the day it was purchased.

5. Time for dinner

There’s every chance you’ve already got a BBQ but looking at it with a critical eye, it’s a bit sad and tarnished and you know it doesn’t stand up to cooking a great steak. Upgrade to a unit which not only does the job but looks stylish, too. If you’ve got the space, invest in a charcoal BBQ with multi-level grills, food preparation side arms and cast iron grates which will evenly spread the heat.

6. BBQ add-ons

Your upgraded BBQ will mean you cook like a professional so why not add the extra wow factor with some accessories. A smoker is an amazing add-on and will create that authentic Texan taste and smell. You can buy a pizza stone which sits on many BBQ styles, great for a quick Four Seasons snack while you wait for the burgers. Ensure you have enough crockery and cutlery to hand with a BBQ storage cupboard. Sturdy and built for outside, it’s easy to move around the garden as it stands on castors.

7. Outside all-year round

Once summer turns to fall, don’t think you have to pack your garden away for another year. You can enjoy the end of year sunsets and stay warm by investing in a fire pit or chiminea. Just fill with wood, light it and wait for the orange glow to fill the garden with heat. You can even buy gas table-top fire pits if you’re limited on space. Don’t think you have to retreat indoors; you too can continue to enjoy long, lazy evenings relishing the company of family and friends outside.

8. Express your personality in your furniture

Sitting outdoors doesn’t mean rickety fold-up chairs and uncomfortable bench seats. Garden furniture has as many choices as for your living room, and you can opt for items which reflect aspects of you. There are soft-cushion sofas, enveloping hammocks, squashy bean bags and a whole range of benches, bistro sets, and sunloungers; upgrade with style and bring out the creative side of you in your garden space.

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