Feeling that your yard is just a little too basic? You aren’t alone.
"No matter what the size outdoor space, whether it’s a small balcony, a patio or a grand Gold Coast estate, people are treating their outdoors as a room and they want to zhush it up," says Karen Musgrave, the marketing coordinator at Hicks Nurseries in Westbury. "Over the past year and a half, people took stock in how much fun and happiness you can have at home while staying safe, and realized that you don’t have to go out to have a good time."
And now she says, "Our customers want to make it even better. To some people, it means keeping it in the style of the house. Others might try to reinterpret a past vacation and some people see it as an opportunity to try something different." The beauty of it all is that you can do a little or a lot. "A planter with a palm plant and a base of petunias at the bottom," can be a simple way to liven up a space says Musgrave.
Outdoor pillows add an enhanced design element, and says Musgrave, "if you have a little more space add a bistro set and an outdoor rug." These have become almost totally resistant to the elements, offer loads of color and design options and create a designated grounding area for furniture.
Other popular outdoor upgrades include firepits, almost a must-have this season, which encourage gatherings, mood-setting lighting, and, says Musgrave, "Even outdoor art that people hang on the exterior walls of their homes."
How to make the most of what outdoor space you’ve got? Here are some ideas:
Gather round: Hottest accessories of the season are fire features such as this propane-fueled fire pit that creates a warm setting for sitting around and shooting the breeze; $249 at wayfair.com.
Pillow talk: Pretty pillows add color and comfort to outdoor environments and can be randomly scattered. This set of six covers (insert not included) is available for $47.95 at Wayfair.com.
Sitting pretty: Clean-lined wicker patio love seat features a rust-resistant frame and comfy outdoor fabric cushion — a perfect add to your outdoor gathering space; $420 at Target and target.com
Dress it up: A table setting like this one can turn even the simplest outdoor table into a work of art and these gingham accent plates ($29 for four) with coordinating scalloped dinner plates ($39 for four) offer the elegance of china but are melamine — light and shatterproof, at Ballard Designs in Garden City or ballarddesigns.com.
Add interest to your outdoor space with a sculptural wind spinner such as this joyful piece, which uses the power of the wind to create a movable art; $140 at Heritage Farm and Garden in East Norwich.
The multitasker: Ceramic stools in vivid colors can be used for extra outdoor seating, as cocktail tables or even as plant stands; $80 at Heritage Farm and Garden in East Norwich.
Movie night: Home movies or first-run feature flicks — your choice with this full-size outdoor screen that comes with everything you need to assemble it including a portable storage bag. You bring the projector and of course, the popcorn; $299 at Pottery Barn, Huntington and Riverhead and potterybarn.com.
String light setup: Dine under the twinkle of Edison bulb indoor-outdoor string lights ($79-$99) cleverly attached to outdoor table string light posts to set the scene; $99 at Pottery Barn, Huntington and Riverhead and potterybarn.com.
Spiritual statue: Create a peaceful respite in your outdoor space with a decorative statue such as this baby Buddha; $149 at Hick’s Nurseries in Westbury.
Light by lantern: A battery operated candle (sold separately) encased in a wooden lantern can add ambient light and charm to your outdoor set up; $34.99 at Hick’s Nurseries in Westbury.
Chime time: Wind chimes such as this beachy shell and sea glass version do double duty both as a decoration and can help mute outside noise with its lovely, harmonic sound; $48 at Madison’s Niche in Huntington Village, Garden City, Sayville and Stony Brook or madisonsniche.com.
Pretty platter: Set out snacks on this fun dishwasher-safe, scratch and break-resistant melamine oval platter with its cheerful nod to Long Island; $14 at Madison’s Niche in Huntington Village, Garden City, Sayville and Stony Brook or madisonsniche.com.
Home game: Let the good times roll with this yard dice set that features six jumbo dice and a packable storage bag along with a dry erase board and marker for keeping score during one of 50 game variations that will amp up backyard fun; $29.99 by Beyond Outdoors at Target and target.com.
Heavenly hammock: This rust-resistant hanging rope "hammock chair" offers the gentle sway of a full-on hammock but takes up less space and adds a touch of Boho with decorative tassels. Great for balconies, decks and patios; $65 by Opalhouse at Target and target.com.
Underfoot: Summerize and ground your outdoor space with indoor-outdoor area rugs that are sturdy enough to handle the elements and pretty enough to add a homey touch to a patio, balcony or yard. This graphic palm print by Beachcrest is $24.99 at Wayfair.com.