Outdoor living is hotter than ever – in more ways than one – and creating spaces that are not only functional but also downright enjoyable is the goal of most homeowners today. While there are so many fun activities in the South Bend area to enjoy in the summer (boating, golfing, Lake Michigan beaches, wineries, and South Bend Cubs games just to name a few!), nothing beats relaxing on your own patio at end of the day or enjoying a morning cup of coffee on the weekend in your own outdoor oasis. Below are Irish Realty’s top tips for maximizing your home’s outdoor space this summer:



When thinking about what type of seating makes sense for your area, ask yourself a few questions: Does it need to be kid friendly? Will you use it for large family parties or small, informal get togethers? Or do you want a relaxing oasis where adults can sit and sip drinks?

Create a comfortable, colorful outdoor space with weather-friendly furniture and accessories. The best weatherproof tables have easy-to-wipe tops, such as glass on all-weather wicker or an enamel-finish wood.

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Shade is your best friend during the summer months! If you don’t have shade trees to block the sun during peak hours, consider an awning, canopy, or large table umbrella. If you have a covered outdoor living space with a ceiling that’s sturdy and an electrical outlet nearby, installing an outdoor cooling fan is a good idea. Outdoor cooling fans are a patio cooling option that creates a nice, cool breeze in the summer heat.

Another tip is to keep your grill area away from your lounge area. Moving your heat-producing barbecue equipment to another shady area of your yard, away from your outdoor seating area, will make a world of difference on a scalding hot day

Planting your own garden may help to battle the summer heat in your backyard! Surprisingly enough, outdoor plants can actually slightly lower the temperature in your yard. Most plants release water vapors, cooling the air surrounding them.


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Choose either calming or vibrant colors, depending on your desired effect. Plants and flowers are an easy addition to round out your space. Add a wooden square lattice wall to one side of your deck to create the illusion of a wall. Plants like clematis and climbing roses will grow up a lattice, and after a few years, they’ll form a fragrant wall of blooms.

A popular way to add greenery is to form a living privacy screen with a trio of head-high planters. Stand the matching plantings side by side along an edge of your deck to gain privacy and put lush greenery within reach.

Focusing on one or two colors will add a unifying feel to your decor. A collection of bright and cushy pillows will  help you reiterate your deck’s decorating scheme. Choose outdoor fabrics in cheery coordinating colors for easy-to-sew pillow covers; spray with a washable protectant to help them shrug off moisture and stains. A bright pop of color is the fastest way to enliven your deck. Add a firepit in the middle for cool summer nights and you won’t be able to leave the deck all season!

Don’t forget – Decks aren’t just for daytime. Add strategically placed lights around your deck to set the mood with illumination as the sun sets. String lights are very popular right now. Pretty string lights are the cherry on top of a perfectly decorated patio. With outdoor string lights, you can provide ambient lighting in your yard, creating a relaxing space for your family and friends to hang out. No matter your needs, there are plenty of outdoor string lights on the market today. You can choose from regular plug-in, battery-operated, or solar-power models, as well as different styles of bulbs, from large globes to twinkling fairy lights and everything in between. Plus, many outdoor string lights are incredibly affordable, making them a fun and budget-friendly way to spruce up your outdoor living space.

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And what’s more relaxing than enjoying a delicious and refreshing beverage in the summer? We love this recipe from our home staging and design partner, Designed to Flourish!

Grapefruit Ice Tea:
4 cups of green tea
1 grapefruit
1 lemon
1 lime
3 sprigs fresh mint
4 tbsp honey (or to taste)
To make it a sangria, add:
1 bottle dry white wine (750ml)
1/4 cup vodka (4 tbsp. Optional)
prosecco or sparkling water (optional)
Garnish with sliced grapefruit and blueberries!

We hope these tips were helpful! Enjoy!

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