Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Top Ten Summer Must-Haves/Do's

As the weather continues to heat up here in Austin, I start thinking of ways to make our summer here great!  It is often difficult to think of anything other than the scorching temperatures and blood sucking mosquitoes, but I think there are some ways to make the outdoors more practical/useful during the hot months here.  I started a little top 10 list to share what I've been thinking will enhance our back yard and encourage the use of it a little more, until the ultimate dream patio can be accomplished.  Until then, we have to save our pennies and make smaller investments to achieve backyard bliss.  I'm kind of seeing this as a to-do list of sorts.   Feel free to click on the below images for more information.

1.  Create a Potting Shed
I love the idea of finding an old armoire or cabinet from the thrift store or yard sale to convert to a useable potting shed in the back yard.  You could also use it to store grilling tools (we need this desperately)! 

2.  Create Shade
The main thing that is absolutely necessary here in central Texas is SHADE.  I came across this image and thought it was a playful interpretation of the summer umbrella!  You could easily string up a few umbrellas to create a special shade spot in the back yard.  

3.  Create Fun
I feel that the above photo also falls into this category but I think a tee pee is super fun.  I can't wait to build one for Vivienne.  I love the idea of having one inside in the play room, but one outside could be awesome.  

4.  Create Cool
We saw these kits at Sam's club one weekend to cool down your outdoor space with mist.  The technique works pretty well here if it's coupled with a nice breeze. 

5.  Create Comfort
I love a good adirondack chair, and these come in a couple of different styles and a variety of fun colors.  They are great on a deck or just hanging out on the lawn which is what we have in place of the deck...for now. 

6.  Create Protection
I mentioned the blood sucking mosquitoes...well the term Texas-size is fitting for these pesky critters.  They are ginormous here and will eat you up.  You can purchase citronella oil to put in tiki torches and it works pretty well.  I like this idea of bracing the torches in tall flower cans and you can place them where ever you deem appropriate, in our case, covering the entire yard!

7.  Create Weatherproofing
I found some amazing oil cloth fabrics that are a far cry from the old school stuff used to make table cloths.  Fabric designers like Amy Butler has some beautiful examples.  I would love to make outdoor pillows to put on a few Adirondack chairs and not worry about them when the random rain storm hits.

8.  Create Flair
I have always loved stringed outdoor lights and the soft lighting it provides a space at night.  But this idea of adding embellishments to your everyday sting of lights is a great idea to make a festive occasion feel extra special. 

9.  Create Ambiance
We have an umbrella for our outdoor table in the backyard, but at night it basically defeats the purpose to have it up, unless you use it to hang lights from.  I like how you can throw a bunch of different lanterns up to create a casual look, or all the same for a more streamlined look.  You can also use citronella candles for added mosquito protection.


10.  Create Entertainment
Our neighborhood along with other public parks in Austin offer movies in the park during the summer months.  I think it's a great idea and even better if it's right outside your back door.  It would surely make that Friday night Netflix that much cooler at our house. 

That's it for our little summer top ten...how about you?  Are there any fun things you are going to do to whip your outdoor space into shape for the summer?

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