How to Get Your Outdoor Living Spaces Summer-Ready

We have some summer gatherings coming up so I’m going to share with you what I’m doing to get my outdoor living spaces summer-ready.

After being under feet of snow all winter and then the mess of planting season, my outdoor areas need a facelift. After a good cleaning, I add some fun accessories.

Greenhouse Sink Area

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What Does Outdoor Living Mean

You might be wondering, what does outdoor living mean? For us who live in a small house, outdoor living is extending our living spaces outdoors to areas where we can relax and entertain in the warmer months.

Typical Outdoor Spaces

  • Patio
  • Deck
  • Porch
  • Gazebo or Screened in Porch
  • Firepits

More Unique Outdoor Spaces

  • Outdoor Living Room
  • Swimming Pool
  • Fireplace
  • Outdoor Kitchen
  • Greenhouse or SheShed
  • Water Features/Gardens
  • Outdoor Bar
Living on the River

How to Decorate Your Outdoor Spaces

I think first and foremost you want to create a comfortable seating area in any outdoor living space whether it’s a tiny porch or a large deck.

It can be anything from a comfy Adirondack chair to Modular outdoor living room furniture.

Once you’ve created your space then you can use these things to decorate your space and make it your own:

  • Throw Pillows
  • Blanket Throws
  • Rugs
  • Lighting
  • Plants
  • Flower Pots
  • Artwork
  • Architectural Salvage

I try to find things that can withstand being outdoors. Using indoor-outdoor fabric and products is a great way to do that.

Cozy Corner of the Outdoor Living Room

Our Outdoor Spaces

Because we live in a very small home, we use our outdoor space as much as we possibly can. We also live on the water so it makes it all the more conducive to outdoor entertaining. We have an outdoor living area complete with a fireplace and TV. Our outdoor kitchen is amazing. It houses two different grills, a sink, an ice maker, an outdoor refrigerator and it even has an outdoor blender. Margarita’s anyone?

Our outdoor urban farm area has a greenhouse, chicken coop, and a fenced-in vegetable garden and herb garden. The perimeter of our backyard is surrounded by perennial beds. Our front yard is one huge shade garden.

If you are one of my loyal followers, you know that our daughter got married in our backyard in 2021.

Summer Greenhouse

Welcome the Greenhouse

Let’s start in the greenhouse because that has always been one of my favorite places to decorate. The greenhouse is a utilitarian space in the spring and then we turn it into a fun little space for the summer and fall months. It was a bar for a wedding and an engagement party.

It’s a great place to sneak into if we have rain. In the fall it’s a place to warm up if it’s chilly outside.

After planting season, the space needs to be completely cleaned out, and then I style it with vintage garden tools, some old stools, and an old drop-leaf table that I can open up for more seating.

Filled with many plants and flowers, this space is magical at night with lots of candles.

Our Favorite Outdoor Space – The Living Room

Our outdoor living room gets used from April through November. With the help of a roaring fire and infrared heating lamps, we keep the space toasty even in cold weather.

I change out the throw pillows depending on the season or occasion. When we re-did this space, I chose navy and white as I knew that many colors can complement that color scheme. Some well-placed throw blankets also enhance the coziness of the space. Who doesn’t love to have a soft blanket over your lap for coffee in the morning or a cocktail at night? Additionally, plants, candles, and cut flowers add so much to this space.

Most of my outdoor furniture and accessories are things that I’ve found on Facebook Marketplace and just given them a facelift.

Outdoor Living Room
Outdoor Living Fireplace

Outdoor Kitchen

Our outdoor kitchen is actually the second outdoor kitchen that “Handy” has built for our home. When the second outdoor kitchen turned out to be nicer than the kitchen I had inside the house; a complete indoor kitchen remodel happened shortly thereafter.

We use our outdoor kitchen all year long. Because the door from our indoor kitchen is just steps away, we can use our grills even in the snow. I believe “Handy’s” record for grilling is 4 degrees below. Like the indoor kitchen, it seems to be a place where people gather. We have plenty of counter space and an island so serving food and pouring a drink is a breeze in this space.

I also use the outdoor kitchen for canning and preserving. We can blanch our veggies on the two-burner stove and I use the island for filling jars. Unlike inside, I just hose down the mess when I’m finished. How convenient is that?

Preserving Food in Outdoor Kitchen

Watching My Garden Grow

I consider my gardens to be part of my outdoor living space. They are the backdrop for every space in our yard.

Spending time tending to my gardens is not only fulfilling, but it’s also therapeutic for me. The bounty we get from our veggie garden is healthy and organic. I know exactly how it was grown. There is something special about being able to feed your family with the fruits of your labor in the yard.

Veggie Garden

Living on the River

When you live on the water, there really isn’t a bad place to be on a nice day whether it’s having coffee on my swing in the morning or entertaining neighbors or friends who pull up by boat.

If you have a large yard or a small porch, with a little imagination, you can create a cozy, comfortable outdoor living space.

Peace and Love,

Meet Me

My name is Lynn. I live in the suburbs of Chicago in a 1,300 sq. ft. home with my Handy husband, Keith.

I’m an open book about my life on my blog. You can find out more about me by visiting my About page.

This post was originally part of the Spring into Summer House Tour hosted by Kristi of French Creek Farmhouse.

You can visit the homes of the other participants of this home tour by clicking on the links below.

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  1. This is such a beautiful place to get married! I love the view and all the special touches you’ve added around your greenhouse and outdoor living area too. I know you’ll be busy over the next few months but the memories you make will be extra special and totally worth it. Happy spring, CoCo

    1. This fun home tour has actually helped me to get things done and I’m ahead of schedule so I’m grateful for that. It will all turn out great! Thanks for the kind words and its great being on this “hop” with you.

  2. Lynn, Your back yard is absolutely gorgeous! And on a lake?! Everything thing looks amazing. I love the barrel vault ceiling on your patio. The wedding is going to be spectacular.
    Blessings to you.

    1. Renae – Again, I so appreciate all of your encouraging words. I’m so lucky to have such a talented group of women along with me on this journey!
      Blessing to you too!

  3. Your outdoor space is beautiful! I can’t wait to see pictures of how you set it up for the wedding. What a lovely setting for your daughter!
    Fun “hopping” with you!
    Niky @ The House on Silverado

    1. Hi Niky –
      Fun “hopping” with you too! There is so much inspiration and great ideas. I’ve gotten through about 1/2 of the blogs. I can’t wait to finish the rest this afternoon.

      Thanks so much for the kind words.

  4. Leslie Watkins says:

    What a beautiful outdoors you have, friend! I am swooning over that outdoor kitchen!! Can’t wait to see those photos to capture that wedding!

    1. Thank you, my friend! I just hope that the vision I have in my head will all come to fruition. I’m getting nervous!

  5. Wow, Lynn! Your outdoor living spaces are a dream! The view of the water must be incredible to see from day to day throughout the changing seasons. And I absolutely love the idea of turning your greenhouse into the bar for your daughter’s wedding–that’s brilliant! It’s such a charming space, and I’m jealous that you get to baby your plants like that. I hope we’ll be building one someday too! I love everything you’ve done, and I can’t wait to see how you decorate for the wedding! xo, Kristi

    1. Hi Kristi –
      Thanks for putting all of this together. I know it’s a lot of hard work and very much appreciated. It is fun living on the water. It’s like you are in a vacation home all year long. The greenhouse is lots of fun. It’s the newest addition to our outside spaces.

      I hope that my vision for the wedding turns out the way it is in my head! I will definately be documenting.

  6. What a beautiful place to live! We are getting ready to start building an outdoor kitchen at the lake so I am pinning your post for inspiration. I am so glad to be participating on this tour with you.

    1. Hi Sherry – We love the outdoor kitchen and use it so much. Happy to be on the tour with you too. I only got through about half of the posts and then had to jump on a Zoom call. I will finish the rest this afternoon. So much inspiration and ideas!

  7. Kari Wagner Hoban says:

    Your outdoor living space is beautiful! I especially love the greenhouse! I cannot wait to see pictures from your backyard wedding. 🙂

    1. Hi Kari –
      The greenhouse is fun. I will definitely be sharing (at nauseam) all of the wedding process. We have a great photographer who will be here so I’m sure my pictures will be amazing. Thanks for following my blog. I need to catch up on a few of your podcasts!

  8. Kim | Shiplap and Shells says:

    I seriously got lost in this post Lynn. Everything about your outdoor spaces is incredible. I wish I could have a way to add a fireplace and outdoor kitchen to our outdoor living space. I know what you mean about really taking advantage of the outdoors with a smaller house on the water. Just beautiful my friend. I want to hang out in your greenhouse!

    1. Thanks, Kim for the love! Coming from you makes me feel great as you are one of my hero’s and I want to hang out in your yard 🙂

    1. Thank you Jennifer – This was such a fun project and the jump start I needed to be on top of my yard for our daughter’s wedding in June.

  9. Mary Anne Russo says:

    A beautiful area! I’m sure you spend lovely times with your family! I Love the outdoor kitchen!

    1. Thank Mary Anne – We love living here and we know we are blessed to have such a fun outdoor space.

  10. Your outdoor space is amazing! I love the greenhouse and outdoor kitchen! Plus that view of the river is dreamy! Thanks so much for sharing. Good luck with all of the wedding preparations!

    1. Thanks Katy – It’s a fun place to live. I won’t lie, I’m getting a little nervous. Lots to do and we are getting down to the wire with a few weekends taken up with necessary out-of-town events. But it will all come together and I can’t wait to show the pictures!

  11. This is GORGEOUS, Your outdoor spaces look both beautiful and comfortable! I cannot wait to see how you style it for the wedding. My daughter got married in our backyard in 2019, and the memories we made here at home were so very special. It gave our entire family deeper ties to the house.

    1. Thank you so much Libbie – We got married here too so there is so much sentiment already tied to this house. Our girls don’t want us to ever sell it. Hopefully, it can always be a summer home for them.

  12. Wow Lynn, your entire outdoor space is amazing! It must be idyllic to live right on the water! I can imagine how memorable your daughters wedding will be!

    1. Thank You Cindy – It’s all starting to come together. I’m hoping that it will be the perfect weekend for her and her fiance.

  13. Michelle @ The Painted Hinge says:

    Your outdoor space is gorgeous Lynn! It’s so awesome you have such a lovely outdoor living area so spend your time!

    1. Thank you Michelle – One more week and I can start planting my flowers then it will be coming full circle. It is a lovely place to hang out!

    1. Thanks Melaine – It’s a very fun place to live. We know that we are blessed!

  14. Your outdoor space is so beautiful Lynn! I love your outdoor kitchen we love to cook outside too, Even when it’s raining it’s still wonderful. 🙂

    1. Thanks Tanya – We use the outdoor kitchen all the time. With the roof, we can enjoy it even when the weather isn’t great.

  15. Lynn, you’ve created such a charming and inviting space! I am forever telling my husband about your greenhouse and now I must share your marvelous outdoor kitchen as we talk about Phase 2 of our outdoor space. How smart to use that space for canning! I cannot wait to see how the yard looks for the wedding-/I know it’s going to be stunning!

    1. Thank you Tina! Keith actually built the kitchen himself. He has more outdoor kitchens at his shop in Lake Barrington that I think he is wanting to sell.

  16. Wendy McMonigle says:

    This is just stunning Lynn! There is nothing g better then living on the water and you have created such lovely spaces to sit and enjoy.

    1. Thank you for the kind words Wendy! There are days I would trade the water for a bigger house but not many!

  17. I’m in love with your sweet greenhouse space lady! I hope to have one of my own, someday!

    1. Thank you Jess! I just love my greenhouse. It gives me a whole other room to decorate!

  18. Jennifer Howard says:

    Lynn, Wow, your outdoor kitchen is amazing!! You have such a great outdoor space!!

    1. Thank You so much Jen! We have such a small house that we need to use every bit of our outdoor space. Now I just need to figure out a way to get rid of mosquitoes and deer!:)

  19. Hannah Schlachter says:

    Your outdoor space is total goals! I have a giant backyard that is just grass so this is good inspiration.

    1. Mine was a big yard with just grass too and my house was my husband’s bachelor pad. I’ve been very, very busy for 29 years!

  20. Calypso in the Country says:

    Your outdoor spaces are amazing! From that gorgeous outdoor living room to the views…I imagine you spend a ton of time our there. So relaxing to sit by the water. Thanks for sharing your home!

    1. We do spend a lot of time outside. Just wish we didn’t have mosquitoes 🙂

  21. This outdoor space is so inviting! I love it!

    1. Thank you so much Christin

  22. Everything looks so beautiful! How amazing will it be for a wedding. Love all of your beautiful outdoor spaces and greenhouse.

    1. Thank you Christy – We really enjoy it. I hope that my vision for the wedding turns out the way that I hope!

  23. Jennifer Fancher says:

    WOW! I love your outdoor living area – that fireplace is amazing! Such great tips!

    1. Thanks Jen – We really do love our outdoor space and use it as much as possible.

  24. Wow! Your entire space is gorgeous. What a neat greenhouse and outdoor living space!

    1. Thank you so much Leigh. We really do love and enjoy our outdoor space. I think our weather has finally taken the turn for the better so we will be spending a lot of time outdoors.