Outdoor Living

Creative ideas and cool products to help you turn your yard into an inviting oasis for family fun and festive gatherings.


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Outdoor Living

Outdoor Living

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This classic Americana-style picnic table, with its X-shaped legs and separate benches, is roomy enough for six adults. It's rated Easy as a DIY project and should cost you about $250 for the cedar and take about two days to build with our instructions.

Use colored glass to get your fire pit glowing: Put lava rock on the embers, then a mesh screen, and top with colorful fire glass from The Custom Fire Place (thecustomfireplac...) for a glittery flame with some extra special sparkle.

Building this lovely Water Wall Fountain isn't a job for novice DIYers. But if you can handle a table saw, the instructions from The Interior Frugalista should be easy enough to follow. And how great is this?

As an alternative to a freestanding pergola, this slatted ceiling covers an open deck, using mature, sturdy tree trunks as supports.

Fire-pit trick for your next backyard party: Stop mosquitoes from annoying you by throwing a couple sage sticks into the flames. You'll like the scent, but the mosquitoes will bug out.

This nylon parachute silk blanket has corner pockets that you can stake down or fill with sand or rocks to keep the blanket from flying away.Grand Trunk Parasheet (about $40 at L.L. Bean).

Planning a cookout? Turn off the sprinklers. Avoid a soggy lawn by tapering off watering two to three days before hosting a backyard party.

The ThermaCELL Mosquito Repellent Patio Lantern (about $20 at The Home Depot) keeps mosquitoes, no-see-ums and black flies away within a 225-square-foot area. The lantern runs on batteries, so there's no worry about having to plug them in.

Perfect for outdoor entertaining or a day at the beach, the 72-ounce AUTOSEAL Pitcher Set (about $30 at Contigo) automatically seals itself after you use it, so even if it falls over, it won't spill—and also keeps bugs out. The BPA-free pitcher also comes with an ice core and an infuser stick.

Fix it now: Pay particular attention to branches hanging near the grill station—they could pose a hazard if the flame erupts.

This sunny yellow lantern will light up your summer nights and maybe attract a few fireflies. It's 10 inches tall and comes in a variety of colors. | Hurricane lantern by Sunnylife | sunnylife.com

By working with the landscape rather than fighting it with an earthmover, you can turn a flaw into a design element. Here, a steep rise presented an opportunity for an intimate patio buttressed by a multilevel sitting wall. Click here to watch a video on how to build your own round patio ringed by a sitting wall.

Jenna of Jenna Sue Design built this rolling bar cart with a removable tray using Ana White plans. Nice!

An outdoor rug can cover a worn or unremarkable surface while also adding warmth, color, and an indoor touch. This rug echoes the vibrant hues of the annual blooms nearby. Similar to shown: Koko Company Melange 6-by-8-foot Indoor/Outdoor Floor Mat in Tutti Frutti Red Mix, about $100; Hayneedle.com

There's no reason you can't relive the kiddie pool parties of your youth! Set up a bounce house, some large kiddie pools, a ball pit, and an ice cream station, and get ready for fun.

Strands of bulbs powered by the sun are an easy way to light up a far-flung garden room. A solar panel staked in the ground harvests enough energy for 6 to 8 hours of illumination. Add a candle chandelier to enhance the mood. Solar String Lights with 200 bulbs, about $40; Plow and Hearth. Wrought Iron 6 Arm Candle Chandelier with Bird Cage, about $40; Amazon.com

A 12-foot-long outdoor kitchen handcrafted of construction-grade Douglas Fir is just one of many fabulous features in this fabulous garden retreat. Take the tour at thehorticult.com and you won't be disappointed!

How to turn your yard into a firefly haven and recapture your childhood excitement of seeing these treasured insects light up the night sky.

An ornate metal structure evokes a Victorian-era English country garden and offers a romantic prefab option for a backyard room. Similar to shown: Lattice Pavilion made of powder-coated steel in a hammered-bronze finish, about $1,800; Garden.com

Re-create the magic of an old drive-in movie theater in your own backyard without spending major bucks on fancy equipment. Here's how to set one up

How to make a non-toxic bug repellent luminary in a mason jar via The Snug

  • Lucy Uvalle
    Lucy Uvalle

    Awesome

Create your own--very cool-looking--bug-repelling tiki torches with wine bottles, tiki fuel, 3/8" washers and tiki wicks.

Many people keep chickens as pets in their backyards, but there are considerations to keep in mind—for the health of the birds and your landscaping—when outfitting a chicken coop. Here's the science behind what needs to go in your backyard chicken coop