It is officially summer, and Utah seemed to take it right to heart and immediately got hotter! Ugh! But luckily we get a dry heat here so at least mornings and nights are nice and cool which means we will still be spending a LOT of time outdoors.
I told you how I have been working on installing a concrete patio when I got the windows replaced a few weeks ago, (we have been missing our Texas Patio like mad!) but I am not quite done. Meanwhile, we have been hanging out on the grass under the MOST glorious apricot tree that has ever lived! With all the construction going on our yard has been in between mess and disaster all summer! I really have been needing to clean it up!
So, I was excited when I got asked to work with Proctor and Gamble and Lowe’s to Go Outside and Shine! Or at least to get out there and shine up my outdoor furniture and space with some great products, then I would get to host a giveaway so one lucky winner can try them too!
Besides generally putting junk away, and corralling kids toys, we especially needed to clean up the chairs that were back there (since most of our outdoor furniture has been in storage since the move). I know you have seen these kinds of chairs we have before, they are just white vinyl chairs, well they used to be white… they were a mess. The truth is that they live outdoor year round and haven’t been scrubbed off in a few years (if ever? since my parents don’t usually use their backyard they were just there in case someone randomly needed a chair). I had my doubts as to whether or not we could even clean them up! But they cleaned up just like new!
And we got a little extra help!
Once we got everything all cleaned up, we set up a nice little retreat under the tree!
I complied a small list of tips for creating a welcoming backyard retreat, I would love to hear your ideas!
Ten Tips for Creating a Welcoming Backyard Retreat:
1. Seating! You need some!
Don’t forget to offer many options for seating from chairs to seating walls! Think about how people like to gather when hanging out, arrange for little intimate seating arrangements to be placed throughout the space.
2. Lounging! (think comfort!)
If this is a casual hangout time, be sure to offer throw blankets or light rugs that you can throw out over the grass with a WHOLE lot of pillows and maybe a pouf or too!! Pillows and throws also add a lot of comfort and throws are great for when it gets a little cold outside. Consider outdoor pillows so it can handle getting wet occasionally, but a bin in your garage to store them when not in use is a great idea, and every month or so just throw them in the wash with a Tide pod.
3. Color: Think fresh flowers!
The easiest and most beautiful way to add some great color to your space are continually flowering blooms! I especially like to plant them in bright colored pots for an additional punch of color! Also, consider painting some of your furniture pieces in bright colors for a water free pop of color!
4. Eating and Drinking:
Eating is one of the great ways to connect with friends and family. Make sure you make it easier on your guests by adding a few surfaces for drinks near chairs.
By far my favorite time of day to hangout outside is after the kids are in bed and the stars are starting to shine. String lights are such a fun way to add ambiance to a space. We have three sets in our backyard. The halo of light under out lovely apricot tree makes me just giddy! We LOVE little LED candles too, great ambiance with no worry of fire, and they last for months on one or two batteries!
Even if you are a sun worshiper, the heat can get to us all if you are there too long. If you want the party to last, look for shade. A shade tree is a great place to set up camp! If you don’t have one consider creating an umbrella oasis, or using a shade sail.
7. Consider all ages:
What is fun for me, is not necessarily fun for my 2 year old! We try to make sure that our outdoor space has a lot of fun options for the kiddos, from sidewalk chalk, and swings to tricycles and big bouncy balls. If your kids are older a bucket or two with water guns might be a fun distraction.
8. Get outdoorsy:
I think most people enjoy hanging out around a fire with some marshmallows, graham crackers and Nutella (yes, you haven’t lived til you have tried Nutella S’mores or try any of these other great s’more recipes). Consider a portable fire pit, I like this one from Lowes, there are tons of affordable options out there! Be sure to talk to the kids about keeping safe around a fire.
9. Storage (easy clean up!)
Along with kiddos (or gardeners) it seems like there are a lot of different toys and tools that find their way to the backyard. Corral those items in a few wire, or wicker baskets or a bench trunk! A simple place to throw all the toys before the end of the day is a great way to keep the space looking clean! And when your things get dirty be sure to try out a few of the cleaners listed below.
10. Whimsy – Add some flavor!
The best thing I did for my outdoor space in Texas was hang some colorful art. It made me smile even when I just looked outside! Don’t forget to think about decorating the space a bit, like the decorative mirror I used on the fence. And who can resist a few cheesy but adorable garden gnomes. (I’ve loved them ever since seeing Gnomeo!) Don’t go overboard with whimsy, a little goes a long way, but is guaranteed to bring a smile to your face when you see those little touches in your space.
Okay! Now it is time for a great prize pack!
This giveaway is now closed!
Summer Done Bright Prize Pack
One lucky winner will receive:
- $100 Lowe’s gift card
- Mr. Clean Outdoor Pro Spray
- Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Outdoor Pro
- Tide Pods
- Duracell AA Batteries
All these great cleaners are available at Lowes, but sure to check it out!!
The winner is Andrea Poulston! Congrats!
The giveaway is open from June 27th through July 5th 11:59 pm MST. Once the giveaway ends, winners will be chosen randomly using the Rafflecopter widget. The winner will be notified via email by July 7th, and will need to respond within 48 hours to claim their prize or another winner will be chosen. This post will be updated with winners’ names once we’ve heard back from them. This giveaway is open to continental U.S. residents only, 18 years and older where law permits, void where prohibited.
*Thank you to Procter & Gamble for providing these lovely products for me to test and for one lucky winner! All opinions are mine.