Create an Outdoor Space that 'Wows'

 (BPT) - Whether you own a cozy
cottage or mega mansion, as a homeowner, you likely embrace the outdoor living
trend. But when you look at your deck or patio, does it leave something to be
desired? By taking a do-it-yourself (DIY) approach, you can affordably create
outdoor spaces that enhance the style and functionality of your home, plus add
to the overall value of the property.

Here are a few of the leading trends
that the DIY homeowner can use to cost-effectively create an outdoor space that

Rent rather than buy

Upgrading or adding a deck or patio
can feel overwhelming unless you have the right equipment to do the job.
Renting what you need saves money, plus helps you maximize your time so you can
enjoy your new outdoor space sooner. From power washers and saws for cleaning
and cutting, to utility loaders and tampers for digging and compacting base
materials, you'll find everything you need at your local American Rental
Association member rental store. Visit for locations near you.
Not sure what you need? The pros at the shop are specially trained and can help
you choose the best time-saving tools for your project.


Use pavers for patios


Whether you're looking to refresh
your current patio space or are starting from scratch, patios are great
ground-level entertainment spaces. More homeowners are opting for pavers to
level and define the space, which adds elegant detail, rather than a bland
concrete slab. Find pavers in varying shapes, sizes and colors at your local
home improvement store. Remember, by digging and installing a base layer, your
pavers are less likely to shift over time. Dig down and compact base material
with a rented plate compactor or a tamper before laying the pavers in the
desired pattern.


Define your deck

If you're adding a new deck,
composite decking material is the way to go. While it costs a bit more than
lumber, it lasts longer and is virtually maintenance-free, which will save you
time and money in the long run. It's just as easy to work with as wood and can
be cut and assembled in a similar manner. If you simply want to refresh an
existing wood deck, rent a power washer to quickly clean off dirt, grime and
paint chips. Replace gray and tan paint with deep brown hues, which adds a
subtle upscale appearance. Modern exterior paint lasts years and some options
even fill cracks in wood, so look for a brand that best suits your needs.


Go native with greenery

Adding plants to your outdoor space
helps the area feel cohesive with nature. Not sure what to add? Whether for
pots, containers or the surrounding landscaping, consider native lawn and plant
materials. Not only will they look great and add color and depth to your
outdoor space, but they are typically lower maintenance and many require less
water. Explore options at your local garden center or state extension service's

Create an outdoor kitchen


Homeowners want to enjoy more time
outside and that means cooking and dining al fresco. While a basic barbecue
grill will do, outdoor kitchens are in high demand. Building your own outdoor
kitchen space is simple. Install countertops surrounding your grill and
consider incorporating features like a small fridge, gas burners for side
items, smokers or built-in storage spaces for spices and cooking tools.
Stainless steel continues to be the go-to material for outdoor kitchen
features, blending modern style with the organic look of Mother Nature.

Light the night


The right lighting can take a good
outdoor space and make it great. Solar lighting is trending for outdoor spaces,
and this eco-friendly option is also affordable. Light pathways with solar
landscape lighting - eliminating the need for electrical cords. Jazz up deck
posts with post caps that provide a gentle glow. Finally, a string or two of
white garden lights adds a twinkle to the beautiful ambiance of a summer

  Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2013. All rights reserved.