Outdoor living in style: 7 easy updates

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(BPT) - Outdoor living has become a way of life for homeowners coast to coast. Whether you're simply updating the look of your deck with a fresh new stain or pulling out the power tools to take on a larger project, there are countless ways to upgrade your outdoor living space. Here are seven design tips to enhance your deck or patio, creating a stylish and comfortable outdoor living space you'll want to share with friends and family.

Deck with seating areas in backyard

1. Create zones

dinner area and living area

Maximize your deck's potential by creating unique zones. Designate separate areas for casual lounging, dining and other activities, and be sure to accommodate space for foot traffic between zones.

2. Protect your deck

water pouring on deck board

Test your current stain or sealant by pouring a glass of water onto the surface of your deck. An effective stain or sealant will repel the water, causing it to bead up. If water instantly seeps into the wood, it's time to revive your deck with a staining or sealing.

3. Step it up

wide stairs leading up to deck

Installing extra-wide steps or a staircase can make your outdoor living space more accessible while providing a spacious and open vibe. For a warm, welcoming reception, consider using the same wood and finish as nearby decks or railings to build your steps or staircase.

4. Beat the heat

pergola with plant hanging from it

Keep guests shaded and cool on sunny days by adding a pergola to your outdoor living space. Pergolas protect both you andyour deck from harsh UV rays, extending the life of your deck's stain or sealant.

5. Keep it private

privacy panel on deck

Establish a sense of privacy using wooden trellis or lattice. Coordinate the look of the trellis or lattice with your home's exterior to make it a seamlessly beautiful addition to your outdoor space.

6. Go green

plants in pots on deck

Plants can enhance your outdoor living space in a variety of ways. Hanging plants make the most of vertical dimensions, while freestanding plants are great for creating barriers and filling up neutral space. To seamlessly blend your landscape with your hardscape, integrate plants into your deck or patio.

7. Bring on the night

lighting on deck step

Make your deck the perfect venue for nighttime entertaining by installing both ambient and functional lighting. Wall sconces with dimmers are perfect for setting the mood, and you can integrate puck lights or up lights into steps and banisters to create an easy-to-navigate outdoor living space.

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