10 Ways to Enjoy Your Outdoor Living Space All Year

As of 2014, outdoor living spaces have emerged as the most popular “special function” room among homeowners.

Since then, ways to improve upon and create further uses for any outdoor living space have increased greatly, and are more accessible for homeowners—no matter their price point.

So, as nights become longer and the colder months set in, how can you work to create an outdoor living space that works for you year-round? Read on for 10 ways for you to enjoy your outdoor living space.

1. Weatherproof Furniture

If your outdoor living space is uncovered, or subject to a lot of rain, it’s crucial to invest in weatherproof furniture. Even if your backyard usually remains dry, having weatherproof furniture on hand is going to reduce the risk of colors fading from sun exposure.

Weatherproof furniture, whether it’s a lawn chair or couch complete with throw pillows, is going to last a lot longer outside than any other furniture you might consider putting outdoors.

2. Cover It Up

Creating cover not only helps you define areas when you have company over but it also protects your outdoor furniture. Pergolas are also great for this and provide a defined space for any purpose you see fit, but they don’t come with the protection of a cover.

Coverage also allows you to sit outside at any time and not have to worry as much about wet seating or slippery surfaces.

3. Add Heating

For the cold months, adding heat is an easy way to enjoy your outdoor living space. You can do this with a fire pit or outdoor heater. Some deck floors even come with heating, and heat lamps are always a great option as well.

A heating element also creates a gathering space in your backyard and serves as the focal point for any gathering or get-together. 

4. Create Definition

If a heating element isn’t in your budget, or you already have one, there are other ways to create defined areas in your outdoor living space. Creating defined areas help break up your backyard and make it feel homier.

Use outdoor area rugs and other landscape features to create defined spaces. String lights can also help.

Some ideas can include a fire pit area, kitchen area, game area, or a pool area. Seating is also a great, affordable option (and highly necessary if you have guests over often).

5. Invest in Lighting

Several sources of lighting allow you to stay outside longer in the fall and winter months when the sun goes down sooner.

Outdoor LED string lights work best to create a cozy ambiance. Path markers and string lights work to create walkways in your outdoor living space. Get creative with solar lights or different colored bulbs depending on the season.

6. Outdoor Cooking

It’s no secret that food brings people together. Why not bring the power of your kitchen outdoors?

It can be as beautiful and grand as you’d like—complete with cabinetry, refrigerator, wine cooler, grill, and even a sink. It can also be as simple as acquiring a grill, outdoor table, and chairs for everyone to gather around and eat at.

7. Grab Some Games

No matter the weather, games can be enjoyed for seasons upon seasons without ever going out of style. You can even get creative and make your own game pieces.

For outdoor games of cornhole and Jenga, it’s as simple as finding a how-to guide and spending a weekend with some wood, tools, and paint. Sourcing the materials for soccer, outdoor bowling, or even horseshoe are great ways to keep family and friends outdoors for hours.

8. Keep Things Cozy

Maybe you already have a fire pit, but there are more ways to keep things cozy. Get throw blankets and cuddly outdoor pillows so everyone can stay warm late into the evening, whether huddled around a fire or not.

Throw blankets, pillows, and outdoor rugs are also easy to keep seasonal. You can switch them out depending on the holiday or time of year. Keep different materials, designs, and thicknesses in mind.

9. Get Your Feet Wet

Water features are another thing that can be enjoyed year-round if you have the right materials. Heated pools or water features are perfect, but so is a hot tub. 

They’re inviting and can be enjoyed alone or with friends!

10. Clean up Often

While you should pick up your belongings and keep your outdoor living space clean, this tip is aimed at the weather.

Particularly in the winter, it’s important to keep up with snow removal. This helps keep your outdoor furniture and appliances in the best shape possible. Sweeping regularly and wiping off surfaces in the fall and springtime keeps pollen and bugs at bay.

Depending on your climate, Summer can bring rainfall or intense sunshine. No matter the case, this season is probably going to be the easiest in keeping your outdoor living space clean. Especially if you’re using the area often!

Enjoy Your Outdoor Living Space Year-Round

Using these tips is sure to allow you to enjoy your outdoor living space year-round. Get creative with the ways you choose to utilize them and customize them to fit your needs and wants.

Also, keep who is going to be using the space in mind! Children and pets are going to have different needs from older guests in friends. There are options for everyone out there, and it’s important to make sure everyone coming into your space enjoys it!

If you’re wanting to take on bigger outdoor projects, don’t be afraid to let the professionals lending a helping hand.

Contact us today with any questions or ideas. We’re happy to help you create the outdoor living space of your dreams.

Luxury Lawn Care For Winter: The Ultimate Guide

Virginia may be considered a Southern state, but that doesn’t mean that it’s impervious to cold winters. In fact, the average January low temperature in Northern Virginia is 29 degrees.

When you’re dealing with below-freezing temperatures, it’s important to think about how your lawn will fare through the winter months. The better you take care of your lawn during its dormant season, the better it will come back to life in the spring.

Fortunately, there are a few lawn care tips that will help you prepare your grass for the winter and cultivate solid growth in the spring. 

Read on to learn more about lawn care in winter and find out how lawn care services can make your life a whole lot easier!

Winter Lawn Preparation

In the late fall, it’s time to start watering less and preparing for winter. As you approach below-freezing temperatures, your grass is settling into its dormancy period, and there are a few ways that you can nurture that. Read on to learn what you should do for your lawn leading up to winter.

Mindful Mowing

Generally, you don’t want to mow your lawn too short as this causes more damage than many root systems can fix on their own. In fact, you want to avoid clipping more than 1/3 of your grass at a time.

As the temperature drops, mow your lawn about every 10 to 14 days. On your final mow, cut the grass so that it’s about 3/4 to 1 1/2 inches tall. This is the ideal height to prevent things like snow mold that still allows you to put away the mower for the winter.

Zero-Phosphate Fertilizer

Your soil may be depleted after a steady growing season. Laying some fertilizer just before winter is a great way to replenish the soil for a healthy regrowth period in the fall. We recommend using an organic fertilizer with 0% phosphate.

Why no phosphate? While most plants (grass included) benefit from the presence of phosphorous, it’s possible to overdo it. When soil contains too much phosphorous, the root system of a plant can no longer absorb the other nutrients it needs to thrive.

In other words, save the phosphates for the post-dormancy season!

Clear Out Debris

Make sure that you take care of those end-of-season leaves and remove things like toys, lawn chairs, and firepits from your dormant lawn. Because your grass does not have the conditions it needs to replenish itself regularly, leaving debris on the lawn can smother your grass. These areas then become more susceptible to disease–and become a potential dwelling place for insects and rodents!

Lawn Care in the Winter: What Does Grass Need When It’s Dormant?

The better you prepare for winter by following the steps above, the less you’ll need to do during the cold season. However, that doesn’t mean that all lawn care should cease. Let’s take a look at a few simple steps you can take during the winter to keep your dormant lawn healthy and happy.

Aerate

Believe it or not, winter is a great time to aerate your lawn! It’s perfectly fine to take care of this step in the late fall, but if that didn’t make your to-do list, don’t sweat it.

Aeration is meant to prevent thatching and compacted soil, two things that make it really difficult for your grass to rejuvenate itself in the spring. Aeration also provides channels for air, water, and nutrients to reach the roots of your grass. This can help the soil from drying out during a dry winter and prevent root rot in a wet winter.

Look Out for Weeds

Winter weeds love a dormant lawn. They’re more than happy to seek out every space where your turf has weakened and completely take over. The problem is that you may not see them until they’ve already established deep roots since many winter weeds germinate in low temperatures and grow in warmer temperatures. 

To prevent weeds from taking over, you can use a selective herbicide or a weed n’ feed style product. However, remember to follow the directions carefully and avoid overusing these products, as they can burn your grass. 

Don’t Remove the Snow

When you shovel that freshly fallen snow from your driveway and walkways, make sure to leave your lawn out of it. It may seem detrimental to leave snow on your dormant lawn, but it actually works to insulate your lawn from extremely low temperatures. Plus, shoveling the snow on your lawn is risky–you may end up digging up big chunks of your turf.

Find a Different Path

Do your best to stay off the lawn during the winter months. If it’s necessary to cross it on foot, try to make sure that you’re not following the same path every time.

Just like debris can smother your grass, so can your feet. Grass isn’t nearly as capable of bouncing back when it’s dormant as it is in the warmer seasons. If you tread the same path every day, you’ll notice that path struggling to regain its lusciousness and color in the spring. 

Let State of the Art Landscape Help with Winter Lawn Care

Northern Virginians take great pride in our lawns and want to make sure they’re in tiptop shape. However, it’s easy to assume that lawn care starts in the spring and ends in the fall. After all, there’s not a whole lot of growth happening in below-freezing temperatures.

The truth, however, is that winter lawn care is a crucial part of year-round maintenance. The better you prepare your lawn for winter, the more vibrant and lush it will be in the spring!

Fortunately, you don’t have to take care of winter lawn care on your own. State of the Art Landscape is proud to serve homeowners and property managers in Northern Virginia. Contact us today to find out more about our services.