Preparing for Summer: Outdoor Prep

6089971_SNow that summer’s heat is upon us, it’s time to come up with ways to enjoy being outdoors in spite of the temperatures. Here are a few suggestions to make the most of the season.

Al fresco breakfast: The temperatures stay cool in the morning here in Arizona well into the summer. How about planning breakfasts outside instead of dinners? Place dishes, bowls and silverware on a tray, and add cereal, eggs or whatever is planned for breakfast that day. It only takes a few minutes to move outside, and you and your family will have a cheerful start to the day before temperatures rise.

Shade: The best shade comes from trees, but a covered patio or umbrellas such as the ones in the photo provide a close second. Just remember to close the umbrellas when you’re not using them, because our Arizona sun can fade and wear them out quickly.

Misting: You can hire a company to install misters or pick up a do-it-yourself kit at your local hardware store. The cool damp air works well in our dry weather as an informal evaporative cooler. When sitting under the mist, the temperature can feel much more enjoyable.

Outdoor ceiling fans: NOT to be combined with misting systems! These fans don’t actually lower the temperature, but they can make you feel cooler when sitting under them. Even though your fan may be under a covered patio, be sure to buy one designed for outdoor use. It is then protected from dust and other weather elements.

Choose your best options from among these or others, to allow you to extend your outdoor enjoyment for a few more months every year.

Dual Levels Adds Charm to Patio

Once upon a time, many years ago, when people built a home they would have a rectangular slab on concrete poured outside their back door to serve as a patio.

Sometimes the homeowners would ask for a larger slab, or put a cover or awning over it. They might buy a redwood picnic table for eating outside, and maybe even a charcoal grill.

Well, that was yesterday, and today people have a different perspective on their outdoor space. It is often seen as an extension of the home and used for entertaining and family events. Even something as simple as having morning coffee and reading the paper outside warrants additional attention.

Fulton Homes offers options that create the outdoor space you want for your home. Take a look at this model-home yard from the Oasis at Freeman Farms community. Several design choices make this arrangement particularly appealing. Let’s look at a couple of them.

Varying levels: The second level adds the sense that there are several rooms to this yard. The upper level could hold a conversation area or just a comfy lawn chair and a table for afternoon reading. This option adds interest without a lot of additional expense.

Different surface textures: Using pavers makes the space feel finished and special. By separating some paver areas with gravel, including a grassy section, and creating a place for plants along the block wall, the yard has a planned, interesting presence.

Additional yard elements: The brick column, stone bowl with plants, and the low wall bring the outdoor space together even before furniture is added. Design elements such as these turn a standard yard into something different. Think about what you would like to do to add personality to your yard.