HOAs are sticklers for the general appearance of a community, so it’s not uncommon to find rules governing things like outdoor patio furniture and barbecues, clutter and even pets. One association even made a resident paint his trampoline spring covers the same color as his home or face a fine.
A backyard patio becomes an alfresco dining destination or a spot to relax and unwind with the right furniture. Even the simplest stone patios can become second living spaces when outfitted with comfortable patio seating, such as a cozy wicker sofa and classic rocking chairs, complemented by plush pillows.
Keep in mind, however, that the old adage “you get what you pay for” generally holds true for patio furniture. Plastic resin pieces may look great on the shelf but can deteriorate with exposure to sunlight and moisture, while wood products such as teak and cedar are more durable and long-lasting. It’s also a good idea to invest in well-made, weather-resistant outdoor cushions that won’t fade or mildew over time.
If you want to limit your upkeep costs, search for durable materials that are easy to clean. Teak and cedar can withstand the elements, while most metal and all-weather wicker furniture only requires a bit of regular cleaning to maintain their appearance. You can also find some patio furniture, such as rattan and woven polyolefin, in a variety of colors, making it easier to coordinate with your landscaping or decor.
Lowe’s has a plethora of outdoor furnishings, from patio conversation sets such as the Clihome Patio Conversation 4-Piece Set ($773) to loungers that double as daybeds like the Best Selling Home Ottavio Outdoor Daybed ($664). You’ll also find a wide selection of outdoor area rugs, such as the Steelside Raya Chevron Rug ($157) and the Gracie Oaks Amaara Bar Serving Cart ($277), which are two of our favorites for a resort-style backyard.
Lighting can make a big difference in the feel of an outdoor space, providing warmth and comfort, and highlighting your favorite features. The right lights can even extend the amount of time you spend outdoors at night and add security and safety.
A mix of lighting is the best way to provide light for all your purposes and needs, and you can choose from a wide variety of fixtures in all styles. For your entry area, consider overhead fixtures or sconces that can provide a broad light to illuminate both the entrance and who is coming. For walkways and steps, lighting that will cast a light directly onto the walking surface is important to prevent falls, especially if there are changes in elevation. You also want to think about security, and illuminating your house number is an easy way to help emergency vehicles and guests find your home.
For entertaining areas, you may need more focused light, such as for a grilling or cooking space. Adding task lighting to these areas will give you the light you need to cook safely after dark. You can also consider path lighting, which provides more directed light for guiding people safely through the garden without creating glare or shadows.
Accent lighting is also a great addition for defining areas and adding visual wow, whether by highlighting stairs or a favorite garden feature. Lighting that casts a soft glow, such as from candle-like fixtures, is a nice touch for relaxing spaces. For something a little different, stylish metal torches can also help create atmosphere and add a rustic element.
Homeowner associations have varying rules for their outdoor lighting, but in general, these are designed to keep the neighborhood beautiful while respecting neighbors’ privacy and preventing excessive glare. A homeowner association attorney at Hellmuth & Johnson PLLC says that she has seen boards “require homeowners to submit any exterior lighting changes for architectural review, just as they would for any other change to the outside of their homes.” Choosing fixtures with energy-saving or LED bulbs can help reduce your energy costs and limit the impact on the environment.