Unless you really love sitting outside much of the time, which is a bit more difficult with our hot Scottsdale summers, you spend more thought and time in making the inside of your Scottsdale home designed the way you like it. Maybe comfort is your goal, or you love current design trends. I like mixing the two.
For many people, their backyards just don't get as much love. Following are some ideas you can follow to make your exterior as comfortable and lovely as the inside of your home.
1. Create a comfortable sitting area
When we moved to our new house with a nice covered patio, my first thought was getting a u-shaped outdoor seating set. This set is all hooked together so it appears to be one large sectional. I sit on it almost every day because I always go out with my 3 small dogs. We have it up against the exterior wall of our house so it faces the pool. It will comfortably seat at least 6 people, and we can probably squeeze in more. We also have 2 cocktail tables in front of it.
Some people prefer separate pieces, with a sofa and individual chairs. Depending on your space, you could add a hammock, but I've never been interested in laying on one. If I felt like laying down outside without being in the sun I can lay down fully on my sectional.
More ideas would be swings, either hanging from an overhead ceiling on a covered patio or a free-standing swing. I had one in a prior home and I loved it. They have some really cool ones today. I remember sitting in some more modern, free-standing swings that were at Scottsdale Quarter as free advertising for the company.
Patio furniture can be as expensive, if not more, as interior furniture, so your budget might dictate what you can buy. You also need to consider if your furniture will be sitting in a more shaded area vs out in the sun. Even though our sectional is under our covered patio, we still cover it up with a tarp every night so it stays cleaner. I've heard people's statements on how even with covering their outdoor furniture, with the heat and sun in Scottsdale, the fabric didn't last.
2. Add some outdoor rugs and pillows
The prior owners of our home had a sofa and table but they also had an outdoor carpet. It looked very nice but we've noticed that the wind blows so much debris onto our patio that we'd be sweeping and vacuuming the area daily. I love the look though and might get an outdoor carpet and just use our shop vac to vacuum the entire area, at least around the sectional, instead of sweeping. It's just easier grabbing the broom.
I love the look of pillows, but I don't always find them comfortable. If you do, you can really spiff up an area by placing colorful pillows on sofas and chairs. You can also use floor pillows to offer extra seating.
The addition of these items can really change up the look of your patio and add some extra color. Using different design accessories can make it your own and create an even more cozy area.
3. Light it up
I would think most every home in Scottsdale has lights in the back. But you can really create a warm and inviting feel by adding extra lighting.
We have lights on the exterior walls of our house in front and back plus there were already lights above the patio. My husband used to be in a band so he added some colorful light cels alongside the regular lights, and we can control them individually with the regular lights.
I love the look of light strings and might expand that kind of lighting to our deck on the other side of our pool. I think string lights add another dimension anywhere they're used, inside or out. But in reality, we really don't spend much time outside in the back in the evening, so any additional lights are not a priority for us.
Many Scottsdale homes have pools, and pool lighting can really create an inviting evening dip. Our pool has one light and it wouldn't be worth it to add any kind of further built-in lights. However, when we turn on both of our extra patio lights, including the colored ones, the pool gets lit up just fine. I almost wanted to jump in last night when I took the dogs out before bed because the lights made it so pretty. We go in our pool late afternoon when the sun isn't so bad, and we've yet to swim at night.
4. Add some potted plants
Even if you have a beautiful garden or a lot of foliage and blooms in your yard, putting some potted plants on and around your patio can really add a different dimension. This might give you the opportunity to have a plant that doesn't want full sun if you have a covered area. You can really create a nice patio garden scene by putting some pots on the floor, hanging some from a patio roof, and even adding some planter "sconces" to the exterior wall.
5. Al fresco dining
Because of the different sizes of patios in Scottsdale homes, I see more that feature exterior dining over seating. With our patio, we have a small bistro table with 2 chairs along with our sectional and our double glider. We also have the grill/cooking area under the covered portion.
Our neighbors have a nice-sized table with at least 6 chairs. Because we have two tables in front of our sectional, we have room to place food for more casual dining. I wish I could fit a large table plus the big sectional, but our little bistro table gets used a lot and is perfect for my husband and me. Many of us will have a space limitation, so we have to decide what is more important.
6. Creating a covered or shaded area
Most Scottsdale homes have some kind of covered area in the back, but if you don't you can create one. You can purchase a covered gazebo and they come in all price ranges. Some are just poles or frames with outdoor fabric, some are open trellis style, some have a full ceiling, and some are fully enclosed with screen doors and windows or even regular windows and doors.
When we first moved into our current house, there was a large outdoor patio shade installed. My husband removed it and we never felt the need for it, plus if it was pulled down you'd just be staring at the shade instead of our pretty yard and the pool. But if your patio gets too much sunlight and you can't really use it during the day, you might want to consider some kind of shade.
We also have an open deck where we have extra seating and lounge chairs to get some sun. If we wanted to we could purchase a large umbrella to create some shade but with our covered patio, we don't feel the need. I was recently at a house with a big and beautiful circular seating sectional. There were several large umbrellas around it so it created its own little separate space in the open patio where you could sit and converse but not get roasted by the sun.
7. Add a fire pit
You probably don't want a wood-burning fire pit under a covered patio, but a gas or propane fire pit might be perfect. Or you might want to create a separate area in your yard for a fire pit or a wood-burning chimenea, which is what we have.
There is a huge selection of portable to large-sized fire pits. Some are gas, propane, or wood burning. Having one of these in your Scottsdale home can extend your usage of your backyard patio area all-year-round. Or you can just purchase a propane heater if you really want to spend time outside during colder weather.
We have a large L-shaped backyard. There is an unused area on the side that in the future I'd like to create a fire pit area, although if there is enough space I might do something else like a bocce ball court or shuffleboard (my husband said no way), or even pickleball. I'm not sure how much space is required for any of those so it might just be a dream.
The only problem I see with this area is that there is no direct access to this side of our yard and we'd have to walk around to it. It would be more suited for one of the sports mentioned vs a fire pit area. But right now it's wasted space so I want to do something with it down the road.
8. Add some art
I'm not talking about fine art or framed pictures or photos, unless you can find some that can withstand the weather in your area. We purchased the sunburst piece above many years ago at a Scottsdale consignment shop and I still love it. Arizona offers a lot of fun art pieces such as bronze or ceramic lizards, suns, kokopelli, and other southwest shapes.
I love our Solari bells, although they don't really chime all that much. That reminds me that we need to go back to Cosanti Originals in Paradise Valley since we haven't been in many years. When we went most of it was closed off for repair/remodeling. There are many other beautiful wind chimes you can find, although if you have an HOA you need to check the rules about them as some are really noisy.
We also have a whirly hanging thing that I had purchased for my Mother and took back when she passed. We have other pieces of sun art - one is bronze and one is a big, heavy ceramic piece. We have room for more so at some point we'll add to our collection of outdoor art.
This is where you can really personalize your outdoor area in back, which is important for most people that live in Scottsdale homes. Many people in Arizona treat their patios and/or yards as additional living space. I rarely went into my backyard when we lived in Illinois years ago. Now I'm out almost every day, unless it gets really cold.
If you don't mind being a bit chilly, you can still enjoy your patio/yard in the winter in your Scottsdale home. Use one of those large propane heaters, a fire pit, a chimenea, or if you're lucky, an outdoor fireplace. I don't like being cold at all so I'll just stay inside.
Another idea, which maybe should have been its own tip, would be to add an artful and calming water fountain. There are many sizes available from small units that can be attached to a wall to big and beautiful statement fountains.
9. Bring some indoor entertainment outside
We feel lucky that we have a sound system throughout the house. We didn't even know if it worked when we purchased the house and the owner said they never used it. Jimmy figured it out and we have music playing almost every day, and we can adjust where it's playing, and there are built-in speakers on the patio ceiling. If you don't have a built-in system, you can probably find some good speakers that you can keep on your patio, as long as the sun isn't hitting them and they can withstand the weather.
There are flat-screen TV's that are weatherproof and we plan on getting one. I don't use the pool to float around in or get tanned. When the pool is warm enough for me (above 90 degrees), I do workouts in it. I sometimes do my own thing or I'll bring my laptop out to follow water workouts on YouTube. It would be great if we could hang a flat-screen TV but I'd have to make sure I can see and hear it well enough to follow the instructions. It still would be nice to have. We have out-of-town guests, most from Illinois, that would enjoy sitting outside to watch a sports game.
You'll need to decide where you want to hang it. For what I'd want, it would have to hang from a special bracket that would allow it to be seen from the seating area or the pool. I was at a recent party where the TV was mounted on the exterior wall of the Scottsdale home, but we'd have to hang ours from the ceiling/roof of our patio. And I'd like it to be able to be raised somewhat so it's not hanging too low all the time.
Enjoy your patio and yard
You might have to do a little at a time depending on your budget, but you don't have to spend a lot to create a fun and comfortable place. We love shopping at some of the great resale shops in Scottsdale and Cave Creek. We purchased our patio sectional at Overstock but have seen some at the consignment shops.
Start with what is most important to you, whether it is a seating area or an outdoor dining table and chairs. If you need some shade, start with umbrellas or shades.
If you're ready for a new yard, give me a call at 480-877-1549.Posted by Judy Orr on