Staying in is the new going out. So this summer, why not finally turn your backyard into the oasis you’ve been dreaming of? “If there’s anything to get excited about this summer, it’s the opportunity to beautify our home and outdoor living spaces,” says Kim Williams of Williams Lumber and Home Centers. With multiple locations, including two kitchen and bath showrooms in Pleasant Valley and Rhinebeck, Williams has been a go-to for home improvement in the Hudson Valley since 1946. With Williams’s help, we rounded up five projects that will help add years of enjoyment to your outdoor space.
Freshen Up Your Paint and Stain
Your outdoor space should enhance your home, so start by sprucing up its exterior. If you can’t remember the last time your house or deck was treated to a fresh coat of paint or stain, now is the perfect time. If the job is approachable enough to tackle on your own, Williams recommends investing in a premium paint like Benjamin Moore, which has a complete line of durable exterior paints and stains. They even have an app called Color Portfolio that lets you experiment with different colors using photos from your phone, so you can envision your project before you commit.
Add Low-Maintenance Decking
Creating a deck might sound like a large investment, but Williams recommends selecting durable materials that will survive the elements and require little maintenance. Popularized by high-performance brands like Trex, composite decking made from pressed wood (wood chips, sawdust, wood fiber) and plastic has seen enormous growth since its introduction in the ’90s.
“So often people think that composite is out of their price range,” Williams says. “While the upfront price of pressure treated lumber is low, an investment in composite decking like Trex breaks even after a few years,” Williams says. “It doesn’t have the annual maintenance costs associated with wood like sanding, staining, and painting, so it costs less over its lifetime and lasts longer too.”
Create an Outdoor Living Room
If you want to spend more time in your backyard this summer, invest in furniture that you’ll actually enjoy. With so many materials and styles to choose from, it’s important to know what kind of upkeep you’re signing up for before you buy. Natural materials like wood, wicker, and fabric cushions will add warmth to your space, but will need to be covered or stored during the colder months. Furniture made from plastic or powder-coated aluminum will stand up to most elements, but are lightweight and might need to be secured during storms or higher winds. With both options, it’s important to cozy up the space the same way you would your living room indoors. Add stylish weather-proof accents like side tables, pillows, extra lighting, and an area rug that ties the space together.
Prep Your Outdoor Kitchen for Success
Grilling is one of the best ways to enjoy your outdoor space to its fullest. With more time to spend on al fresco dinners with family, now is a good time to invest in a new grill. Upgrade your classic Weber kettle grill or go all-in with one of their multi-burner propane grills with enough bangs and whistles to put your indoor range to shame. If you’re looking to explore the wider world of grilling and smoking, consider investing in one of the new styles catching on with backyard chefs. Traeger electric grills burn wood pellets for heat made of compressed sawdust from hardwoods like pecan, hickory or cherry, adding wood smoke flavor to anything you’re cooking. Japanese kamado-style grills like those from Kamado Joe are made of ceramic, known for evenly distributing heat and holding in moisture. This allows them to hold a more consistent temperature that can sustain the low heat needed for smoking.
Help Your Space Come Alive
Moveable planter boxes are a great final touch for your backyard, deck, or patio alike. They offer long-term flexibility in case you want to switch up the design of your space, and they can quickly create lush focal points that help your space blend in with the outdoors. Snatch up a planter (or six) in long-lasting materials like stoneware, terra cotta, or metal with adequate drainage at the bottom for water to escape. Choosing a mix of plants in varying textures and heights will make your space feel more organic. It will also help stagger any flower blooms, enticing your neighborhood bees and butterflies to visit your new space all season long.