Spring is finally upon us and do you know what that means? It's time to take the gatherings outdoors. As a young adult myself, I find that, in most cases, there is not a whole lot of time to put into making the yard cozy and comfortable. Because, let's be honest, as a young adult it's usually about a good fire, food, friends and drinks. However, by creating a space outdoors that was as comfortable as it was visually appealing, I found myself rethinking my tactics for future outdoor gatherings.
There are many pieces you can place in your outdoor space. If you already have a hammock, patio set or umbrella, you can accessorize them to make them more functional and cozier. Simply read through the list below for some great ideas about the outdoor decor and accessories you need for a cozy night in the back yard. You’ll also find out how I took my outdoor experiences from somewhat lacking to comfortable and relaxing.
1. An Outdoor Seating Set
Being twenty-something means there's not a whole lot of money for things like patio furniture and creating outdoor comfort. However, with a little savings invested in a good patio set, you can get great quality and usefulness for your money. This will leave you more time and a better setting to create memories of the time you spend with your family and friends. If your outdoor seating set ever seems like it needs a little extra cozy addition, try adding an outdoor throw and some outdoor pillows.
2. A Hammock
Hammocks are a great way to relax. A quilted hammock with a pillow is even more fun, comfortable and relaxing. Honestly, aside from the amazing patio furniture, the hammock was the star of the show in my backyard. My friends stretched out in it, pretended to flip each other over and even took a nap in it! These floating mattresses are also great for snuggling under the stars alongside a fire. Plus, they come in so many different styles and materials, you’ll be able to find the perfect option for your yard.
3. A Fire Pit
Fire pits don't have to be fancy to get the job done, but they are the center of the party in cases of campfire gatherings. My friends all came out for the first fire of the season because there's just something ultra-relaxing about sitting around a warm fire when the weather is beautiful. There are many different types of outdoor fire pits to choose from for your backyard. They come in all different sizes and are made from many different types of material. Choose a unique, handcrafted fire pit to make a bold statement or opt for a small fire ring if you need to stay within a budget.
4. Patio Umbrella
Because the evening started early when the sun was still high, the umbrella provided some shade for those who needed it. Later that night, it was a source of light as we flipped the red switch when the sun went down for some extra lighting. This type of situation is where a lighted patio umbrella is the best option. An umbrella without lighting can also work just as well if you plan on spending most of your time outdoors during daylight hours and don’t need the extra light.
5. The Solar Lanterns
Clustering a larger and smaller solar lantern is a great way to add both ambiance and coziness to a space. We turned these lights on after dark and the mood grew much more relaxed and at ease! The fact that solar lanterns soak up energy from the sun during daylight hours makes them a much more convenient source of light than those which are battery-powered or electric. You can simply place these lights in your backyard or on the patio and forget about them until you need them to light your next gathering.
6. The Bench
The fireside bench was a great place to have the S'more ingredients because it was readily available and had a rack on the bottom for the S'more forks. Plus, having everything out and neatly protected by my cake stand (which is getting much more use than some of my other wedding gifts) everyone knew right away where to find everything they needed to make the perfect S'more. In addition to providing a place to store supplies, an outdoor bench is perfect for adding extra seating to your outdoor area. Most patio sets are limited to just a few seats and it’s nice to be able to add some extra space when you have several people over.
7. The Log Rack and Carrier
Since our wood pile is alongside our shed and the fire pit is somewhat farther away from it, having this log carrier and fireside rack was extremely helpful. When we needed extra wood and the rack was out, all we had to do was take the canvas carrier to the wood pile, fill it with some logs and bring it back to the rack. The functionality and simple design of the rack made it a huge win in my book.
8. The Log Grabber
The log grabber ended up being both entertaining for some of my friends who had never seen one of those before, and helpful. Moving logs around in the fire was never this easy before using the log grabber!
9. The Drink Holders
With their fun, spirally design and bright colors, the drink holders were both visually appealing and useful. At first, my friends did not even realize what they were for until I showed them! We even had a drink holder that holds two drinks plus a smartphone.
10. The S'more Forks
These forks are the perfect length for roasting marshmallows and they come in sets of four or six so you can get enough for everyone with just one purchase! They also have vibrantly colored handles so they are both attractive and hard to lose in the storage shed.
At the end of the night (nearly 2:00 a.m.), we brought the cushions and pillows inside in case of rain and made sure the fire was out. Everyone went home completely relaxed thanks to a comfortable and cozy outdoor space, a good fire and some laughs.