2023 is here and it's time to start planning the New Year. At Outdoor Dreams, we truly believe that the best memories are made outdoors. If you are looking to have a memorable 2023, look no further than your patio, deck, pool, and/or porch. Whatever resolutions you have set for yourself, be sure to include your outdoor living space!
In this article, we provide a comprehensive guide to increasing the use and enjoyment of your outdoor living space.
More often than not, New Year's resolutions revolve around creating a healthier lifestyle. Anyone looking to improve their health should start by increasing time spent outdoors. Research suggests that time outdoors can improve your physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. Despite being one of the easiest ways to improve your overall health, the average American only spends 7% of their time outdoors.
As part of your healthier lifestyle, utilize your patio or deck for container gardening. Growing your own food will encourage you to eat healthier and provide you with an enjoyable outdoor experience.
If you're a novice or your gardening is limited by insufficient space, container gardening is the perfect solution. Your deck or patio provides the perfect place for you to raise fresh, nutritious, homegrown vegetables.
According to research, 90% of people experience increased energy by participating in outdoor activities. Additionally, while outdoors, the body works hard to balance CO2 levels and consume oxygen, both of which require more energy, leading to a higher calorie burn. By increasing your natural energy as well as the calorie burn, moving your workouts outdoors will increase their effectiveness and further improve your health.
In Central Virginia, we frequently experience pleasantly warm days sprinkled throughout the winter months. The drastic contrast of these pleasant days with colder winter weather makes them some of the best we experience all year. These beautiful days remind us of Spring and should not be wasted indoors. Because they are sporadic, it's important to always be prepared to enjoy them. Invest in good covers so that your furniture is always ready to use and keep stocked with wood so that you are equipped to start a fire at all times.
Snow days provide another opportunity for creating unique outdoor memories on your patio. Imagine a peaceful morning gathered around your fire feature, drinking coffee, and listening to the snowfall. Keep the fire going to enjoy s'mores and hot chocolate after sledding and shoveling.
Because snow presents unique challenges, it's essential to be prepared so that you can make the most of the experience.
The best way to increase the use of your outdoor living space is to incorporate it into your daily routine.
For many people (like this author), there is no more important element to their daily routine than morning coffee. If coffee is an essential part of your regimen, consider taking it outdoors. Pairing your outdoor space with essential daily tasks like morning coffee will immediately increase usage of your outdoor space.
Whether it's "Taco Tuesday" or "Pizza Night," consider transitioning your family's dinner traditions to the outdoors. An outdoor setting is a great way to refresh your traditions and add a little extra excitement to your week.
Don't have any reoccurring dinner traditions? This is a great opportunity to start one! Taco Tuesdays and Pizza Night are great choices, but your tradition could also be as simple as Outdoor Night of the Week.
"Grill & Chill Thursday" also has a nice ring to it!
It's time to upgrade (or bring back) the game night tradition with an outdoor twist. Though card and board games are certainly welcome, an outdoor setting opens up a whole new world of possibilities for game night. Consider new favorites like giant Jenga and cornhole or bring back classics like badminton and croquet.
Looking to plan an adult outdoor game night with friends? An outdoor setting is perfect for reliving your 20's with favorites like flip cup and pong.
Fire features, especially outdoor fireplaces, are a significant investment. If you're not making good use of your fire feature, that investment is going to waste. To increase the use of your space and feature, start a regular "Fire Feature Friday" routine. It doesn't have to be every Friday, but make sure to plan at least one every month. Keep your "Fire Feature Friday" routine fresh by pairing it with game nights, date nights, entertaining, and holiday festivities.
Outdoor living spaces are meant to enhance our relationships with nature and loved ones. Though used mostly for lighthearted fun with family and friends, outdoor living spaces can also provide the perfect setting for romantic date nights. With stunning sunsets, flowers in bloom, glowing lights, and sparkling stars, your outdoor living space always provides a natural escape for romance.
This year, increase the use of your outdoor living space and strengthen your relationship by planning regular outdoor date nights.
Because of busy schedules, we often lose track of minor holidays and fail to acknowledge personal accomplishments.
This year, use your outdoor living space to easily elevate and celebrate the days that might otherwise go overlooked. As a reference, simply remember that if you have reason to "cheers," be sure to elevate your celebration by heading outside!
For many, outdoor living spaces are meant to be a place to escape technology and screens. Though there is certainly merit to this belief, we have grown to love outdoor televisions because they offer unique experiences, increase the use of the spaces we build, and, ultimately, get people outside more. Whether you're watching a game, movie, or the news, it's genuinely better to be doing so outside. It's a better experience and it's better for your health. Win. Win.
Whether you have an outdoor television or a projector and bedsheet setup, movie nights outdoors are always a hit with the entire family! Consider buying or renting a popcorn machine to provide the appropriate movie snack and elevate the overall experience. If your outdoor living space has room, consider opening up the invite list to include friends and neighbors!
A Backyard Game Day Party combines the atmosphere of tailgating with the comfort of your home. Whether you prefer college, the NFL, or a sport other than football, be sure to elevate your game day parties by taking them outside.
If you're considering a backyard game day party, be sure to check out our Game Day Party Planning Guide!
This, in and of itself, is a great New Year's resolution! Whether you have a standalone unit or an outdoor kitchen, be the person who grills more than hamburgers, hot dogs, and the occasional steak! Set a goal to try a new skill every month and a new recipe every week. Before long, the smells coming off your grill will become the envy of the neighborhood and your neighbors will be lining up to try the foods you are perfecting.
If you have the neighbors lining up to try the fruits of your grilling labor, you will certainly need to start entertaining more.
Whether you have a pool, patio, porch, or deck, your outdoor living space is the perfect setting to break bread with family and friends. Set yourself a New Year's goal to entertain a certain number of times in 2022 and work hard to achieve it. Your gatherings can be large or small, fancy or informal, as long as you are outside enjoying your space!
Whether it's Memorial Day, The Fourth of July, or Labor Day, the only way to celebrate these holidays is outdoors. This year, be the one to host your family, friends, and/or neighbors. You can keep the menu simple with hamburgers and hot dogs or get creative and show off your new grilling skills. As long as the music (CCR anyone?) is playing, the grill is going, and the beer is flowing, your party is sure to be a hit!
If you're looking for a fun and unique way to use your outdoor living space, consider hosting an outdoor cocktail party. This could be a simple happy hour with a friend/neighbor or a larger gathering that includes a meal.
If you're looking for inspiration, check out the Outdoor Dreams Cocktail Hour for our "patio-ready" outdoor cocktail recipes.
Holiday traditions are wonderful and fill us with joy as they tug at our nostalgic heartstrings. That said, sometimes traditions can also become stale and boring. If your family's holidays need a refresh, consider breathing a little fresh air into them by heading outdoors!
At Outdoor Dreams, we believe that almost everything is better when done outdoors. An outdoor setting will open all new opportunities and provide a whole new feel for your holiday gatherings. Whether you shift your entire gathering outdoors or just incorporate it into your festivities, your outdoor living space is sure to enhance all of your family's holidays.
With beautiful Spring weather and masses of flowers in bloom, there is no better setting than the outdoors for Easter activities. If the weather cooperates, consider taking your Easter brunch or dinner outdoors.
Without question, also be sure to plan an Outdoor Easter Egg Hunt. An outdoor egg hunt provides endless opportunities that cannot be matched indoors. Plan a hunt that encourages creativity and activity like running, jumping, and climbing!
Central Virginia's comfortable Autumn weather makes Halloween another great holiday to be celebrating outdoors. Pick a beautiful afternoon and carve pumpkins on your patio or deck; cleanup will certainly be easier (leave it for the squirrels and birds, anyone?). Instead of a haunted house, create a haunted patio, porch, or deck and throw a fun Halloween party. Or maybe consider an outdoor scary movie night; the natural sounds of nature will create a uniquely spooky setting.
Here in Central Virginia, we are often graced with beautiful weather on Thanksgiving. Comfortable temperatures and sunny skies allow us to take our Thanksgiving celebrations outdoors onto our porches, patios, and decks.
When you consider that the very first Thanksgiving (as well as Charlie Brown's) was held outdoors, it makes perfect sense to host an Outdoor Thanksgiving for your family and friends. Though it may seem "unconventional," it's actually the most traditional way to host!
Outdoor holiday experiences are often the most unique and special. Here in Central Virginia, we are often blessed with beautiful weather throughout the month of December (especially in 2021). Whether you plan an outdoor holiday movie night, holiday s'mores around the fire, or some other yule log tradition (chestnuts roasting on an open fire, perhaps?), be sure to incorporate your outdoor living space into your Christmas and Hanukkah traditions.
To help you make the best use of your patio, deck, and porch during the holiday season, we have put together a guide with a few helpful tips and ideas.
Finish off the year and start next year outdoors on your patio or deck! Watch the ball drop on an Outdoor TV and celebrate with a traditional toast. If the weather proves too cold to celebrate the entire evening outdoors, use your outdoor space to step away from the party for fresh air, enjoy a romantic glass of champagne with your New Year's kiss, or celebrate with a cigar.
Whether it's for a game day party, a chili cook off, or just a run of the mill Tuesday, we recommend kicking your chili up a notch by making it outdoors. In this article we provide all of the tips you need to prepare chili on your grill or smoker.
In this article, we suggest a wide variety of landscape plants that can be used to make wonderful and unique flower arrangements. We hope that this comprehensive list inspires you to start clipping the garden and bringing it inside!