By Laura Jackson
When you step outside during a Park City summer, it’s often hard to walk back through the door. Creating your own outdoor haven can be one of the best ways to enjoy every precious moment.
1. COZY UP TO A FIRE PIT
Fire pits are hotter than ever and come with the welcomed ability to add warmth and charm to any space. From traditional fire rings built into the ground and lined with native rocks, to more contemporary copper fire bowls and convenient gas versions that turn on and off with the flip of a button, the fire pit’s explosion in popularity means there’s now a style for every taste and budget. Creating a natural draw, fire pits often become the focal point of your entire outdoor space, and extend your outdoor living not only into the evenings, but into cooler seasons as well.
2. CHILL OUT AT YOUR OWN BACKYARD BAR
Installing an outdoor bar can be as simple as a few stools and a portable, stand-alone unit, or as elaborate as a full outdoor kitchen complete with refrigeration and mood lighting. Backyard bars are a refreshing addition for entertaining guests, soaking up the beauty of the outdoors, and unwinding in style.
3. DINE AL FRESCO
Lots of vibrant colors and playful patterns are a big trend for outdoor dining and lounging furniture in 2014. But this doesn’t mean you have to do a complete overhaul. Colorful cushions, bright throw pillows, and exciting accessories are great ways to refresh your outdoor living area’s new look. Creating built-in seating has also seen a huge rise in popularity. Outdoor benches built to wrap around a deck or tree can provide needed additional seating for al fresco entertaining.
4. FIRE UP THE GRILL
According to Epicurious, 35 percent of American families now own more than one grill. Today’s joys of cooking outdoors incorporate everything from wood burning stoves, gas burners, wood pellet burners, charcoal grills, rotisseries and a huge increase in outdoor pizza ovens. For a simple, surefire recipe: combine food, flames, and a miniature pitchfork for the grill master to result in one of the purest forms of backyard bliss.
5. RELAX WITH WATER
Adding a water feature is a refreshing way to create tranquility in your outdoor space. Hot tubs can easily become your private spa retreat away from it all, yet right outside your door. Hot tubbing is a revitalizing way to spend a lazy summer afternoon or a beautiful starry night with family and friends and emerge decompressed and renewed. Soaking up the beautiful mountain views while the warm water soothes every muscle has proven health benefits too. Heat increases circulation by dilating blood vessels, buoyancy relieves joint stress, and the jets gently soothe tension as they massage your cares away.
ALL FIRED UP
‘Tis the season for gathering outside around the grill—according to a study conducted by the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA), an international not-for-profit trade association, the most popular holidays for barbecuing are: