5 Ways to Make Your Outdoor Space Feel Like Home

Learn how to style your backyard with these pro tips.

Taste of Home recently teamed up with our colleagues at Family Handyman and Reader’s Digest to introduce our readers to the Ostertag family of Mount Vernon, Texas, who are doing some pretty generous things in their hometown. (Their story is so inspiring.)

The Ostertags live on a 50-acre ranch—complete with turkeys, goats, pigs and even peacocks. They worked with Family Handyman to build the shed on their sprawling property.

The shed doubles as an outdoor kitchen, and that’s where we came in! Our talented stylists designed the grilling and entertaining space. They’re here to share their top tips so you can make your own outdoor space comfy and welcoming, too.

Get plenty of use out of your patio—eat al fresco! Start with these summer potluck recipes.

Tip 1: Decorate from Top to Bottom

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“Think about everything from the top all the way to the bottom, and everything in between,” says Stephanie Marchese, Director of Visual Production for Taste of Home.

If your patio has a structure overhead—like this shed or a pergola—consider installing a ceiling fan to keep the air moving on sticky summer days. Anchoring your seating area with a rug (here’s the one we used) makes the space feel more like a room.

“Don’t forget about lighting,” adds Missy Franco, our senior set stylist. Hang string lights, add lanterns or line the space with in-ground solar lights. Whatever fits your aesthetic.

Shop summer’s best patio decor.

Tip 2: Add Style to Your Tablescape

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When it comes to the dishes, linens and everything else on your table, go nuts. Mix solids and patterns. Sprinkle in different colors and materials. Have a green thumb? Pot up a few herbs that can do double duty as decor and cooking ingredient.

“There are no rules!” says Missy. Just stick to a color palette to make everything feel cohesive. (Good news: This advice goes for your indoor table, too!)

Tip 3: Elevate Your Grilling Space

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It’s definitely important to have a great grill, but Steph and Missy take it a step further. If you have the space, consider adding some cabinetry, as well. This way, the countertop serves as your grilling staging area, plus you can store your grilling tools inside the cabinet. You won’t have to make a bunch of trips into the house during grilling prime time.

At the Ostertags’ we installed three sets of cabinets (including these), plus a set of drawers (find those here). They’re weatherproof to withstand anything that comes their way, from torrential rains to hot sun.

These are the best grills of 2019.

Tip 4: Choose Comfortable Seating

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Make sure people come for the food and stay for the comfy atmosphere (and more food). Outdoor seating is available in all kinds of materials, from rattan or hardwood to plastic or metal. Choose the type that fits your style.

Next, soften it up. “Add some layers of pillows and a decorative throw for those cool nights,” suggests Missy.

A few coordinating ottomans will allow people to put their feet up or serve as extra seating if you’re hosting the whole neighborhood.

Shop our favorite patio furniture.

Tip 5: Don’t Forget the Games

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Our stylists picked lawn dominoes and a bocce set for the Ostertags, but your choices for fun are endless. Think horseshoes, giant Scrabble, Twister and more—nobody will want to leave when they’re playing these games. (Psst: You can stash them in your grill cabinets!)

Or, go beyond games and hang a sheet to serve as your backyard movie screen. This is how to plan your own movie night.

Patio Products You’ll Want ASAP

Our stylists outfitted the Ostertags’ new shed with everything the family needs for grilling, dining and outdoor fun. Get inspired by these summery finds for your own backyard.

Note: Every product is independently selected by our editors. If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission.