Tips to Create the Perfect Outdoor Living Space

Have you been spending a lot of time in your backyard this summer? Yeah, us too! We’ve heard from many customers who are looking at upgrading a backyard space so we wanted to share some of our favorite ideas. Let’s get that backyard looking great!  

Make shade

Create a perfectly comfortable sitting area by adding a bit of shade. There are a variety of options that meld style with functionality. Retractable shades are one option for hot summer afternoons. They block the sun with the press of a button and then roll back up when you feel like getting some rays. Available at most major retailers, there are solutions suited to a variety of dimensions and budgets.

If you’re looking for a more permanent structure, a pergola or patio cover can be a good addition to a sunny backyard. Pergolas are open structures that can be freestanding or attached to a home. With a frame and open rafters, a pergola is exposed to the elements but fabric sheets or vines can provide privacy and shade. Patio covers, on the other hand, are usually attached to a home and have a weatherproof roof. Ceiling lights or fans can be added. Both pergolas and patio covers can be customized with a variety of materials and designs in order to complement a home and its landscaping.

Cool off

Ok, this one is a major undertaking. But if your family loves swimming, a pool is an incredible way to upgrade your yard. If you have the budget and the space, a backyard pool provides excellent low-impact aerobic activity and tons of fun. Concrete pool decks are extremely durable and can be customized to mimic many other materials. They can even be stamped and tinted for a show-stopping look. Even better? Concrete is a fraction of the cost of other materials like stone or wood. Learn more about concrete pool decks!

Heat it up

Just because it’s summer doesn’t mean that you won’t enjoy some heat! Consider fun ways to mix it up. A hot tub is an affordable yet luxurious addition to a backyard deck. Make every day a spa day and unwind with a cold beverage while you let the hot water relax your muscles and your mind! If you’re not a hot tub person, consider a relatively simple fire pit. They’re great for entertaining a few guests or just the kids as you roast marshmallows. From fire rings that cost under $50 to wood burning fire pits that cost several hundred dollars, there are nearly endless options that can fit your space and your style. You can even make a fire pit out of concrete using one of Proline’s Form Liners. If you consider ambient lighting products like gas tabletop fire pits or fire bowls, there are even more choices. Plus, concrete fire pits are a pretty easy DIY project if you’re up for it!


It sounds obvious but turn your backyard space into the oasis you’re dreaming about! Simple touches can go a long way in creating a truly relaxing space.

  • Water feature: If you love the sound of a babbling brook, then consider installing a relaxing water fountain. The sound of running water is extremely relaxing, no matter if you enjoy yoga or meditation in your backyard or just reading a book at the end of the day. Proline makes a ledger stone water feature as well. You really can do almost anything with concrete!
  • Comfy furniture: Go beyond the simple set of chairs and invest in a set of lounge chairs, a patio swing, or even a sectional sofa. With fabric that can be water-resistant and UV protected and cushions that can be removed, there’s nothing stopping you from taking the best nap of your life. Whatever furniture you choose, ensure the layout encourages your favorite relaxing activities, like reading, conversing, or sleeping! An inviting space lets you unwind in comfort and style. 

Get cooking

An outdoor kitchen is the perfect way to amp up the functionality of your backyard space. Whether you’re a master griller or you want to make your own wood-fired pizzas, there are plenty of choices. Stamped and stained concrete floors, edging, and even countertops can provide you with the ultimate in durability and style. Learn more about our outdoor kitchen recommendations!

Make it pretty  

Your backyard needs to be beautiful! No matter how small it might be or what the neighbor’s yard is like, you can make sure that your space is a place you want to spend time.

  • Make it green: Your backyard can be green even if your thumb isn’t! Once you know your planting zone, look for plants that will thrive in your area. Commitment-phobes can plant annuals that last only one season and hands-off gardeners can plant perennials that come back year after year. Plant flowers in raised beds or use an assortment of planters in varying colors, shapes, and sizes for a boho-chic look.
  • Light it up: Don’t forget the lights! Lights provide your backyard with the perfect ambiance, whether you’re dining al fresco, playing board games, or enjoying a glass of wine. Illuminate with hanging lanterns, torches, or string lights. Consider lighting up your landscaping elements. Spotlights can highlight beautiful trees or architectural elements. Path and area lights can illuminate walkways but also landscaped garden beds.
  • Create privacy: If your views are less than ideal, consider privacy screens and other ways to improve your surroundings. Fences are always a great option, of course, but there are other methods. Living fences, like arborvitae or hedges, are beautiful. Pergolas, especially those planted with vines, are a good way to create an enclosed space. Other options include planted trellises and panel curtains.

Need some help?

If you’re looking to get started on a fantastic new outdoor project, shop our great selection of concrete stamps. The friendly experts at Calico Construction Products are standing by to answer your questions! Call us at 800-221-9469.

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