Outdoors is the new indoors in Los Angeles, where the latest trend in converting patio spaces to living spaces gives homeowners a whole new place to entertain. But it takes more than just a new deep-seating furniture set and a few votives to make your outdoor area presentable. Here are a few ways to punch up your backyard to make it more attractive and welcoming.
Show a Dive-In Movie
Turn your pool or backyard into a movie theatre by projecting movies on an outdoor wall or portable screen. Your audience can float on rafts, lie back on chaise loungers or snuggle in sleeping bags to enjoy summer classics like Endless Summer, Vacation, Jaws, or Grease sing-along. The Epson MegaPlex MG-850 HD ($799) blasts 2,800 lumens of color and white light output onto screen sizes as big as 100 inches, perfect for watching movies outdoors or in areas with high ambient light. The MegaPlex can project content from a wide range of devices, including a computer, stand-alone DVD/Blu-Ray player, iPad or iPhone, gaming console or Android device. The projector is also perfect for old fashioned family slide shows of your photos, which you can play along with music saved to any Apple device, and it also features HDMI and VGA ports to meet all of your hi-tech hook up needs.
Let it Snow
Everyone loves a cold, sweet treat on a hot summer day. The Warning Snow Cone Maker ($69.95) shaves mounds of icy snow cones in minutes with a professional grade motor and blade system. Scoop the melt-in-your mouth slivers into cones and add delicious syrups like Mandarin Tangerine, Concord Grape and Morello Cherry (set of three syrups, $32.00; snow cone and straw set, $.950) for a memorable refreshing novelty dessert that will make your summer soiree a hit. Snow Cone Maker and supplies available at Williams-Sonoma.
Pick a New Shade
Even if you don’t have a large yard for landscaping, you can use planter boxes with blooming flowers to give your outdoor space perimeters and color. Liven up your planters with a coat of paint, such as one of the 1,500 colors available in Sherwin-Williams’ new eco-friendly, long-lasting Emerald Exterior paint that resists peeling, fading, mildew and dirt pick up. For do-it-yourselfers like me, you really can “Ask Sherwin-Williams,” as the store’s slogan suggests, as their helpful consultants can guide you through every step of paint and color selection and getting the right supplies for the job.
Make your outdoor space cozy with a gazebo which offers cover from the sun and gives your entertaining area focus. The sturdy 13-foot-wide Waterproof Hexagon Gazebo from BrylaneHome.com ($129.99) features an elegant six-sided design and a brown canopy with scalloped borders that dresses up the gazebo to avoid a tent took, and netting encloses all six sides for bee-free days and bug-free evenings.
Finally, a fashionable alternative to smelly citronella candles and loud and ugly bug zappers to keep mosquitos and insects away. Two companies known for their elegant accessories for hi-tech devices, Acase and inadays, have designed Inatrap ($64.95, Amazon), a stylish electronic insect eliminator that attracts flying bugs with a soft LED light and low-level CO2 vapor and then uses a quiet fan to blow them into an entrapment compartment. Sleekly designed in baby blue or lavender, this bug catcher will actually look good on your table.
Get comfy with care-free outdoor loungers that adjust for sitting up to read or lying down to soak in the sun. The curvaceous body-conforming Resin Folding Lounger from BrylaneHome.com ($149) folds away and rolls away on two wheels for easy storage, and its durable no-rust, no-warp construction is perfect for year-round LA weather.