5. Something that swings, sways, or rocks. Rockers, hammocks, and swings are made for outdoor relaxing. The large bed swings with a twin mattress for the cushion have become very popular. I like those but I felt it was too deep to sit on comfortably, so I made a mid-size swing using a youth bed mattress for the seat cushion. It turned out to be about the size of a deep sofa. I loved it as did our guests. I have a great memory of three friends seated comfortably on this swing, rocking there all evening at one of our cookouts.
6. Fire and lighting. Fireplaces, gas fire pits, tables, and ambient lighting are features that take the emotional aesthetic of outdoor living to the next level. A wood-burning fireplace makes sense in an outdoor space where smoke will not linger and the heat lengthens the lounging season. Flame tables serve the same purpose at a lower cost. The motion of the flame combined with the crackle and smell of a wood fire invoke all present to “gather round.” Instead of a glaring overhead light fixture, consider ambient lighting from lamps and festive twinkling string lights. These features can be grand or more affordable, and always make outdoor living spaces feel more inviting.
7. Media. The television has made its way to the porch. Porches equipped with a flat-screen television and a fireplace are the new “man cave” for football season. You can invite friends to watch your team in style by a crackling fire.