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Easy Outdoor Spring Spruce Ups

If your family backyard could use a little lift, check out these fresh home trends, improvements and projects for parents from Lowe's

Looking for the hottest trends in outdoor living this year? Colleen Carbott, a spokesperson for Lowe's, gives the run-down on what's in this season, and how you can match the styles at your house – without spending a fortune.

What's hot for the outdoors?

  • Container gardens. Forget digging up a garden spot. Instead, people are buying containers so that they can place the "garden" wherever they want.
  • Outdoor 'rooms.' Create an outdoor oasis by choosing high quality rugs, weather-resistant fabrics on furniture and cozy chairs.
  • Brighten night. With more and more people entertaining outside, lighting designers are making more options available. After all, you need to be able to see to cook and serve your meals in your outdoor oasis.
  • Cooking as entertainment. We're all familiar with the outdoor barbecue, but today people are taking it a step farther by having guests help prep dishes and meals together – before it goes on the grill.
  • Faking it. More consumers are buying patio sets that "look" like real wood and buying lightweight containers that appear to be aged metal, terracotta or even river rock. These imitations are easier to maintain – and a lot less expensive than the real deal.
  • More color. Bright accents via planters, patio rugs and outdoor pillows are a must. Of course, the vibrant color choices with flowers are part of the décor, too!

Quick ways to improve your space

  • Light it! Stay outside well into the night by purchasing the right kind of outdoor lighting. Bright lights are out in favor of more muted options. And solar lighting is quickly becoming a popular choice among consumers. Big bonus: No need to search for an outdoor electric outlet!
  • Keep it private. Make your outdoor space feel more secluded by adding fabric panels, movable screens or additional fencing.
  • Make it last. Patio furnishings that withstand the weather are also a must-have item. You might pay a little more for these durable goods, but they'll last a lot longer.
  • Have it flow. Outdoor spaces are now considered part of the house, not separate from it. Try to think of ways to make your outdoor area feel more connected to the inside.
  • Up the cozy factor. Colorful pillows, throws, rugs and all the elements that you add to decorate your indoor living space can be simple to add to your outdoor space, too.
  • Work it! Many outdoor furniture pieces can function in different ways, from coffee tables that can also be beverage coolers to serving tables that can fold down once the meal is over. Look for these multi-use furnishings to make the most of your space (and budget).
  • Accentuate the positive. If you have a beautiful garden or great views, make sure to highlight those features with your lighting or even the placement of your patio seating.

Weekend projects

Make the most of your time – and budget – with these ideas from the Lowe's Creative Ideas Team.

Solar planters

  1. Start with a beautiful planter and fill it with tall grasses or other vertical plantings.
  2. Stake solar tiki torch lights into the soil, positioning them as you like.
  3. Locate the planter on your deck, patio, along a pathway or at the end of your drive.

Estimated cost: $65

Lowe's list: Solar tiki torch light sets (#4218), Medona planter (#229283), ornamental grass

Paint a rug

Add color and charm to porch floors with a painted rug. It's so easy when you use the existing wood planks of the porch floor as a painting guide for the stripes. For durability, be sure to use porch and floor paint.

  1. Prepare the wood surface: Use a wire brush or scraper to remove chipped or peeling paint. Sand old or repaired wood. Clean the surface. Warning: Old paint may contain lead.
  2. Determine the size of your rug, palette, and pattern. Use painter's tape to outline the perimeter of your design.
  3. Prime any bare wood with an enamel under-coater, and then let dry for 24 hours.
  4. Apply base coat over the designated area; then let dry for 24 hours.
  5. Using the planks as guides, paint the stripes. Let dry for 24 hours. Wait at least seven days before washing.

Estimated cost: $35

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