Summer starts quickly in Northwest Louisiana, but you still have time to do some work on your backyard patio before the mercury starts to skyrocket. Put a polish on your summer fun with these tips:
- Cover your patio. One of the biggest complaints I hear during the summer is that the Louisiana sun makes sitting on an uncovered porch or patio uncomfortable—so nobody uses that outdoor space all season.
Why waste that space? Your patio should literally be an outdoor room, where your family and friends can comfortably hang out on summer days and evenings. Sheltering it with a solid roof will allow you to sit out there without getting sunburned or wet if it rains.
- Circulate the air. Adding fans on the ceiling and up high on the walls of a covered porch or patio won’t actually make it cooler outdoors, but it will make anyone sitting nearby feel cooler. Circulating the air and creating a gentle breeze can mean the difference between feeling comfortable and avoiding the great outdoors all summer long.
- Screen the space. If bugs are your beef, keep them away from your outdoor “room” by screening it in. You can get screens that are practically invisible, so they don’t block your view. You can have them installed so they’re permanent or so you can roll them up and out of the way when the weather is nicer and pests are scarcer.
- Light things up. You’ll be amazed by how often your family will enjoy your porch or patio after dark once you add lighting. Choose LED lights, which won’t make the space any hotter. Place them on railing posts, pathways and steps. Up-light some of the trees in the yard.
- Accommodate the cook. Turn part of your patio into a full-fledged outdoor kitchen. Build in a nice grill, add some stainless steel counter space where you can prepare food, and install a mini-fridge that’s rated for outdoor use. You can even add some weather-tough, stainless steel shelving or cabinets to store dishes and utensils so your cook doesn’t have to run inside the house as often.
- Shore up your shingles. Hail and high winds can do a lot of damage to roofs and siding. If your home’s exterior is looking worse for the wear, tend to it now. The more time your family spends outdoors on a comfortable patio, the more noticeable an overdue paint job or divots in the siding become. Beautify the outside of your home to increase its curb appeal and give your family a more pleasant view from the outside in.
- Keep the heat outdoors. You can make your place more comfortable on the indoors this summer by replacing the home’s original, single-pane windows with energy-efficient double-pane versions and by updating the doors—including the one leading to the patio—with more efficient models. Add sun screens to windows and skylights, and if your air conditioning system is more than a dozen years old, upgrading to one of the new, high-efficiency models can save you a bundle on your energy bills.