Outdoor living

Garden: Create a Cozy Outdoor Living Space

Outdoor living

Cary, NC — There’s something so comforting about a living room or den–comfy couches, chairs, lamps, picture frames and more make it your personal, safe space. Here are some quick tips to help you create that same feeling outside on your porch or in your garden.

Create a Cozy Outdoor Living Space

It’s the hottest part of the summer here in Cary and the perfect time to create an outdoor living space that you love. Whether you have a front porch, a back porch, a small deck, a yard or all of the above, you can turn any outdoor area into the perfect place to relax on summer nights.

Get started on your outdoor oasis now so it’ll be ready to enjoy in the mild temperatures of fall.

Elements Create Coziness

There are many different kinds of outdoor living spaces, but five different elements can be used individually or together to create the cozy feeling of an indoor den.


It’d be silly to leave plants out of your outdoor space, right? Even though you’ll mimic decorations normally found indoors to create a cozy outdoor space, plants always give spaces a homey feeling, inside or outside. I love my silverdust plant, seen hanging in an orange planter, below.

The white-green colors of its leaves make it a creative-looking plant in the daytime and give it a glowing appearance at night. The iron structure from which it hangs is very decorative and, to me, mimics the look of items you’d also see inside a house.

Outdoor Living

Rose bushes, or other large plants, can make natural “walls” for an outdoor space.

The rose bushes planted behind my planter are so large that they create a natural wall or a sense of privacy. This is yet another way to use plants in an outdoor living space.


Particularly for nighttime entertaining on a back porch or patio, you’ll want a light source other than the bright lights that are already installed. Flood lights or porch lights can be harsh, un-flattering or bright, and they may attract bugs. I was excited to find this whimsical alternative.

Outdoor Living

These small, solar-powered lights are like lamps for outdoor spaces.

These small, solar-powered lights come on a stake in different shapes and create a small, white glow. You simply insert the stake into the soil of a nearby planter, make sure the energy receiver is pointing upwards and then enjoy a romantic, peaceful alternative light source at night.

I placed my light near a chair–believe it or not, this little bird gives me enough light to read by!

Area Rugs & Door Mats

Now that you’ve replaced overhead lights with the outdoor equivalent of lamps, it’s time to add another homey element that you likely already have in your house–a rug.

Outdoor Living

Place a “rug” under your back porch table…

Outdoor Living

…or on your deck, in front of your back door.

Whether you buy a large, water-resistant rug to cover your entire porch or a small “welcome mat” style entryway piece, this addition makes the outdoors feel more like the indoors.


If you have room for outdoor furniture, consider it if you haven’t already made it a part of your outdoor living space. These pieces are big and comfy, so they encourage guests to sit down and stay awhile. Better yet, this set came with two end tables and a “coffee table.”

The glass tops on the tables mimic indoor furniture and create durability.

Outdoor Living

Large, cushioned furniture makes an outdoor space inviting.

Don’t have a porch, a covered space or a deck? Don’t worry. The cozy feeling of an outdoor living space can also be created in your yard. Below, you’ll see that outdoor furniture as simple as a lawn chair and bistro table can create a living area outside.

Fill the surrounding area with trees and plants for shade and privacy.

Outdoor Living

No porch or deck? No problem.

Art & Favorite Things

If you found the other elements fun, you’ll definitely enjoy this part.

The key to creating an outdoor living space you’ll love is simple–just fill it with things you love. Decorate a sheltered porch or deck with hanging lights, vintage metal signs and knick-knacks.

Outdoor Living

Some thrift shopping is all you need to do to find inexpensive “art” for your walls.

You can use special, weatherproof tokens you already have or do a little thrift shopping to find abandoned treasures to use as outdoor art.


Story and photos by Jessica Patrick.


The garden column is sponsored in part by Garden Supply Co. on Old Apex Road in Cary.