10 Weeks to a Dream Outdoor Space: Lists, Supplies and Planning

Apartment Therapy's Guide to the Perfect Summer

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Last week we had you think about your future dream outdoor space — what sort of style it might be, what sort of dreamy and relaxing elements it might have. This week, it's time to get a little down and dirty. You're gonna survey what you have, what needs to be done, and make some lists so that you can start tackling tasks for a dream outdoor space!

This week, make plans, lists and gather supplies:

Go out into your outdoor area, no matter how big or small, and survey how it is today.

What needs to be cleaned? Examples are not just sweeping, but power-washing the sides of your house, cleaning windows, scrubbing furniture and more. Divide the list into simple tasks (things you could do today with the cleaning supplies and tools you have on hand) and more involved tasks (the sort of projects that will require you to rent or purchase additional tools or supplies to complete).

What needs to be repaired? Even if you rent, you're going to want to make a list of things that need repairing (just instead of tackling the list yourself, you'll hand it off to a landlord). Write down everything — from small tasks like replacing a light bulb to big things like fixing a leak in your patio roof. Consider organizing this list by priority — projects that need completing because they are damaging your home come first, then you should tackle projects that you know will help get you to your dream outdoor space (like you'd like to lounge but you need to repair or clean your broken lounge chairs first).

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Now put your brainstorming cap on for the design portion of your space
While looking at your inspiration photos of dream spaces, you probably got inspired of projects you might tackle or items you might buy. Now's the time to start looking around for the big pieces and elements that will set the tone for your space.

Start from the bottom up. What sort of materials would you like to see underfoot? A rug? Add it to your list. Next, consider furniture. Go back to those two functions you decided on last week — what kind of furniture do those functions need to be successful? Make a list of what you need. Don't forget to add to your list the furniture you might already have (even if it doesn't look quite like how you might like).We'll cover lighting and accessories in future posts, so feel free to wait on those (but we won't fault you if you get ahead of yourself and start looking around).

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Now break that list into buy and DIY
Now it's time for your fingers do some researching. Go back to that list of style terms and dream elements that you decided on last week and start looking for both DIY projects and products you can buy that match the needs on the list you just made with the dreamy elements and style prompts you had last week. If you're ready to buy, go for it! If you want to DIY, plan those projects out today — what you'll need, what you'll have to do — so that you'll be ready to start next weekend. If you want to get a jump-start, gather the supplies and materials you need for your DIY projects this weekend.

Gather supplies
Go back to your in-depth cleaning and repair lists — what do you need to complete those tasks? Get that stuff this weekend so you're ready and raring to go next weekend.

Finally, tackle some light cleaning this weekend.
Do any cleaning that you can do with the tools and supplies you have, even tackling some small repair jobs if you have the time. Consider this a sort of bonus, get-ahead round. Next weekend you'll be doing a lot of heavy cleaning and DIYing, but anything you can do today will set you on the right path!

By the end of this weekend, have:

  • A list of things that need to be cleaned and repaired
  • A list of big furniture and design elements you'd like to buy
  • A list of a handful of DIY projects you'd like to tackle
  • All the supplies bought or gathered for your repair and cleaning tasks
  • All the supplies bought or gathered for your planned DIY projects

Start here for inspiration:

Buy

DIY


Visit the Guide to the Perfect Summer main page for links to all of the posts published so far or sign up to have them delivered directly to you each weekend.

(Image credits: Stacey Brandford for House Beautiful; Alexis Buryk; Adrienne Breaux; Janel Laban)

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