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With a little bit of effort, your backyard can actually become an extension of your inside space. Since summers don’t last as long as we’d like them to in Canada, it’s important to use our outside areas as much as possible.

Even if you don’t have a large yard, you can make even the smallest nook into a cozy, outdoor oasis where you can relax, unwind and enjoy a few beverages on a warm summer evening.

Have a look at these eight ideas that will turn your green space into a place you and your family will love to spend time.

Pergola with panache. If you’re lucky enough to have a pergola, adding some curtains to each corner will instantly create a feeling of luxury. Just make sure they’re UV resistant. They will also provide you with added privacy.

Tropical plants. Your normally-indoor tropical plants will love being outside in the summer and they will mesh well with your outdoor furniture and give your space added life.

A beachy twist. You can bring the beach to your backyard by adding a couple hammocks, sunbrellas, brightly coloured chairs and accessories like throw pillows.

Zentastic. Adding some succulents in square pots along with a soothing fountain, and accessories that are natural and neutral, will give you a lovely Zen-like meditative space. Some soothing, outdoor lighting will make it a place you can go in the evening, too.

A classy carpet. Nothing jazzes up an outdoor space more than the perfect indoor/outdoor rug, which can pull everything together and give your area texture and a burst of colour—not to mention it can feel great on bare feet.

Eclectic furniture. Have some fun redoing your backyard. Not everything has to match. In fact, repurposing some of your indoor pieces you were thinking of donating may be just what your space needs. You can turn that old side table into an outdoor bar area. With a little imagination, the sky’s the limit.

Add a little vine. Training a vine to frame an entrance or to highlight a fence is a pretty way to add detail without spending a fortune. Clematis will make the space pop with beautiful blooms that produce many buds all season long.

Outdoor art. There is nothing that says you can’t hang some of your favourite photos, paintings or prints outside. Prints behind plexiglass are great outdoors. Just keep the fine art pieces inside because you don’t want to risk damaging them.