Photo: Randy Fath / Unsplash
By Leigha Staffenhagen
You’ve been dreaming about it all winter: long summer days spent at the cabin with the whole family enjoying quality time together. Maybe you’re sunbathing at the lake, cooking a massive BBQ dinner, or enjoying s’mores by the fire.
No matter what your version of hanging out at the family cabin looks like, chances are your cabin’s outdoor space could use a little TLC. Spring is right around the corner, after all!
1. Invest in a Covered Hangout Space
By investing in a pergola or gazebo, you’re creating a designated hangout space that the whole family will flock to. During the day, covered spaces offer a much-needed escape from the sun, and at night they’re the place everyone gathers to wind down. Before you know it, some of your best cabin memories will happen under the pergola.
2. Keep It Warm and Cozy With an Outdoor Fireplace
Sure, fire pits are great to hang out around with friends and family, but what about stepping up your space with an outdoor fireplace? An outdoor fireplace provides you with all the benefits of a fire pit, but they’re generally safer and if you opt for an electric option, they’re more eco-friendly, too! Not to mention, outdoor fireplaces can be quite beautiful, and can take your outdoor space from bland to architecturally brilliant.
3. Clean Up Leaves & Debris
If your cabin is a traditional “out in the middle of the woods” type, chances are you have a ton of leaves and debris cluttering up your outdoor space. Before the sunny seasons start, take a few hours and tidy it up! You’ll be surprised at just how much of a difference it makes. It is a great addition to your compost pile or, you can stash it away for summer bonfires.
4. Beautify Your Deck With Flowers
Nothing is quite as welcoming to guests as a deck or entryway decorated with bright and colorful flowers! If your cabin is in the woods, your soil probably isn’t the most fertile, so planting flowers directly in the ground might not be accessible for you.
However, raised garden beds or large galvanized planters filled with potting soil allow you to have healthy flowers that will happily grow at your cabin. If you don’t have a ton of space on your deck, consider building your own deck railing planters to optimize the space that you do have.
5. Build an Outdoor Shower
If you’re lucky enough to have a cabin on the water, you’ve probably dealt with guests that love to track in wet, dirty feet. Make that a problem, of the past with your very own outdoor shower. Not only will this keep your indoor floors clean and dry, guests will appreciate the novelty, almost luxury, experience.
6. Establish a Clear Pathway & Illuminate It
When you’re used to street and city lights, it's easy to forget just how dark it gets out in the woods! By establishing a clear, illuminated pathway, your guests can safely get from the outdoors to the house without having to bring a flashlight everywhere they go. Considering investing in a set of solar path lights. They don’t require a bunch of electrical work and are charged by the sun all day to light up when it’s dark.
7. Bring the Family Together With an Outdoor Couch
There’s nothing quite like bringing the whole family together, especially on a huge outdoor couch. There are a variety of outdoor couches available online, but if you’re feeling creative, you can build your own pallet couch for just $40.
8. Or, Keep It Light and Breezy With Hammock Chairs
That being said, the teenagers might be stubborn and want a chair that is all theirs. Hammock chairs are so comfy and fun and will offer guests a seating alternative. Nothing says long summer nights like swinging back and forth with the warmth of the fire keeping you toasty.
Photo: Kristin Ellis / Unsplash
9. Brighten Up the Woods at Night With Solar Lights
Solar lights are great because they won’t add anything to your electric bill, and many of them are completely automated; charging during the day, turning on when it's dark, and turning off when the sun rises.
Solar string lights, in particular, add a warm ambiance that helps set a relaxed mood to end the day. Add solar string lights to your deck or pergola and light up you little piece of wooded paradise.
10. Keep Blankets and Pillows Easily Accessible
When it starts getting chilly as the night settles in, having warm blankets and pillows at an arm's length will keep guests feeling cozy. Who says the party has to end just because it’s getting late?
Bio: Leigha Staffenhagen is the managing editor of Insteading.com, a homesteading and sustainability site focused on everything from gardening and raising chickens to off-grid living and tiny homes.