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Maximizing Our Living Area With Outdoor Living Space

by Tara Kuczykowski on June 1, 2011 · 8 comments


While our home is by no means tiny, it's definitely become quite cramped for a growing family of seven. Our goal is to purchase a new home next spring/summer, but in the meantime, we're always looking for ways to creatively stretch our current living space.

It should come as no surprise that this is infinitely easier in the summertime. My talented husband and neighbor built a custom deck on the back of of our house a couple of years ago at a fraction of the cost of hiring a contractor, and another neighbor poured us a gorgeous concrete patio for the mere cost of the concrete and a few cases of beer. Let's hear it for awesome neighbors!

We've furnished this space as an outdoor living area with comfortable couches, chairs and tables, plenty of flowers, and storage chests to hold all of the kids' toys. It's so nice to be able to enjoy the fresh air outside and have the extra room for our rambunctious kids to play. The only problem? The backside of our house gets near constant sunlight from dawn until dusk, and Ohio summers get downright sweltering. But thanks to Walmart, we'll be cool as cucumbers this summer...

Walmart challenged us to upgrade our outdoor space for just $150. I accepted even though I felt like our backyard was pretty much perfect as is -- and I'm so glad I did. As soon as we walked into the Walmart lawn and garden department I spied this gorgeous Canopy 11' Deluxe Offset Umbrella and instantly knew it was just what we needed to complete our outdoor living space.

We took it home, my husband put it together in 15 minutes flat, and we were able to enjoy our Memorial Day festivities in peaceful shade while the kids tossed water balloons and ran through the sprinkler. The single handle makes it easy to adjust the umbrella throughout the day to ensure maximum shade when the sun is at any angle.

I admit that I did cheat a little because the umbrella was priced at $197, but the additional $47 was a small price to pay for the many hours of use we'll get out of it this summer!

Do you use the great outdoors to add some extra livable square footage to your home?

Disclosure: I am a participant in the Walmart Moms program. Walmart has provided me with compensation for the time and effort spent creating this post. However, my participation in this program is voluntary and my opinions are my own -- always have been, always will be.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Paula June 1, 2011 at 8:46 pm

We have a concrete pad in the yard the previous owners were going to build another garage on and never finished. I keep looking at that empty slab thinking there has got to be some potential there.

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2 Tara Kuczykowski June 1, 2011 at 9:09 pm

Oh, I bet one of those tent/gazebo structures would be really nice on it! We got one on clearance super cheap several years ago.

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3 Eileen June 1, 2011 at 9:35 pm

We loved our offset umbrella too, until it fell over in a wind storm one night and broke! Make sure you put it down each night and that it's base is good and heavy. We purchased a different one this year and are hoping it lasts a little longer!

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4 Melissa June 1, 2011 at 11:19 pm

Ditto... the same thing happened to us with our porch tent... it blew away and as the summer is right around the corner... I find myself looking for one again!

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5 Deb June 2, 2011 at 9:21 am

Love your patio furniture and firepit!
I had been eyeing this one gorgeous set at HDepot for weeks last yr when finally I happened to ck on their site one day and it was on sale! I snatched it up immediatey. We've got a sofa, loveseat, table, and umbrella with a ton of cushions. I LOVE it.
You know what I want to add to it? Those cool firepots! I think that will really kick up the coziness :)

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6 Gina June 2, 2011 at 11:18 am

Are these umbrellas moveable? Meaning can I put it by my chairs on on end of the deck and then move it to the picnic table area if we want to eat?

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7 Tara Kuczykowski June 2, 2011 at 5:37 pm

Yep, you have the option of bolting them to concrete, but you can use sandbags or purchase a base to weight it down which will allow you to move it wherever.

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8 Jenn @ Frugal Upstate June 13, 2011 at 2:32 pm

We got an offset umbrella when we purchased all the wood for our deck extension. . . I can't wait to put it up and see how we like ours!

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