Summer is just about over but that doesn’t mean you can’t take some time to make your space personal.  Here are some ideas to get your creative juices flowing:

1. Liveable Outdoor Spaces
Many homeowners in San Diego are treating their patios and backyards like another room of the house by adding outdoor kitchens with pizza ovens and using decorative planters and garden art to put their unique stamp on the space.  How can you make your space more liveable?

Add a Deck or Patio
Great for entertaining or for lounging during your free time, a deck or patio is a must-have feature.  If natural stone or brick patio pavers are out of your budget, consider concrete pavers – a budget-friendly alternative.

Enhance your Lighting
Set the mood and enjoy your patio in the evening with the right lighting.  LED and solar are becoming increasingly popular (I use them for path lighting and they work great) – use strings of lights, torches or LED glass pavers that can be incorporated into the hardscape.  Home improvement stores like Lowe’s and Ace have lighting on sale since it’s end of summer. 😉

Think comfort
Homeowners are turning their patios into outdoor living rooms – with oversized sofas, armchairs and tables made for the outdoors.  You can find great deals on outdoor/patio furniture at Pier One and Bed Bath and Beyond right now.

2.  Low-Maintenance Landscapes
Water conservation efforts in California are prompting many homeowners to make their landscapes drought-tolerant.  One of the benefits of these landscapes is they require lower maintenance.  Plants that are normally found in San Diego have adopted to the soil, water and weather patterns that we’re accustomed to.  This makes them easier to care for than non-native species.

Xeriscaping utilizes low-water plants, native grasses, mulch and other elements to create a low water, low-maintenance landscape.  Even the use of artificial turf can really make a difference – it look s like grass but requires less maintenance than water.  My friend Brandon redid his backyard with some artificial turf and it really looks impressive.

3.  Gardening for Wellness
It’s no secret that whole foods are the key to good health – many people have turned to their own yards to grow the fruits and vegetables for good nutirition.  Not only are you able to see the fruits of your labor grow and flourish, but gardening can also burn up to 400 calories in an hour — depending on how hard you work!  Get growing!

Prepare your Soil
Healthy, fertile, well-dreained soil yields healthy plants.  To see if your soil is healthy, dig a hole and look for earthworms.  It’s likely you won’t see many since our environment is arid – but that’s okay…just pick up a bag of potting soil and be sure to water your plants on a daily basis.

Plant what you Love
If you’re not familiar with the names, visit a nursery or home improvement store.  Make a list of fruits and vegetables that will thrive in our climate, including tomatoes, squash, zuchini, oranges and lemons.  We harvest dozens of tomatoes each week during the season.

No yard, no Problem
Even if you don’t have the yard to grow a garden, grow what you love in containers – find a sunny spot on your deck, patio or in the window, and arrange your portable garden for optimal light.

These are just a few tips to get you going – check out some home garden magazines or catch a show on HDTV.  You never know where your next great idea will come from!