3 Cool Trends Designed to Make Your Summer Sizzle Fire Pits Even on a warm summer night, there’s something enchanting about sitting around a fire in a comfy backyard space. Whether you choose have something built, make a DIY project out of it and bring to life your own unique creation, or buy something portable at a home and garden store, a fire pit can take your backyard from nice to magical. With fire pits quickly gaining popularity, it’s easy to find ideas, designs, and options in a range of sizes and styles to fit your needs, from simple to elaborate.

While adding a fire pit can be relatively inexpensive, bigger isn’t necessarily better. Don’t neglect the importance of scale. You want your new addition to be large enough to provide warmth, light and ambiance, but not too big that it overwhelms the space. It’s also incredibly important to remember to keep flames away from combustible surfaces, like furniture or stored wood, and never leave your fire unattended, especially when there are small children or animals around. Lastly, make sure there’s a fire extinguisher nearby.

Lighting On a beautiful summer night, who wants to go inside when the sun goes down? Strategically placed lighting can help keep your outdoor living space safe and inviting well into the evening. Outdoor floor and table lamps, made specifically for use in all weather, can make your outdoor space look and feel like your cozy family room, den or kitchen.

Homeowners are also getting very creative in using low-voltage mini lights, concealed in trees, under steps, railings or benches to light decks, porches and patios. Additionally, they are using spotlights in trees and point the illumination toward your outdoor living space, giving it an even warmer glow with non-direct light. Solar lights are also a great option for outdoors, since they cost nothing to operate and create a softer light than traditional electric bulbs. Plus, they’re easy to install and can add a splash of light exactly where it’s needed.

Outdoor Kitchens While this trend started some time ago, it’s still going strong. No longer do the cooks or barbeque masters have to stand by a lone gas grill, or worse, inside by a hot stove. Many homeowners are finding ways to replicate entire indoor kitchens in their backyard, complete with refrigerator, food preparation counter, bar, sink, grill or oven, and even a fireplace or pizza oven.

The outdoor kitchen has made its mark as a foundational element in creating a space where family and friends gather and mingle while meals are being prepared. Plus, when there’s an outdoor kitchen, everyone seems more likely to linger long after all the food is gone.