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With warmer temperatures finally coming around up and down the East Coast, many homeowners are considering the different ways they can enhance their homes and spend more time enjoying the great outdoors. Increasingly, home owners have been turning their focus to decks and patios, as these features provide ample square footage for relaxation and recreation alfresco.

If you appreciate being outside, but are less than thrilled with your house’s current exterior offerings, there are a number of stylish and functional projects you can undertake to effectively improve this aspect of your residence. Choosing to complete any of the following upgrades could greatly be to your benefit.

Simultaneously boost seating, storage
When you imagine entertaining your friends and family outdoors, are you all just standing around? Probably not. If you’re looking to increase the functionality and aesthetic appeal that your deck boasts, a good idea might be the construction of a few stylish seating options, Better Homes and Gardens reported. Covering the tops of the benches and seats with upholstered cushions – and adding a few accent pillows – can increase the comfort that you and your guests enjoy. As an added benefit, these updates can double as storage space, allowing you to hide away objects that are only seldom used, and reduce the amount of trips you have to make into the house while entertaining.

Upgrade railings, accent pieces
An easy way to provide your deck with a fresh new look is by swapping out the old railing and accent features for new, modern styles. Using distressed metal bars as railings can increase the degree of safety that you and your guests enjoy, while offering a contrast to the natural setting. Including this kind of material in the decorations and fixtures as well can create a comprehensive design scheme for the entire outdoor feature.

Create space for flowers, plants
Although your deck is already located outside, there are a number of things you can do to better help the man-made structure blend in with its natural surroundings. One of the best approaches is with the inclusion of strategically placed planters and flower boxes, as they add an attractive splash of color. A great way to do this is by cutting out portions of the deck’s surface and dedicating that space to a flower bed, Houzz noted. By building a garden into a deck, you can enjoy a sense of sophistication and contemporary comfort, as it provides an upscale appearances will allow for adequate draining even during the rainiest seasons.

Create shady areas to escape the sun
While you may venture out of your home’s confines with the hope of enjoying the sun, at times during summertime it can become significantly hot and uncomfortable. For this reason, it may be a good idea to feature a few umbrellas and parasols or have a retractable shade sail installed, according to HouseLogic. Trellises and wooden pergolas offer seasonal solace from the sun, but they can be difficult to maintain and offer little protection at different times of day. As an added advantage, these features can provide ample coverage for those flowers, plants or vegetables that you’re cultivating, which cannot be kept in direct sunlight.

Ready to make these improvements and spend more time outside enjoying the sunshine and warm weather? Poli Mortgage Group can help you finance the cost of doing so. A trusted source of residential lending for over 16 years, we are considered one of the top mortgage lenders on the east coast and maintains an A-plus rating with the Better Business Bureau. Get an instant rate quote online (no personal information required) or give us a call at (866) 353-7654 to speak to a loan officer.