With our summer season as short as it is, Ontarians strive to spend as much time outdoors as possible. These days, backyards offer more than just a patio table and a nice green lawn. Much more actually! Backyard living spaces are becoming an extension of the home itself. Here are some outdoor living trends we’ll be seeing in 2015:

Oversized, comfy furniture: In addition to your patio set, many homeowners are splurging on outdoor furniture complete with thick, colourful cushions and ottomans. The goal here is to create an outdoor room where you can lounge on sunny days and warm evenings. Adding a pergola, arbour or cantilever umbrella can provide some shady relief.

Backyard movies: Who wants to spend a beautiful summer night indoors when you can create your very own “drive-in” movie theatre in your backyard? You can buy a complete outdoor movie kit from companies like Open Air Cinema (www.openaircinema.com) but it will run you around $2,500 – $5,000, depending on the screen size. A more affordable option is to purchase a projector (for around $500), which you can then hook up to your Blue-Ray machine. Screen options are limitless. Purchase an inflatable screen, hang a white sheet or pin up a tarp.

Outdoor kitchens: Often requiring the help of a professional landscape designer, outdoor kitchens can be elaborate or as simple as your budget allows and your preference desires. Key elements include a durable, non-slip ground surface (stone is a good option), good appliances, stainless steel storage drawers and ambience. The sky is the limit with this one!

Fire pits/features: Nothing creates a cozier, more comfortable outdoor space than a burning fire. With a host of striking options on the market today, you can buy fire pits in traditional or contemporary styles or get creative and design and build your own. It’s important to check your local by-laws before making any purchases however – many cities prohibit the use of backyard fire pits.