Valentine’s Day Outdoor Space Ideas

Romantic Gestures That Keep on Giving (Unlike Cut Flowers)

Photo of Kelly R. Smith   by Kelly R. Smith
Lilies blooming in the flower bed
Lilies blooming in the flower bed
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Valentine’s Day is a perfect example of a holiday that inspires us to redesign spaces inside and outside our homes. Designing an outdoor space for a Valentine’s Day gift or parties and celebrations can be a lasting surprise for someone that you care about pleasing. Many gardeners remind us that Valentine’s Day is the time to trim our rose bushes so that choice makes perfect sense.

Any climate-appropriate plants are a great way to improve the look of your yard, flower bed, garden, or outdoor living space. Here are a few plant, seating, and lighting ideas that can help you design the space of your dreams at this time of year when nature is just busting out. Just think of it as the opportunity to tackle that list of new year’s DIY projects!

Choosing the Perfect Flower

Almost every woman that I’ve ever met loves to get flowers on Valentine’s Day, and some would far rather receive something living that will bloom on more than just that one day. After all, why limit yourself to a wilting bouquet when you can have cut flowers on a regular basis?



Many of us don’t mind caring for the flower or floral arrangement minimally, either, especially during the mild spring and fall months. Annuals, such as the coriopsis below, are very hardy and come back year after year once established. Our bird friends help to distribute the thistle seeds so keep those bird feeders full.

Coriopsis flowers in full bloom
Coriopsis flowers in full bloom

It goes without saying that the perfect flower species should be designed to suit your climate, sunlight requirements, and of course, soil conditions. If you are unsure of this type of information, talk to someone in a garden center, nursery, or plant retailer for more details. If your community is lucky enough to have a Master Gardener group, they are very knowledgeable about local plants and are generally very free with their information. Most even conduct indigenous plant and tree sales in the spring.

One useful tip is to find out her favorite color, and keep in mind how much time and energy will need to be devoted to caring for the plant. Design your outdoor Valentine’s Day surprise with this basic information in mind, so that you can be sure that your significant other will appreciate what you have created.

Find accents and accessories for the space in the favorite color if you cannot find in-season plants that are blooming for this special occasion, such as lighting, flags, decorations, water features (ponds, fountains), and similar items designed for outdoor use. These all are animal-friendly and count towards your nature-conservation efforts.

Choosing Outdoor Seating Arrangements

If the space is large enough, why not consider adding seating to your outdoor space to create the romantic environment this day is known for inspiring.

A great garden bench is a wonderful idea, so that two can sit comfortably, but be sure that any seating arrangement you choose is intended for use outdoors, including fabric choices. Marketing claims are not always what they seem. If you have a homeowners association, check to ensure that your project falls under their (often unreasonable) guidelines. A garden bench with storage such as the one shown below, doubles as a spot to keep your gardening tools.

High-quality and functional furniture will ensure that your gift lasts much longer, and the durable and beautiful addition will add monetary and aesthetic value to your home. We can’t say enough about home equity, can we?

Your seating needs to strike a balance; make it comfortable without presenting health risks. Select fabrics that are specifically designed and treated for outdoor use, so that the fabric does not mildew or mold after the first hint of condensation or dew.



Choosing Exterior Lighting

You may or may not be spending a significant amount of time in your space outdoors after the sun sets, but adding exterior lighting changes that parameter and gives you that opportunity should you desire to sit, entertain, and relax after the sun has gone down. A simple lantern, LED spotlight, or a couple of Tiki torches for the space is ideal for most arrangements.

The right combination and choice of illumination will add that perfect touch of light for a romantic rendezvous, this Valentine’s Day and into the foreseeable future. Certain lighting resembles candlelight, which is the most popular lighting for romance, so you can’t go wrong with a hint of light that doesn’t cost you an abundance of time, energy, or money to purchase or install.

Finally, if you really want to go big when you consider Valentine’s Day outdoor space ideas, think about a relaxing backyard deck. Springtime and income tax returns are coming; hint, hint.

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About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.

Birthday and Christmas Gifts for Runners and Fitness Enthusiasts

by Kelly R. Smith

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Best Christmas gifts for runners and fitness enthusiasts
Best Christmas gifts for runners and fitness enthusiasts

Everyone loves gifts. It’s better to give than to receive. What do you give the person that has everything? All very true, but when it comes to birthday and Christmas gifts for runners and fitness enthusiasts, there’s always something new on the market. Marketers know that running gear and gadgets are powerful motivators and that is a good thing for gift-givers. So, how to choose?

Cold Weather running Gear

The weather outside is frightful, as the song says. Well, maybe not so much here in South Texas, but there’s the odd 40° morning here and there. Given that many runners are smack dab in the middle of training for a winter marathon, some cold weather gear is in order.

  • Compression Arm sleeves. You might have heard them called sports sleeves. They’re really getting to be a thing for those of us who are thermally challenged. They might look odd, but so were Bluetooth ear buds when they first came out; go figure. Compression arm sleeves can be handy when a runner’s core temperature doesn’t warrant a long-sleeved shirt isn’t needed; just go with a singlet and sleeves.
  • Technical running gloves or mittens. These work in our area since you can wear them when you head out in cold running weather, and then take them off and tuck them into your waistband when you warm up or catch a tailwind.
  • Running jacket. Although any windbreaker will do the job, a specialized running jacket is preferable because it’s engineered for the job — pockets, detachable hood, water-repellent, etc. I bought the Adidas Men’s Running Supernova Tokyo Jacket last winter; here is my running jacket review.

Christmas Gifts that Keep on Giving all Year Long

Some fitness gear spans all the seasons. that’s a good thing. Check these out.

  • Water bottles and hydration devices. Hydrate or die is the phrase that springs to mind. This market has really expanded with customers involved in all sports. The most basic variety is the hand-held. Then there’s the one I like, the Fuelbelt Sprint 10-ounce Palm Holder with Pocket. It’s a regular bottle but it comes with a cushioned strap. This means you don’t have to keep a tight grip on it as the miles roll by. CamelBak “backpacks” used to be just a cycling thing, but more and more runners are wearing them. I suppose they would be handy for fastpacking, but it seems a little extreme otherwise. Plus, in the summer it reduces available exposed skin area for cooling by evaporation.
  • Running safety gear. This is one item that’s isn’t used as much as it should be. We train on the roads and we sometimes get out there in the dark; people drive disconnected, what with texting and such behavior. Obviously, despite all cautions taken, runners and cyclists do get hit. At the very least have your contact information available. I’ve been wearing a Road ID emergency information bracelet for years now. Its got a metal tag stamped with my name, address, two contact phone numbers, and my blood pressure medication.
  • Technical running socks. Unless you’re a barefoot runner, you’re always going to need a pair or two in the drawer and one on your feet. Shop for socks that are specifically designed for running to minimize the chance of blisters.
  • Body Glide or another anti-chafe lubricant. Back in the day we had to settle for Vaseline. It worked but was temperamental on very cold or very hot days and what ratio of days does that constitute in your world? And, it stained clothes. No more; now we’ve got Body Glide, possibly the most effective anti-chafing product available. It comes in a handy applicator resembling a deodorant stick. No more dipping your fingers into the Vaseline tub.


Hopefully, this article provided a good jumping off point in terms of ideas for birthday and Christmas gifts for the runners and fitness enthusiasts in your life. The good thing is that they are all functional and sure to be appreciated.

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Did you find this article helpful? Millions of readers rely on information on this blog and our main site to stay informed and find meaningful solutions. Please chip in as little as $3 to keep this site free for all.

 





About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.