Books on Monday
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BookS on MondaY: Guest Post~Creating the Perfect Outdoor Reading Space

By Leslie Lindsay 

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been getting these gorgeous catalogs from Frontgate, PotteryBarn and Ballard Designs with the most to-die-for outdoor seating areas. For a brief moment, I am transported to the backyard oasis of my dreams with a book in hand. But when I look out my window, I see brown (getting greener by the day, though), and desolate flower beds.

And then Jen Altrogee came to me with this stunning how-to; transforming those brambles and brown into a world glittering with color and books.

I’m honored to welcome Jen to the blog and to share her lovely article on creating outdoor reading spaces. Roll up your sleeves and dig in!


“Unless you live in Miami or San Francisco, you’re most likely over winter. Over the cold, wind chill, and slush.

In preparation for the warmer weather, I am going to give you 5 tips for creating the perfect outdoor reading space that will serve you from spring to fall (and possibly well into winter depending on how far south you live).



Finding the perfect spot for making a cozy reading corner is key. If your yard lacks mature trees, consider buying one, or more. There’s a lot of selection here and they’re shipped for free.

If your space is built around the right tree it will make a big difference. You’ll appreciate the beauty of the buds and flowers in spring, the shade in the heat of summer, and the changing leaves in fall.


bougainville hammock natural.jpg

You don’t have to have tons to invest in lawn furniture, but I’d recommend thinking through the pieces you buy. If you are unable to buy new, consider purchasing pieces from yard sales, Goodwill, or Craigslist.

The most important piece is a comfy chair. This will determine just how long you will cozy-up with a book out back. If you really want to invest, you could find a hammock to hang between two trees.

You’ll also want a coffee table or an end table to set your stuff on: drinks, books, and tablet. The little things will add a nice touch.

If you buy furniture secondhand, you can always spray paint it a fresh color to make it look as good as new. You can also purchase new cushions to totally makeover your pieces.

When it comes to colors and textures, I prefer to keep it natural outdoors, with a little pop of color here and there. Use fabrics that are made to stand up to the elements and dirt and outdoors.


Here is where you can invest a lot or a little. Even just a couple potted plants and mulch will really create a space.

If you have a green thumb, you can put even more time, thought, and planning into this project. Re-plant plants from other parts of your yard or get excess from friends. Skilled gardeners will have lots of annuals to go around.


Nothing is better than reading outside, than reading outside with the calming sound of water in the background. Think about the effect the sound of rain or a thunderstorm has on your mood.

Any home store will have a wide variety of water features. This is another item you can consider purchasing second hand.

Another element that will round out your space is fire. Consider taking a Saturday morning to build a firepit that will warm up your space on cooler days. images (7)


Lighting is a subtle way to add ambience. Even though you’re not going to be reading in the thick of night, light adds a nice touch from stringed bulbs to mosquito-repellant candles to lanterns. They’re inexpensive, but will have a big effect.


As you can see, no matter your budget, you can take a space in your backyard and turn it into a cozy reading spot. By following these 5 tips, it’ll be a place you’ll never want to leave.

How about you? What are your tips for creating your own outdoor reading space?

Bio: cropped-jen-1Jen Altrogge is a wife, mother, and writer. You can find out more about her at her website.

[Special thanks to Jen Altrogee. Author image and bio provided by author. Top most image retrieved from. Tree image retrieved from. Hammock from. Firepit from. All images retrieved on 3.17.16]



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