Get the most of your deck or patio space

When it comes to enjoying leisure time, a growing number of people are staying home and taking full advantage of their decks and patios.

A nationwide poll conducted by the American Home Furnishings Alliance, or AHFA, found that 41 percent of Americans planned to spend less time on vacation this year than they did during 2008 — and 29 percent said they planned to spend all their recreational time at home.

As a result, many are taking stock of their outdoor furnishings and preparing wish lists. When asked what they would choose if they could add one item to enhance their outdoor living spaces, here’s what respondents said:

• A wood-burning or gas fire pit. Create your own campsite, roast S’mores or simply cozy up with friends and family and enjoy the conversation around an outdoor fire pit, which topped the wish list for 31 percent of the survey respondents. It’s an economical way to enjoy vacation-like relaxation at home.

• Comfortable seating. Twenty-nine percent of those polled said the one item they would most like to add to their backyard oasis is either a lounge chair or some other deep-cushioned seating.

• Dining furniture. Third on the list of most-wanted outdoor furnishings was a dining table and chairs, named by 17 percent of survey respondents. Dining alfresco is a great way to bring family and friends together. To truly change the meaning of “a night out,” pick a new cuisine and decorate the table to complete the feel. Pull out the family’s favorite board games over dessert and you have an evening of entertainment.

• Backyard bar. A bar set, chosen by 7 percent, is perhaps the ultimate symbol of group relaxation. Fun is just a moment away when you ice down some beverages, pass the munchies and pull up the bar stools.

“You can have lots of fun turning your outdoor space into a complete family retreat,” AHFA Vice President Jackie Hirschhaut stated in a news release. “Even small changes on a budget can add up to a summer full of fresh air, family time and enjoyment.”