Warm Weather's Here: Get Your Patio Primed!
5 steps to put some spring in your outdooor space
From an itty-bitty balcony to a full-scale backyard BBQ retreat, no matter what size your outdoor space, there are plenty of ways to perk up your patio this spring. Check out the following tips to get your outdoor space ready for entertaining.
Get your gleam on
First things first: get everything cleaned up. Even without purchasing accessories or doing any decorating, a good spring cleaning works wonders in freshening up a space and making everything look new.
Uncover furniture or bring it out from storage. Wipe everything down with a soft cloth, and then use a gentle detergent to get the dust and grime off of your patio furniture; some of the sturdier pieces can even stand up to a power washer (keep in mind, pressure washers can also damage certain types of materials—if you’re unsure, test a small patch on an inconspicuous area first).
Wash your porch windows and clean your insect screens (need tips? Check out our blog!). Leaf blow or sweep floors; power wash where it is appropriate. Replace any broken or damaged tiles.
Uncover the grill and wipe down all surfaces with a dry cloth, removing pollen, dirt, or other debris; follow manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning the grates and burners. Reconnect the propane tank (or get a new bag of charcoal), and give any grill tools a good scrub.
And now that the dirty work is done…on to the “fun” stuff!
Color me beautiful
Textiles are a great way to add color to a space—and unlike paint, they are easily changed out or mixed and matched to reflect current trends.
Gone are the days of garish, stiff, plasticky coverings—today’s weather-resistant outdoor fabrics blend form and function. Use throw pillows in a combination of solids and patterns; add overstuffed ottomans and large pillows for additional seating.
A colorful rug provides a visual center for your area and can tie your outdoor room together. Want to stretch the budget even further? Take an inexpensive plain rug and enhance it with a stencil and paint.
You can also have Mother Nature (color) scheme with you! Extend your theme to patio pots. By coordinating your plantings with outdoor fabrics and furnishings, you can add depth and bring balance and serenity to the space.
Need some inspiration for your theme? Pantone’s Color of the Year for 2017 is Greenery (15-0343)—talk about a blend of nature and color theory! Called “nature’s neutral,” Greenery is a fresh yellow-green shade that evokes revival, renewal, and reinvigoration. A “versatile trans-seasonal shade that lends itself to many color combinations,” it can pair well with neutrals, brights, deeper shades, pastels, and metallics.
A bright idea
One of the easiest ways to make a dramatic impact on an outdoor space of any size is with lighting.
A budget-friendly option is string lights—they are excellent for small patios or balconies, and also look great on a pergola, in an outdoor kitchen, or strung around the pool area.
If you have a flair for the dramatic, bring on the bling in your outdoor room with a crystal chandelier over the table. You needn’t even hot-wire electrical fixtures—indoor/outdoor battery-operated (or solar) fairy lights (or twinkle lights) add sparkle and romance.
Lanterns, torches, and candles are also great for light and ambience—and, unlike regular fixtures or electric string lights, they are portable. Try using flameless battery-operated candles or solar candles on a timer in your lanterns for a safe, no-fuss, set-it-and-forget-it source of light.
A fire pit serves as both a lighting element and a decorative focal point, as well as makes for a warm, inviting space on chilly evenings (and, for our warm-weather readers, creates a festive bonfire-like ambience even when the nighttime temperature is moderate). A fire pit will help you relax, and will help initiate conversation between you and your guests.
Liven it up
One deliciously decorative idea is to use edibles as accents. Plant a selection of herbs and garnishes or vegetables such as tomatoes, dwarf eggplants, or peppers in patio pots. Use pansy bowls or long and low deck-box-style planters to make living centerpieces; taller pots can serve as accents around the deck or patio.
Fab furniture and flea market finds
Sometimes all it takes to bring new life to a space is some elbow grease and paint. Get into the upcycle movement and repurpose flea-market finds, such as using old metal bed frames as outdoor seating surfaces.
Everyday discarded items make great accent pieces, too—turn an old wheelbarrow or a kids’ wagon into a patio pot filled with flowers. Make a hanging planter with an old tire, some sprain paint, and rope. Wooden pallets are great starting points for making all types of functional items—from chairs and benches, to tables, dog beds, and garden workstations.
Get the most out of your furniture by selecting pieces that can multitask. For example, take an upright potting bench, give it a coat of fashionable paint (Greenery, anyone?), and it can easily do double duty as a sideboard or drink cart ideal for entertaining.
Not only will you have functional décor, you’ll also have fresh produce right outside your door. It’s a great interactive way to get your guests (or kids) involved with dinner prep. And, as an added bonus, your garden will be easy to move during inclement weather to help protect it! No more losing your future salsa ingredients to an ill-timed summer hail storm.