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Creating Patios that Serve as Gathering Spaces

Spring is well underway, and summer is just around the corner: How does your patio shape up? If it looks a bit rough around the edges, sparse or outdated, you may want to make it more welcoming. It does not have to cost you a small fortune, as there are many exciting, inexpensive backyard patio ideas that will refresh your outdoor patio and turn it into a fabulous gathering space.

How Can I Perk Up a Small Patio?

If you have a smaller space, you can start by adding a trellis around it for an attractive border. Choose some well-made, well-priced patio furniture that will fit in the area. A charming bistro table set and a matching umbrella could create a romantic little nook for you and your loved ones. Just make sure you leave enough room to move about comfortably.

If you want to be even more creative, you can paint the patio floor, if it is made out of concrete. Older patio furniture can be given new life with a can of spray paint as long as you buy the right kind. You may also need primer and paint brushes for a project like this. Also remember to put some thought into the outdoor lighting and sound setup on your patio. Candle lanterns and string lights will make things look more inviting, and Wi-Fi speakers can add background music.

Small patios can also be given new life by adding water features. Small patio fountains can go a long way toward creating ambiance. Buy a fountain pump from a garden center and place it in an urn. Surround it with some pretty flowering plants, and voila! –you have created a miniature, relaxing oasis.

More Backyard Patio Ideas

Midwest Living also suggests adding flowering plants to outdoor patios. You can shop for standing planters and colorful outdoor vases to place them in. Midwest Living also recommends UV-protected outdoor rugs. These can make patios feel homey and comfortable, as long as you remember to keep them clean and maintained according to the manufacturer’s directions. For an extra dose of coziness, you can also tuck a chiminea into one corner; these take up little space and provide warmth.

If you have an unattractive wall or fence bordering the patio, you can purchase some screening that will look much more appealing. This is also referred to as “outdoor wallpaper,” and it is often sold at home and garden centers. Should that idea not be suitable, try camouflaging the wall or fence with tall potted plants.

The ground can also be revamped with some pea gravel. Before laying it down, you will have to install landscaping fabric (also inexpensive) – this prevents mud and weeds from coming through. You can use this gravel for the whole patio, or to accent focal points like planter arrangements.

An Outdoor Mini-Bar and Seating

Your guests will love an outdoor patio bar. You can actually make this yourself, out of cement blocks, cedar boards, screws and concrete glue. The base is made from the cement blocks and cement glue, and the top is made from the boards. This easy DIY project from Better Homes and Gardens takes about three hours and only requires about five different tools.

You may want to add a few outdoor bar stools to use as seating here. Also take a good look at any chairs and couches you may already have. Patio cushions do not last forever, as they are outside in the sun and rain (if you forget to bring them inside). Replacing the cushions is much more affordable than buying new furniture.

Look for patio cushions that are designed to withstand the elements, and feel free to mix solid colors with patterns. You can also invest in a waterproof outdoor storage box. Take off the cushions before it rains and store them inside, then simply pull them back out when ready to use again. Your cushions (and your wallet) will thank you for it!

A Few Final Touches

Many homeowners understand that the best way to encourage outdoor gathering is to bring some of the inside out. As mentioned, rugs can add decorative interest and comfort. You can also get some cozy blankets and drape them over your seating. Mix-and-match outdoor pillows are another decorative touch that will make your guests feel right at home.

To make guests want to linger longer, treat them to real tablecloths and dishware. Cloth napkins and light stoneware dishes are not expensive, and they can be tossed in the laundry or dishwasher afterwards. When all is said and done, you, your friends and family will want to spend more time outside on the patio than in your house.