Spending quality time in the great outdoors is often a cure for what ails you (from long hours at the office to never-ending chores). Why not show your house’s “outdoor rooms” a little love with these ideas guaranteed to perk up a patio? Be warned: you may find yourself wanting to spend even more time outside!
Make it memorable.
Strike the perfect balance between modern and vintage with just a few savvy touches. Here, a dash of peacock blue, a vintage letter as artwork, the gray-and-white checkerboard concrete slab and a centerpiece of succulents in twine-wrapped pots all help to set the mood.
Create a secret garden (bench).
This little bench is tucked away nearly out of sight. Sheltered by a leafy canopy, softened with pillows and surrounded by billowing potted plants, it’s a serene spot to soak up a garden’s beauty.
Seat a crowd.
Most outdoor furniture is meant for entertaining a few people at a time, but this L-shape table is long enough to accommodate lots of guests (and food to feed ’em). Heavy-duty concrete-block pillars support a tabletop of humble wood planks for a sturdy, weatherproof table and buffet.
A variety of transparent containers can serve as shades for overhead pendants—from large glass jars to open-weave baskets like these. Simply thread the cord through one end of the basket, screw in the bulb and a glass globe and flip the switch. Hanging a whole throng, rather than just one, gives the fixtures even more of the spotlight.
Boost the drama.
Never underestimate the impact of a tall garden container spiked with bright blooms. (The sunny yellow flowers are even more eye-catching because the pot is black and white.) Flanking a doorway, tucked in a corner or marking a path, such hefty containers add architecture and visual weight to an outdoor room.
Greet guests with a hand-painted doormat in whatever pattern you please—this one is a stencil dabbed with three shades of green paint.
Take the party outside.
There’s no reason an outdoor table can’t boast the same flourishes and luxuries as an indoor one. Just about anything that dresses a dining table, such as cloth linens, dazzling centerpieces and real glassware, will transfer to the patio without trouble.
Go wild with flowers.
What could be breezier (and easier) than wildflower bouquets clustered on a tabletop? You don’t even need fancy vases—that might miss the whole point! These are a mix of mason jars and old jelly jars. Once you’ve run them through the dishwasher to remove the labels, they happily serve as catchalls for food and flowers.
Craft a stone “rug.”
An artful arrangement of concrete bricks and smooth river rocks in various hues form an inexpensive flowered “rug” for the garden. All the materials are readily available at home and garden centers, proving that clever design need not have a hefty price tag.
Perfect your porch.
Outdoor fabrics have come a long way in recent years; they have a softer hand, fresh colors and patterns and will stand up to bright sunlight and humidity with grace. The stunning array of fabrics on the market means that outdoor cushions, pillows and curtains can be as trendy and dazzling as those inside.
What a difference a little lighting can make! This gazebo glows with illumination from several sources: strings of bulbs, candle chandeliers, solar-powered landscape lights, battery-operated lanterns and overhead fixtures. Not only do these lights guide your footsteps through the yard as the sun is setting, they also conjure cozy ambience at twilight and beyond.
Branch out with tree art.
A protected patio—one with a roof and a wall or two—can feature interior-style design because its furnishings and accessories are sheltered from the elements. Here, several rounds of wood (each crafted from slices of skinny branches) hang from the wall as modern, outdoor-appropriate artwork.
Design a sunny display.
Here, succulents crowd into a shallow shadow box for an ultra-slim, portable vertical garden. Choose plants that have the same requirements for sun and water, and vary the color and texture of the leaves for the most eye-catching display.
© Meredith Operations Corporation. All rights reserved. Used with permission.