Summertime means longer days, the smell of fresh-cut grass and patio parties that stretch from sunny days into the long, warm nights.
Ah, those parties — they’re fun, but never quite like you imagine. You’ve probably envisioned an elaborate set-up straight from the pages of a magazine for your Memorial Day bash or a midsummer blowout and settled for soggy paper plates and party favors. Boo.
It doesn’t have to be that way. Take it from an expert:
“(Celebrity TV chef) Giada De Laurentiis has three guidelines when it comes to summertime entertaining,” Monica Corcoran writes at Redbook.com. “Use what you have, keep things simple, and go with the flow. Turns out, that’s good advice for life, too.”
Good advice indeed — with a few small investments and some smart adjustments, what you have can entertain guests, save cash and create an outdoor oasis for all of your happy-hour hangouts.
This summer, you can have your perfect outdoor escape – and we have some simple patio solutions to get you started.
6 Patio Solutions for Summer
1. Use vertical space to decorate.
As we’ve mentioned before, having a vertical vision is an excellent way to maximize existing space. Fill empty walls with hanging plant baskets, vines or citronella candles.
Here’s a quick-and-easy way to incorporate baskets:
- Choose three different-sized baskets and cord or twine.
- Run the cord through the four corners of each basket.
- Knot them tightly and find a good spot to hang them.
- Place your choice of filler inside.
Hit the lights. Looking for some extra visibility at your nightly gatherings? Because landscape lighting is low voltage, it’s a relatively easy and safe DIY project — and candles work great, too. Light the empty corners of your patio to add some charm to the décor (and prevent falls).
2. Extend the season with awnings.
Add an arbor, pergola, or awning to protect your furniture (and your guests) from the elements. When choosing a patio awning, the DIY Network recommends:
1. Deciding if you want a permanent or removable awning. Smaller patios are probably better suitable for retractable or removable awnings while a long-term solution may work well with a larger space.
2. Selecting appropriate materials. Live in hurricane country or the snow belt? That plastic awning isn’t going to last more than a season,
3. Picking the proper size and shape. Guests appreciate a unique look (and so will you).
4. Embellishing like a boss. Lights? Flowers? Make your awning reflect your home, personality and vision.
Keep cool! Cindy W. from Imagine Backyard Living reminds us that an awning offers sweet shade that keeps the sun from ruining your patio time, too.
“Cooling your backyard patio space may take a little bit of extra work up front,” she admits, “but it’s an investment that’s well worth it to have an incredible backyard living experience throughout those hot summer months.”
3. Save space with dual-solution seating.
Simple boxes (or a bench) can fulfill two needs at once: providing patio seating for guests and storage for your summer items. The seat top lifts up, allowing access to gardening tools, deck furniture, and pool towels.
Dress it up. Disguise the storage bench with colorful pillows or cushions for seating.
4. Tackle DIY table projects.
Why not save space (and money) with a weekend DIY project? Customize, paint, and stack pallets for the perfect patio coffee table – or better yet, the perfect outdoor bar.
“One of the easiest projects you can make with pallets is a coffee table,” notes Simona Ganea, interior designer and Homedit editor. “You simply paint the pallet, install casters and, depending on the size you prefer, stack two of them together and that’s about it. If you want, you can also add a glass top.”
5. Chill out with daybeds.
What’s a patio made for if not lounging? The latest trend in outdoor décor is bringing the indoors outside, according to DIY Cozy Home. Add a swinging daybed or hammock to create a relaxing atmosphere (and more seating) for you and your guests.
- A mattress
- Pallets to create a sturdy base (should be larger than your chosen mattress)
- Rope and hooks to suspend the bed from a tree or ceiling
- Cushions and blankets to personalize your daybed
- Vinyl covers to protect from moisture and bugs
6. Add evening ambiance.
Enhance those long, leisurely evenings on the patio by setting the right mood. Lanterns, tiki torches or hanging strings of lights give your space a warm and welcoming feel that will extend past dinnertime and add to a festive atmosphere for you and your guests.
“Nothing can beat the soft, glowing light of café-style lights strung overhead,” notes Laura Gaskill, decorating expert and Houzz contributor. “Since they are so inexpensive, you can use them liberally without denting your budget.”
The strings’ the thing. She also suggests outdoor-rated string lights. LED bulbs are known to last for a long time, but incandescent bulbs will give the trademark soft glow you’re looking for.
Last but not least: Protect everything! Choose all-weather wicker to prolong the life of your tables and chairs. If you choose a different material, be sure to protect your furniture from the sun with a UV protectant before bringing them out of storage. Weather-resistant finishes will also help seal out moisture.
No more space? No problem.
Need some extra space for the items you’re moving out for the summer season? Want someplace to store your patio furniture once the seasons change? No problem – Life Storage can help.
During the humid months ahead, you may want to look into climate-controlled storage to protect your belongings from the high temperatures. Learn how our storage units can help save you time and hassle.
If you’re planning to do some outdoor eating, entertaining and lounging in your outdoor pad this summer, let us know!