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Tips for an Ideal Outdoor Patio Space

Summer is in the air! Or at least in the near future. With April over and May upon us, your thoughts may naturally turn to pools, beaches, and summer entertaining, and long evenings spent outside are much better if you have a good space in which to enjoy them. Whether you plan on summer parties or just want a peaceful space to retreat to on your own, a well-appointed patio is worth the time and the maintenance. Sweep away the autumn leaves, perk up your garden, and check out these tips for making your patio worthy of the name ‘outdoor living room’.

You don't need a ton of space for a great patio! (By Churreria Photography)
You don’t need a ton of space for a great patio! (By Churreria Photography)

When I think porch my mind automatically goes to wide stone patio space behind my grandma’s house that I spent summers in, complete with lily pond, climbing vines, and huge, sweeping garden, but you certainly don’t need a huge yard in order to enjoy the outdoors. In fact, you don’t even really need a yard at all. A balcony space would work just as well, or a small, fenced in back garden. As long as you have room for a couple of chairs and maybe a few plants, you’re golden. (And any time you don’t have to mow the grass sounds like a good thing to me.)

Negril Bar, 701384 by Zuo Modern
Negril Bar, 701384 by Zuo Modern

If you have a little more space to work with and plan on entertaining this summer, consider an outdoor bar. They are way trendier than a grill, and are generally made from materials built to withstand the elements. An outdoor bar means that you can continue to mix drinks for your guests without routinely vanishing back into the house; plus you don’t have to carry things back and forth and risk dropping them. Whether you have access to an outdoor water source or not, a bar is a great addition to any entertainer’s repertoire

Don't forget the shade! (by Bud Dietrich)
Don’t forget the shade! (by Bud Dietrich)

Warmer days are definitely a cause for celebration, but if your patio space isn’t naturally shaded, make sure you invest in some cover! Even if you don’t burn easily, too much sun is no fun for you, your kids, or your guests. And I for one don’t want to have to slather myself with sunblock just do go sit out on my back porch. There’s the classic umbrella, which come in all shapes, colors, and sizes, and then there’s awnings, tents, and pavilions. It just depends on your aesthetic and the space you’re working with.

Take your lounging to the next level with a day bed (By Gregg Hodson Interior Design)
Take your lounging to the next level with a day bed (By Gregg Hodson Interior Design)

Okay, maybe you don’t want to go full Royal Pavillon, but then again, maybe you do. Pieces like the one above take your patio and turn it from porch to outdoor living room. There are multiple outdoor lounges and couches available, as well as covered day beds. Not all of them are quite so ostentatious as the one above. But then again, if you can’t go full camp in your garden, where can you?

There are many different sorts of creative and aesthetic outdoor lights. (By Cassy Aoyagi)
There are many different sorts of creative and aesthetic outdoor lights. (By Cassy Aoyagi)

The days are getting longer and longer, but if you’re planning on your gatherings lasting past nightfall, make sure you look into outdoor lighting! Most modern homes have some form of electrical outlet on their exteriors, and if not, there are battery and solar-powered lights available. The styles of patio lighting are wide-ranging. Wall sconces, floodlights, rope lights, lanterns, and pendant lights like the ones in the pictures above. And like the ones above, there’s many ways to incorporate them in your outdoor decor.

Whether the hot weather is upon you or you’re still a little too far above the equator to be enjoying the sunshine, May is the perfect time of year to start thinking about the outdoors. Don’t let summer obligations catch you unawares!