It’s early February and we’ve already been able to enjoy several 60+ degree, spring-like days here in Charlotte, NC. I love getting out and enjoying the sunshine on these first few warm days after being cooped up indoors most of December and January. Something else that’s been hibernating this winter? My patio furniture and decor! It’s officially time to unpack the cushions and umbrellas and get that outdoor living space ready for spring.
Click here to watch & learn more on this topic from my WBTV segment!
It’s never too early to start planning, even if you live in the Northeast or Midwest where the threat of snow is still very real. The design process alone is a sure-fire mood booster to get you excited for warmer days ahead!
Maybe you’re doing a makeover to a patio space you already have, or perhaps you’re planning an entirely new outdoor space. (If so, see my previous blog post with tips for home renovations!) But no matter the size of the project or the space, you need to consider function first.
Outdoor living spaces are typically divided up into three general functions: relaxing, entertaining and playing.
Relaxing: Your outdoor space can become your sanctuary – a place where you can escape. Spaces to relax may include lounge chairs for sunbathing and napping poolside, or a fireplace or fire pit to cozy up next to and enjoy a glass of wine after a long day. But if tranquility is your main goal, be sure to also consider privacy. Are there a lot of open spaces where neighbors can see into your yard? Consider adding some tall plants or investing in a decorative room divider to create more of a barrier for yourself.
Entertaining: Do you love to host parties and get-togethers with your family and friends? First, designate a space for grilling and barbecuing. This could be a small corner for just a grill, or a large space with an entire outdoor kitchen and bar. Just make sure that the food prep area isn’t too far removed from the main patio space – you don’t want your grillmaster to get lonely or feel like they are on the outside looking in. Second, seating is key when entertaining so make sure you designate a space for eating. Depending on the amount of space you have to work with, this could be anything from a small bistro table to a pub table to a more traditional dining table and chairs. Finally, be sure to consider the sun and where it hits your outdoor space throughout the day. You may need to add a table umbrella or an awning.
Playing: Whether your play space is for pets, little kids or the kid at heart, the key is to keep these areas a little further away from your relaxing and entertaining spaces. Guests shouldn’t have to worry about getting hit in the head by a frisbee or tripping over a corn hole board. You can add a swing set or other play place for the young children, while keeping a grassy area free for sports and lawn games for teens and adults.
Once you have your basic functionality plan down, you can turn your focus to adding furniture and accessories.
"My biggest tip here is NOT to skimp on inexpensive patio furniture. If you do, you will end up needing to replace it over and over again."
This furniture is exposed to all of the elements, and you want something that will stand the test of time. I recommend using Sunbrella fabrics for your cushions and pillows, and also consider investing in furniture covers for the winter months – so worth it!
An outdoor rug is a great way to add color, comfort and personality to your space. But be sure to choose your material wisely. A polypropylene or acrylic rug is lightweight, inexpensive, can get wet and dries easily. This won’t be as plush or soft as an indoor area rug, but it will be more durable. You could also try a bamboo or sisal rug. Just know that natural rugs can mildew if exposed to too much moisture.
Finally it’s time to put the icing on the cake – accessories! I love outdoor lanterns for mood lighting or as a creative way to hide a citronella candle. A well-placed garden stool can function as an end table for your lounge chairs while adding a pop of color at the same time. And of course flowers that will go from spring through fall will provide an amazing backdrop to it all.
Okay, I think it’s time I go escape to my backyard oasis to get some reprieve from all this construction in my kitchen. Hopefully you can find time to enjoy this amazing weather as well!