Ok, admit it. Your patio, deck, porch or gazebo is probably looking a tad uninviting after a bit of winter neglect. Add the recent layer of spring pollen to the layer of winter dust, and it’s understandable why you avoid simply looking at it. However, spring is the season for all things colorful and new, so throw on your rose-colored glasses and take a look at your outdoor spaces with fresh eyes. It’s time to envision how wonderful and inviting it can be truly be! Make it a reality with a little elbow grease and some clever decorating tips. Try these ideas:
First things first - tackle cleaning your outdoor space and you will have already made huge strides in making it welcoming. Here are steps on how to do it in the easiest and most efficient way possible:
- Move all the furniture, rugs, mats and plants out of the space. Decide what you want to keep or get rid of. Anything broken should be repaired or thrown away. Discard all dead plants.
- Use an extendable duster to clear cobwebs and dust from all the high corners, overhangs, ceiling fans, shutters, etc.
- Replace burnt out bulbs and remove dead bugs from the inside of any light receptacles. Wipe down the fixtures with a microfiber cloth.
- Clean windows with a simple 50% vinegar/water solution.
- Sweep and/or vacuum the space with a powerful shop vacuum. Also vacuum any rugs or mats.
- Wipe down furniture, tables and any other horizontal surfaces with a microfiber cloth to capture dirt and dust, then follow up with warm soapy water for any areas that need extra attention.
- Move the furniture back in the space.
Now for the fun part!
When you move the furniture back into the space, try rearranging it. Make the layout comfortable and cohesive to conversation. Consider adding clever storage, such as deck boxes that can do double duty as seating, simply by adding colorful seat cushions. If you plan on dining in your outdoor space, add places to rest plates and glasses, such as a foldable shelf that can be stowed when not in use. Accent your furniture with colorful throw pillows and throws. Install a few hooks so that lake and pool towels can be hung rather than draped haphazardly over chairs and railings.
Take the time to swap out old or broken light fixtures. Keep in mind that a downward glow is more inviting than upward light. You may want to add an outdoor lamp or two so as to enjoy the space after the sun goes down. Add string lights to your porch or pergola. The Edison bulb types are easy to find and cast a beautiful glow. Decorative fire pits are a beautiful accent to your landscape.
Our summer sun can sometimes be pretty brutal, so be sure to provide a respite to your guests with some inviting shade. Invest in a nice umbrella, add vines to your pergola or add a trendy sail shade to your outdoor space. All of these will make dining alfresco more fun and comfy for everyone.
Add a few house plants or, if you have at least 6 hours of sunlight, some flower or herb containers in your outdoor space. A small herb garden is a wonderful accent to an outdoor space, especially if you have an outdoor kitchen. If you want to deter deer, try growing rosemary, oregano, sage or thyme. Succulents, such as pretty hens and chicks, are also deer-resistant and will grow happily in full sun on your deck or patio.
We are lucky to have a lot of interesting, pretty birds at Harbor Club. It’s always fun to observe them! Place a pretty bird bath nearby. Add a feeder, preferably with a no-mess blend of seed. Put up a hummingbird feeder (with clear sugar water only, which is really easy and cheap to make). Add a few bird houses too. Not only will they be fun to watch, the birds can help keep down the insect population in your yard.
Add fun and whimsy
Add a small fountain to your space to enjoy the calming effect of bubbling water. If you have room, add a swing or a hammock to your outdoor space. Keep board games handy for a fun, impromptu activity. Or try your hand at yard games such as bocce ball, corn hole, or badminton. A few whimsical touches, like kinetic sculpture, rain chains and wind chimes are always welcome, calming features.
Cheers to making your patio, deck and porch spaces into a lovely buffer between indoors and out.