Now that Memorial Day Weekend is in the rear view mirror, I guess we can say our summer has officially “started.” Of course, in Oregon that is debatable. Pacific Northwest jokes aside, we are all anxiously awaiting our first summer backyard barbecues and social events. Graduations, weddings, babies, birthdays; they are all more fun celebrated outside. Beyond lovely landscaping, you can make your outdoor deck and patio even more spectacular. How, you might ask? Create an outdoor living space! It literally is just like arranging your home on the inside.
Let’s start with the furniture. You are not limited to folding lawn chairs, glass top tables and vinyl sling chairs. In fact, these days, some outdoor furniture can look just as good inside. Think about the function of your space first. If you have a small deck or patio, the most important function would be an eating surface. That can be a small bar height table, a bistro set, or a full dining table with chairs. An umbrella is nice if you do not have adequate shade. If you have more space, consider a lounging area away from the dining table. This can be chairs with ottomans, or a sectional. Maybe add some chaise lounges for catching those rays. Set up your seating area for good conversation, and establish a focal point (like a fireplace, or a view, etc.). Don’t overlook side and coffee tables, you need somewhere to place your margarita.
The great thing about outdoor furniture is that is made to withstand the sun’s UV rays more than your typical furniture. That means less fading, less cracking, and less damage from rain. If you are getting upholstered cushions, it is best to have “quick dry” cushions which recover from saturation much better and faster.
Some other items you might not think about in your backyard include pillows and rugs. With the plethora of indoor/outdoor fabrics these days, you can get a variety of looks, styles and textures in your soft goods. Outdoor rugs can stand up to high traffic, and the sun’s rays. They really do wonders to create a separate “living space” and elevate your outdoor style!
Finally, of course, you need plants. Adding in planters around your seating areas really pulls it all together. Incorporate other accessories, such as lanterns and candles, outdoor lighting and interesting objects. For a specific party or event, you can always bring out furniture pieces or accessories from your home to make it feel really cozy for a temporary length of time without subjecting those items to the outdoors. Now, start up the ‘cue, pull out the cocktail shaker, turn up the music and party on!