Creating a perfect outdoor oasis — the first step toward a summer filled with carefree entertaining — requires careful planning for the entire space. It’s not just about landscape elements, but the finer details, such as furniture and accessories, that truly bring an outdoor space to life.
Whether you’re looking to create a family-friendly space for entertaining, a serene poolside retreat or a secret garden that showcases your green thumb, begin by defining your vision. Having a clear idea of how your finished space will look and feel will help you make the best decisions as you begin designing the retreat of your dreams.
Furniture that fits
Although tastes and trends may change from one season to the next, selecting the right furniture pieces from the start will let you bring fresh new looks to your outdoor space in other ways.
Sectional seating is an attractive option because it allows you to redefine your space in minutes. Hosting a party? Strategically placed sectional seating can open up your space and encourage an evening of mingling. Prefer a more intimate arrangement for poolside conversations or a date-night in? The sectional can be rearranged into a closer configuration. Look for a versatile collection in neutral colors.
To round out your furniture, consider the highly functional but often underrated garden stool. Place one in a quiet corner for meditative moments, pair them to create a one-of-a-kind coffee table, or pull one up when you need an extra seat.
Investing in the right pieces will save you time and money in the long run. When you’re ready for a new look, you can easily change the feel of your patio with accessories or a new brightly colored accent piece, such as a tiled bistro table or outdoor Papasan chair.
Accent your style
Once your furniture is in place, you’ve got a blank slate to play with and most importantly, to accessorize! Accessorizing is where the decorating happens and your personal style shines through.
Add pillows, cushions, umbrellas, outdoor rugs and even outdoor curtains to your space, and what started as a dull patio will begin to transform into an extension of your home. To mix patterns like a pro, choose pillows and rugs in the same color family, vary the scale of your patterns and introduce textures to ensure that they don’t compete with each other.
Be sure to layer in treasures that are uniquely you — lanterns, wall decor, statues and windchimes — to establish a space bursting with personality.
Remember, small changes can make a big impact. Refresh last year’s patterns with the new trends, or simply add a few new accessories into your existing decor for a budget-friendly way to satisfy your urge to update.
Once your beautiful outdoor space is complete, you’ll undoubtedly be eager to showcase your hard work. Make entertaining a breeze with these tips:
Highlight your party’s main attraction — the food. If you’re hosting the whole family for a cookout, make memories during a sit-down meal around your outdoor dining table. Freshen up the meal with dinnerware that’s as eye-catching as it is durable. Easy-care melamine and fresh-hued acrylic stemware pieces let your guests enjoy without fear of shattering glasses or the festive mood.
A less conventional approach that is perfect for drinks and small bites — serving carts. They bring action to the party, whether that’s on the patio, in the garden or poolside.
Create a one-of-a-kind tablescape. Combine your favorite accessories, such as handcrafted trays, detailed lanterns and a colorful bouquet, to create a cheerful centerpiece that instantly feels like summer.
Give your party buffet a personal touch with an eclectic mix of your favorite serving dishes. Think multi-use beverage tubs, cheery cake stands and bold chip and dip trays.
Think about the light, both day and night. For a daytime pool party, protect guests from sunburn and the heat by investing in colorful umbrellas to provide a little shade — and the perfect place to sip a cold drink.
When the sun sets, opt for a more romantic glow that lights up the night. Strategically placed lanterns in a variety of styles, shapes and colors will be the light of your party.
For mood lighting at the touch of a button, consider purchasing outdoor LED candles that resemble their melted wax counterparts but offer a bit of added magic.
Then sit back, relax and enjoy!