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The snow melts, the days become warmer and suddenly you realize your patio looks like the abandoned backdrop of a post-apocalyptic movie.
This sight may leave you thinking, “How am I going to turn this into an area where people want to spend time?”
It may seem like a daunting task at first, but don’t fret. Follow these tips and your friends and family will be relaxing and enjoying the warm weather from the comfort of your backyard haven in no time.
Before you start looking at this year’s patio furniture trends, first things first. After a long winter of freezing temperatures, snowstorms and ice, your patio could probably use some TLC to get it back into tip-top shape. Even if you live in a warmer climate, now is still a good time to prepare for rising temperatures and an increase in activity.
You’ll want to give your patio a good deep clean. How you’ll go about this depends on the material it’s made of.
If your patio is concrete, natural stone or pavers, hose it off, then squirt some dish soap into a bucket of water and use the solution to scrub the surface. You can use a big-bristle push broom as your scrub brush to make it easier.
If you have a wood or composite patio or deck, you’ll want to use a specially-formulated cleaner that is appropriate for the material.
You may also use a pressure washer to clean your patio, but be careful if you choose to do so – particularly if your patio is made of wood or composite – as the high-pressure water can be too harsh or even damaging to the surface. Make sure to hold the spray tip at least 6-inches away from the surface when cleaning.
Fix It Up
Once you’ve cleaned the surface of the patio, fix any imperfections and give it some protection from the upcoming wear-and-tear of summer.
For a wood patio or deck, sand down any splintered areas, fix any popped nails and replace damaged boards. Then you can apply a sealer or stain to protect it from the elements.
For stone or paver patios, you’ll want to clear any weeds that have sprouted in the cracks. If needed, add new sand between the pavers or stone. Polymeric sand is great for this, as it’s durable and keeps weeds and bugs at bay.
Refresh the Area
The area around your patio is just as important. To spruce it up after a long winter, introduce some new plant life and lay down fresh mulch. Prune any bushes that need it and pull any weeds.
Give your home’s exterior a freshening up as well by washing its walls and windows. Wipe down any patio furniture you’re pulling out of storage.
Additionally, if any pets have free range of your yard, do a sweep of the area and pick up any droppings. Nothing can ruin a good summer day like stepping in something unpleasant.
Pick a Mood
If you’re looking to take your patio from average to awesome, try introducing some new décor and furniture pieces that suggest a theme for your outdoor hangout.
What theme or mood would work best in your space? Rustic? Beachy? Nautical? Something else entirely? There are endless options for you to choose from, and it can even be as simple as a certain color scheme – say, warm reds and oranges?
Once you’ve decided what look inspires you, then comes the fun part – shopping! While it’s perfectly fine to continue using your patio furniture from previous years, outdoor furnishings can quickly become worn down, so if you have anything that needs replacing, why not start introducing a whole new look while you’re at it?
In fact, if you’re happy with the furniture you already have, you can easily change the look of it by swapping the linens. Not only will new seat cushion or pillow covers freshen up your outdoor hangout’s look, it’ll make your old pieces look brand new again.
Make It Inviting
While you’re busy fixing up your outdoor space, you may as well turn it into a place where people want to hang out, right? Not just a convenient location for your backyard barbeque, but a relaxing and enjoyable experience in its own light.
Potted plants are an obvious place to start. A leafy fern or pretty flower in a colorful pot will make a great addition. You could also consider decorative lanterns, outdoor rugs or a soothing fountain to decorate your patio area.
If you’ve had trouble getting people to hang out on the patio in the past, it may be that the area isn’t accessible enough to be convenient. If your patio requires trekking through grass, lay down a gravel path with some stepping stones that will be gentle on bare feet.
Make It Cozy
You don’t need to settle for outdoor furniture that’s simply functional; find something that’s luxurious, as well. If you’ve ever dreamed of dragging a comfy sofa outside to enjoy a sunny day, comfier-than-ever outdoor furnishings can help make that dream a reality.
If you have the budget for it, you might also want to consider adding a couple new cozy loungers, or even an outdoor daybed.
If you don’t want to spring for all-new furniture, just buy some low-cost soft pillows, cushions and a few plush blankets that you won’t mind using outside to make your patio instantly cozier.
If you plan on using the patio after sunset, you’ll want to make sure it’s well-lit.
If you don’t have any built-in outdoor lighting or just want a more romantic, glowing ambience, go for string lights, garden torches or other lighting that is soft and decorative.
Speaking of light, make sure you provide a spot to get away from it. When the sun is at its brightest and hottest, you and your guests will be thankful for a shady refuge.
Umbrellas are great for creating smaller shady spots, but if you want more space to be covered, you might consider investing in a pergola or gazebo, which are larger, usually four-legged structures that can cover an entire patio in shade.
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