Five steps to an outdoor space you’ll love

Lori Miller | Outdoor Living Manager, All Things Barbecue

Spring will spring soon. The sun warms, flowers bloom and we stir from our winter hibernation.

Today’s outdoor lifestyle has a near-perfect translation from indoors to out. If you find yourself looking at your patio furniture and thinking of stylistic, functional or purposeful upgrades, these steps will help you create an outdoor living space you’ll love.

1. Know your space

Trust me, don’t take home a patio set and discover it’s too big. Take a few moments to measure your deck or patio and sketch a floor plan. Include:

• Any structures near the area you want to furnish, including the lines of your home, the edge of a swimming pool, any trees or landscaping, and pergolas.

• Natural traffic paths and walkways through and around your space so you can keep them clear.

• Keep the floor plan handy when you shop and don’t be shy about measuring furniture you like, to be sure it will fit your space.

2. Make the most of your space

How will you use your outdoor space? Some things to keep in mind:

• Is your idea of fun just quietly hanging out with the family? Intimate conversations benefit from chairs around a small table, or fire pit doing double duty as a table. Larger gatherings might benefit from several seating options arranged in small groups. A sectional or outdoor recliner is perfect for relaxing. Elegant events call for dining and deep seating areas that blend seamlessly and flow easily from one to the other.

• Make the most of focal points such as a lake view, landscape feature or fire pit.

• Multifunctional furniture is perfect for small spaces. For example, set some comfortable chairs around a chat-height fire pit or table for both conversation and informal dining.

• Outdoor rugs help define dining and deep seating areas. It’s okay to venture beyond matching rugs, just choose complementary colors or patterns.

• Finish the space with outdoor lamps, planters and tabletop accents to complete the indoor look outdoors.

3. Find your style

Traditional and transitional styles are most common, but you’ll find many choices with sleek, modern lines or bold architecture in a wide range of finishes and fabrics.

Aluminum outdoor furniture is the most popular in this climate and manufacturers are pushing boundaries with details like hammered patterns, wood looks and matte metal finishes which deliver tough-as-nails durability and longevity.

Woven furniture made from all-weather resin is also popular. Finishes come in rich browns and stylish grays. Low-back sectionals, wide-arm sofas, and sprawling coastal styles are available along with a variety of lounge chairs and occasional tables.

4. Look for long-term value and easy care

Nothing beats looking under the cushions. Inspect the frame welds and construction. Check the warranty on the frame, finish and cushions.

In day-to-day use, your outdoor furniture should need no more than an occasional swipe with a rag and some mild soap to keep it looking new. Quality outdoor performance fabrics offer UV, water and stain-resistance. Easy soap-and-water clean up is the norm and some fabrics can take light bleach without damaging the color.

You can help keep your patio furniture looking good for years by investing in furniture covers and storing the cushions indoors during the off season.

5. Keep it comfortable and homey

When summer sizzles, shade can reduce temperatures by as much as 20 percent. The trick is matching the right shade to your needs. A couple of lounge chairs or a small dining table can get relief with a 9-foot round, center-stand umbrella. Rectangular dining tables require a matching shape to make sure all seats are cool and protected.

Shade larger spaces with a cantilever umbrella that can cover 130 square feet. Some models have canopies that tilt front-to-back and side-to-side and rotate 360 degrees to cover multiple spaces.

Cool temperatures don’t have to put an end to outdoor fun. Nothing beats a fire pit for cozy warmth. Add snuggly throws and your favorite warm beverage, and your life outdoors can run from early spring to late fall.

Space, usage, style, quality and comfort — all are hallmarks of the ultimate outdoor lifestyle.

More questions? Stop by All Things Barbecue anytime, or call for an appointment.
818 W. Douglas
Monday–Friday, 10 a.m.–6 p.m.
Saturday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.

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