Five tips to creating the perfect outdoor space

Lori Miller | Outdoor Living Manager, All Things Barbecue

When it’s a beautiful day and you want to hang out with friends and binge-watch your favorite show, no need to confine yourself indoors. Today’s outdoor spaces can handle just about everything you can do indoors. A few quick tips can help you create the perfect backyard oasis.

Tip 1: Your oasis, your style

Gone are the days of having one choice of furniture in one fabric. Quality outdoor furniture manufacturers are helping consumers express their indoor style on their decks, porches and patios.

Want sleek, modern seating in your favorite color? A mix of patterns on a traditional sofa set? Or how about a lodge look paired with sophisticated fabrics? It’s your oasis. Find the frame you love, in a finish you love, with fabrics you love, and let it reflect your unique style.

Tip 2: Dining your way

How do you imagine friends and family sitting together, enjoying a great meal? Are you seated at a traditional dining table? Taking in the view at counter height? Maybe you’re lounging around a fire pit, plates and glasses set casually on an armrest or fire tabletop. Each is a great choice and many dining options are available to fit the way you want to dine and entertain.

Tip 3: Material choices

Outdoor furniture comes in a variety of materials, each with their own advantages. Aluminum furniture offers years of strength and durability. It withstands the elements and resists rusts and stains. Easily molded into a wide variety of forms and styles, it lends itself well to just about any design.

Wrought iron is heavy and durable, making it perfect for breezy areas. Look for powder coating to extend the life of the finish. Touchups are easy with rust-resistant spray paint.

Most woven furniture is made from all-weather vinyl over aluminum frames. The vinyl is shaped to look like wicker or rattan and lasts for years without fraying or splintering. Finishes come in browns from dark chocolate to camel, and gray tones from charcoal black to blue-gray. Styles run from contemporary to traditional, with sizes to fit large patios or small balconies.

New to the area is ipe wood furniture from Jensen Leisure. Pronounce EE-pay, this hardwood is a rich brown in color. The Atlantic City Boardwalk and New York City park benches are constructed of ipe. Jensen Leisure uses timber that is 100 percent Forestry Stewardship Council certified for responsible and sustainable forestry practices. The certification includes forestry management, worker rights and land and wildlife protection.

Tip 4: Address the challenges

Every space has a challenge to address. Good furniture retailers can offer suggestions and help you find the best solution for your style and budget. Read on for some of the most common challenges.

Furniture that accommodates large gatherings but doesn’t look massive. Outdoor extension dining tables are a great solution. Extend the table to seat 10-12 people and remove the leaves when your gathering is more intimate. Sectional lounge sets can seat a large number of people yet feel intimate due to its communal nature and angles that promote interaction.

Create a place where children or grandchildren want to hang out. Create a fun, welcoming and easily changeable space by setting up a few lounge areas and providing poufs and ottomans that are easy to move around and can do double duty as seating or tables.

Hot and sunny backyard. A good umbrella can reduce temperatures up to 20 percent. Treasure Garden offers a huge selection of umbrellas to shade everything from a bistro table for two to a lounge set for 10. With 98 fabrics to choose from, you’re sure to find the perfect umbrella for your space.

Comfortable furniture that dries fast. Consider slings. A sling chair has a single layer of fabric, coated with PVC, stretched tightly over a frame. Perfect for poolside or lakeside, or for those who don’t want to bring cushions indoors.

Tip 5: Performance fabrics are your friends

In this climate, you need solution-dyed acrylic fabrics. They stand up to the heat, sun, wind and rain — and dogs, kids and dirt. Cleaning is easy: Hose it down, wash with mild soap and water (mix in a bit of bleach for tough stains), rinse and let dry.

Performance fabrics come in hundreds of colors and textures, and look like they belong indoors — in fact, interior designers are starting to use solution-dyed acrylics indoors. Noted for their toughness and durability and their beauty and lushness, they’re a perfect choice for active families.

Bonus tip: Shop around

You can accomplish a lot of research online, but nothing beats touching the furniture and giving it a sit test. Think beyond big box stores. Here at All Things Barbecue we like to share our insider information on outdoor living trends, furniture manufacturing processes, and customer and personal experiences with our products.

Drop by All Things Barbecue and let us help you create an outdoor space that fits the way you live.

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