5 Easy Ways to Update your Patio
Whether you are trying to sell a house, sprucing up your current residence or settling in to your new abode, think of your outdoor space as an extension of your living space. Are you utilizing the space well?
Here are five easy ways to update your back patio space — and add much more usable space to your property.
1. Draw the eyes upward.
You’ve traditionally heard this design rule apply to tall living rooms; consider your backyard a really, really tall living room.
Even a small patio area can appear much larger if you make efforts to use all of that vertical space above you. Got a porch? Consider painting the ceiling of it sky blue, to give the illusion of it not being there, like this porch on HouseBeautiful.com. Hang glass globes, bird feeders, colorful bird houses or wind chimes high in tall trees. Plant climbing flowers next to your fence or against a tall trellis or arbor.
You can make your own arbor relatively easily. Check out these instructions on TheGardenGlove.com.
A very inexpensive idea with dramatic colors and impact is to start a sunflower garden at one edge of your yard — maybe instead of a fence. Sunflowers are easy to maintain and can grow surprisingly tall quickly.
2. Add curtains outside.
Curtains aren’t just for indoors. Hang long, flowing curtains around the edges of a porch or gazebo. Even lightweight curtains on the interior of your sliding glass door become an outdoor accent in the summer; leave the door open and let the fresh breeze blow in. This gives movement — and romance — to your patio space.
3. Pick the right lighting.
Lights are just as important outside. Pick lighting that matches the mood you want to create. That might mean tiki torches and a fire pit; white party lights strung along the fence or creating a canopy of lights from the house to the fence; a dramatic chandelier underneath the porch; or mason jars hanging from the trees with electric tea lights, and sconces made out of old mason jars.
Be clever; transform an old spaghetti sauce jar into a centerpiece for your table by filling it partially with sand and one white votive candle. Replace the regular light bulbs in an old chandelier with solar lights and hang it in a tree.
Don’t forget to light your walkways. Line the way with solar-powered lamps, or paint the flagstone for your walkway with glow-in-the-dark paint. You can even paint your flower pots. Place light-up balls in your fountain, pond or bird bath — or for a cheap, short-term hack: place glow sticks in an inflated balloon. Line your edging with rope lighting.
For a simple DIY with huge impact, pick up two old glass shades at a thrift store and fill them with white holiday lights for a beautiful glowing orb (idea courtesy of TheArtOfDoingStuff.com).
4. Consider your seating.
You don’t have to settle on a typical patio furniture set, either. Build a good, ol’ fashioned picnic table and paint it a bright color. Even if all you have is cheap, fold-up chairs, spray paint them various bright colors, instead of leaving them grey. Paint the underside of your patio umbrella a different color, or stencil it.
5. Stay safe.
Keep those mosquitos away by planting lemongrass, a natural deterrent. You can also transform old wine bottles into a mosquito-repellent candle. If someone is allergic to bees, you can trap them in an old milk jug filled with sugar water, instead of using poison.