By ALLIE MYSZKA
Summer and outdoor parties go hand-in-hand. Even if you’re not the entertaining type, spending time on an outdoor patio with your family can be a great way to take advantage of those quiet, slow summer nights. But before you pour a glass of lemonade and head out the back door to lounge, take some time to prep your patio for the summer season.
Get your patio furniture in tip-top shape.
If you’re like most people, you probably haven’t touched your patio furniture much since last summer. Pull your furniture out of storage, if necessary. Toss cushions into the washing machine and hose down any metal or wood pieces to get rid of cobwebs (and pollen!). If your metal furniture is looking particularly faded or worn, a coat of outdoor spray paint can work wonders and make it look brand new. Repair anything that’s broken or loose in your furniture while you’re at it.
Freshen up outdoor “flooring.”
Whether you’ve got gravel, pavers, or just grass underneath your feet when you step onto your patio, now is a great time to make sure it looks great. Add some new sod to that one corner of grass that’s looking a little sad or grab a new bag of gravel to make up for any that may have washed away in the rain since last summer. For covered spaces, find a new outdoor rug to treat your feet and add some design sophistication. If you’re feeling ambitious, laying down pavers can create a comfortable surface for bare feet and a beautiful feature for your outdoor living space.
Prepare for summer bugs.
Summer has plenty of perks, but one of its downfalls is the abundance of mosquitoes and biting pests that seem to come out in swarms. Stock up on repellent candles to scatter throughout your sitting areas, and establish a shelf or small storage area where you can keep bug spray right beside the door to your patio. Did you know that certain plants can also repel mosquitoes? Try planting citronella, basil, mint, or even marigolds to keep bugs away.
Add a few plants.
While you’re planting your bug-repellent plants, it can’t hurt to add some color to your spaces, too! Head to your nearest plant nursery or home improvement store to find out what flowers and container plants can thrive in your outdoor space.
Change up the lighting.
Yes, twinkle lights are great, but what about other options? If your patio space is covered and shielded from rain, try using indoor and decorative lamps to create a cozy feel. Depending upon your budget, you could also install a new permanent light fixture (along with a ceiling fan!) to freshen up the space for this summer season.
Set up a sound system.
Have you ever noticed that music can completely change the ambience of a space? This is especially true during a party. Whether you plan to invite friends over this summer or not, find a way to add music to your patio. Bluetooth speakers can easily be placed on a table or ledge to be out of the way, and they provide an inexpensive way to play your favorite tunes while you enjoy summer evenings. Or, permanent sound systems offer exceptional sound quality for music, movies, and just about anything else—and they’ll add long-term value to your home.
Allie was born and raised in Georgia, and moved to Nashville after graduating from the University of Georgia (Go Dawgs!). She’s a freelance writer, Pilates instructor, old soul, and chronic DIY-er. Connect with Allie at alliemyszka.com.