25 Ways to Pretty Up Your Patio for Spring + Summer

25 Ways to Pretty Up Your Patio for Spring + Summer

Decks, Porches and Patios
25 Ways to Pretty Up Your Patio for Spring + Summer
Buh-bye, cold weather. Follow these steps to get your patio ready for lazy lounging, soaking in the summer sun and alfresco entertaining.
June 03, 2022
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Prep Your Patio for Lazy Lounging
The return of warm weather calls us all outside to listen to bird song, enjoy the fresh air and soak in the sunshine. Follow our tips to get your patio ready for another season of weekend brunches , backyard BBQs , fun and games with family or just a little hang-time with your furry best friend.
From: H. Camille Smith
First, Clear the Decks
Give your patio, including any surrounding walls or fences, a good sweep to knock down any cobwebs and gather up any remaining fall leaves. Get more patio maintenance tips, below.
From: H. Camille Smith
Then, Wash Away Years of Stains
Once you get the hang of it, a pressure washer is a quick way to remove years of built-up grime on brick, stone, concrete, tile and unstained wood surfaces that are in good condition. For a deep clean without the worry of storing a machine yearround, your local hardware store likely offers daily rentals and will even walk you through tips for proper use and important safety info — like never use a pressure washer around kids or pets. Learn more about pressure washing with our guide, below.
From: Brian Patrick Flynn
Roll Out an Outdoor Rug
Durable and oh-so-stylish, outdoor rugs have come a long way from their early (and often plasticky) incarnations. Today's outdoor rugs, like this beauty from Ballard Designs, are soft underfoot, are available in a wide range of colors, patterns and sizes and are incredibly weather-resistant so they'll pretty up your patio for many springs to come.
From: H. Camille Smith
Give Composite Furniture a Good Cleaning
While composite outdoor furniture, like Polywood, is incredibly durable and stain-resistant, surface stains can still build up over time. Thankfully, cleaning is a breeze: Just scrub any surface stains with a little dish liquid and a scrub brush. Follow with a quick rinse from a garden hose — no pressure washer needed.
From: H. Camille Smith
Make Old Wood Furniture Look Like New
A more budget-friendly option to pricey teak, acacia wood outdoor furniture is easy to find — and easy to love — thanks to the wood's rich honey-hued finish when new. But over time, acacia wood weathers to a dull, splotchy color with a rough texture. Give your old, weathered outdoor furniture a smooth, like-new finish with our acacia wood refinishing tips, below.
get the how-to: How to Refinish Acacia Wood Outdoor Furniture
Or, Let Outdoor Wood Take On a Silvery Sheen
Unlike acacia wood furniture that needs maintenance in order to stand up to the elements, both teak and eucalyptus wood furniture weather to an even, silvery patina over time. To freshen up your patinated furniture without damaging the silver sheen, just clean with a soapy scrub brush, lightly scrubbing in the direction of the wood's grain, then rinse. Shop our new favorite eucalyptus wood outdoor bench, below.
From: H. Camille Smith
Set Up an Outdoor Libation Station
Get your patio ready to party with an outdoor bar cart. Just stock a garden cart, bookshelf or even an old grill (yes, a grill!) with your favorite booze and mixers. Or, for a tasty bevvy you can make as either a cocktail or a mocktail, try our oh-so-easy strawberry shrub recipe, below.
From: H. Camille Smith
Throw Some Shade
One of the most budget-friendly ways to beat the heat, patio umbrellas are available in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and colors. Has your umbrella's fabric seen better days? No worries, we'll walk you through how to safely clean the canopy, below.
From: H. Camille Smith
Get That Grill Ready
Before you fire up for the year's first cookout, clean away last year's grease and grime by giving the grill a good cleaning. Our step-by-step guide, below, will show you how to make your old grill look (and cook!) like new.
From: Brian Patrick Flynn
And, Don't Forget to Clean Grilling Utensils
Great grilling starts with the cleanest-of-the-clean utensils. Combat the spread of food-borne bacteria by cleaning the tools that keep your backyard kitchen cookin'. Make cleaning the tongs, forks, pokers, prodders, skewers, spatulas and basting accessories your priority, then fire up the grill and enjoy the party. Get all our best grill tool cleaning tips, below.
From: Emily Fazio
Create Areas for Easy Convo
Turn your patio into an outdoor living room (that you'll love living in) with furniture that can stand up to the elements, like these Polywood Adirondack chairs. Constructed from HDPE lumber (high-density plastic made from recycled milk jugs), these sturdy seats won’t crack, rot, chip or deteriorate over time — even the color won’t fade. Invite guests to sit a spell by pulling together a pair for a sunny gossip sesh.
From: H. Camille Smith
And, Ensure Chairs Are Extra Cozy
Just like indoors, a cozy cushion and fluffy throw go a long way to making a chair extra lounge-worthy — but not any outdoor pillows will do. When selecting outdoor pillows, quality counts. For instance, this pretty pillow from Pottery Barn features a durable woven cover and interior fill made from over 50 recycled water bottles. So, while it has all the good looks of an indoor accent, its sturdy construction ensures a weather-resistant outdoor pillow that can stand up to stains, fading and mildew. Shop it, below.
From: H. Camille Smith
Add a Handy Spot for Stashing Sips
Perfectly scaled to work as a handy side table, this garden stool’s ceramic surface can weather rain or sun with ease while the Chinoiserie detailing and blue-and-white palette will be just as on-trend in the future as it is today. Tip: If you live in an area with harsh winters, ceramic garden stools are best overwintered inside — where (bonus!) they make a beautiful spot to stack towels or display toiletries in the bathroom.
From: H. Camille Smith
Turn Plywood Into Easy Outdoor Art
Does your backyard have a case of the blahs? Easily add a big punch of color and pattern by stenciling a plywood board to turn it into on-trend outdoor art that can stand up to the elements. Get step-by-step instructions, below.
From: H. Camille Smith
Freshen Up Overwintered Planters
So, you left your pot filled with tender perennials or annuals outside all winter? Whoops! Don't worry, it happens. We'll show you how to determine which plants are ready for another growing season and how to replace the dearly departed with new plants for another season of blooms, below.
From: H. Camille Smith
And, Bring Indoor Plants Back Outside
Tropical plants, like this majesty palm , can't withstand freezing temps so they're best overwintered indoors. Once nightly outdoor temps have risen above 55 degrees Farenheit, it's safe to bring this tropical native back outdoors. But, be careful where you position any overwintered houseplants — part shade is the best option to prevent burning while the plant slowly adapts to your patio's much sunnier environment.
From: H. Camille Smith
Give Plain Pots an Easy Upgrade
Plain terra cotta or plastic pots are great but they're a little bland. Our tutorial, below, shows you how to make a budget pot look like a pricey, vintage Chinoiserie find using just paper napkins and decoupage medium.
From: H. Camille Smith
Mulch Surrounding Beds
Late spring is the perfect time to replace any plants that didn't survive the winter and add a fresh layer of mulch that'll help your new and emerging plants visually pop. But mulch isn't just decorative. The recommended two to three inches of mulch will also prevent weeds as it conserves moisture to help your plants thrive through the coming heat of summer. Get all our best mulching tips, below.
learn more: 10 Mulch Do's and Don’ts
Mulch All Patio Planters, Too
When planning how much mulch to buy to freshen up your beds, add on a bit more to give planters a fresh layer, too. No planter is complete without a layer of mulch that not only serves as a decorative finishing touch but also discourages weeds while preserving moisture so you'll need to water less often. Get more container gardening tips, below.
From: H. Camille Smith
Let There Be Light
Bistro lights add a gorgeous glow when strung above your patio but they can be tricky to hang if you don’t have nearby trees to support them. Enter our easy solution: anchoring wood posts in planters that are not only mobile so you can customize the areas your illuminate, they're also a temporary solution that's perfect for renters. Get all our best tips, below.
From: Sam Henderson
Freshen Up Your Fire Pit
S'more season is coming; is your fire pit ready? Before starting the season's first fire, remove any remaining ashes from wood-burning fire pits and check both the pit's interior and exterior for any cracks that should be patched. Ashes aren't a concern for gas-fueled fire pits; instead, check that the burners are clean and have proper gas flow from the fuel lines. Get more tips for maintaining a variety of fire pits, below.
From: Mom's Design Build
Entertaining? Bring On Backyard Blooms
Flowers are one of the easiest ways to perk up your patio — but don't limit blooms to the surrounding beds and containers. When planning a party, like this sweet spring brunch, bring your backyard's blooms to the table too. Tip: Cut flowers early in the morning when the air and ground temps are cooler and plants are least stressed. And, be sure to place the cut blooms directly into a bucket of water to prevent any moisture loss. When arranging, re-cut the stems at a 45-degree angle before placing into a vase with added floral preservative.
See More Photos: Turn Your Farmers Market Haul Into the Ultimate Vegetarian Spring Brunch
And, Use the Good China
Make your patio parties feel a little more special by ditching flimsy, disposable plastic, foam or paper plates in favor of your prettiest dishware. This is a party after all and everything tastes better off nice china — especially when there's no chance of your meal ending up in your lap.
From: Heather Baird
Make It Wag-Worthy
Pets are family, too, and they love few things as much as patio hang time with their favorite humans. Ensure your great outdoors are equally great for your furry family members with our tips, below.
From: H. Camille Smith
And, Keep Kids Entertained
Make your patio summer-fun-central with classic toys like bubble wands, sidewalk chalk, puzzles, playing cards and jump rope. Hit your local dollar store to pick up a variety of small toys on the cheap and place in a weatherproof container, like a lidded plastic container or even a small cooler so kids can grab a game anytime.

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