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How to Put Together the Designer Look on Your Patio (from things you get at the hardware store!)

It looks like we will be home a lot more this summer. Social distancing hasn’t been a huge problem for me, partly because I love my home. This is my favorite time of the year. I love getting outside and working in the yard. I love maintaining the fountains, pruning and feeding the potted plants, hand watering, and just sitting on the back patio with my dog and an iced tea, reading a favorite health or business book.

One of the most popular design trends right now is decorating the patio. Mixing materials and adding unique accessories are two great ways to personalizing it. Whether you have teak, wicker, iron or powder coated aluminum furniture, mixing in elements that are weather resistant such as ceramic garden stools, outdoor fabrics and a few wicker chairs will keep your patio from looking like a store display and encourage you to linger outside a little longer. 

Most local hardware have wonderful looking, affordable patio furniture and accessories these days. 

For accessories, choose functional things that also look pretty such as oversized lanterns, candlesticks, potted topiary, big comfy pillows in weather resistant fabrics, and even subtle wall décor. By furnishing your patio with things that have a purpose you’ll keep it from looking pretentious, silly or overdone.
Adding just one piece of interest like a fashionable teak daybed with lots of pillows makes a big statement.

One patio I planned has half light shade and half deep shade making plant choice difficult. There is a central beam right in the middle of it which I stubbornly surrounded with big potted plants. It’s a romantic, Mediterranean effect but is a little cumbersome.

With a combination of iron, wood, wicker, and aluminum it’s a space that works well for two or twelve. Because a portion of the patio is covered I could get away with feather cushions and pillows with indoor fabrics. 

There is a Moroccan inspired lantern over a black metal daybed. At a local discount store, I found Ralph Lauren feather pillows in soft yellow cotton and others in wide black and white stripes. The dark brown wicker settee has soft, furry oversized pillows for resting against.

The aluminum table and chairs are lightweight and practical in small spaces like this one. I placed a collection of potted topiary in varying heights and sizes  on top. 

To tie the space together and make it more garden like, I purchased 6 foot tall, rusted iron grates from which I hung more plants. There is a wall fountain and a collection of large pots with tall double ball ivy topiary, myrtle, asparagus ferns, and my all-time favorite, boxwood. On the tables and on the ground dotted around the seating areas are a five foot tall iron candelabra, several black bamboo/glass lanterns, and some sweet statues.

Shopping List

lanterns and fresh white candles
pots and urns of all sizes
wall fountains
iron trellis
iron candle sticks
cushions and pillows in sun resistant fabrics

My Favorite Plants for Pots 

ivy topiary 
asparagus ferns 

Shiree’s Cheat Sheet

Instead of matching all your outdoor furniture, mix materials such as iron and wood for a more eclectic “look”.

Limit accessories to “purposeful” items only, like candelabras, potted plants, lanterns, and throw pillows.

For continuity, use cushions and pillows in coordinating colors.

Choose quality pots for the patio and front door areas. I especially like pottery in turquoise, cobalt, celadon, and dark brownish-red. Mix in iron urns for visual interest and variety.

Vintage pieces like wall candelabra (such as scrolled metal pieces from the sixties) or wood shutters make subtle wall art.

Have at least one statement piece, like a beautiful daybed, a pair big iron urns with privet, or a vintage wire plant stand.

If your patio is exposed, use year round treated wicker, teak or aluminum furniture and weather resistant accessories like outdoor pillows and iron candlesticks.

I’ve also written several free downloadable books to get huge results in your home including my free download and home assessment workbook Healthy at Home: a home and wellness workbook. It gives you solid answers to how to make the zones in your home more user friendly; helps you identify what problems needs to be addressed now and what things can be put off till later; gives you actionable steps; plus I share my favorite online resources and digital tools to get you a beautiful, healthy lifestyle at home.

Live beautifully. Eat beautifully.  Shiree’