With spring around the corner, and all the bedding plants showing up at your favorite home center, it's time to start thinking about enjoying the patio again. A few small projects can take that dull, blank space and turn it into a patio with panache.
1. Paint the floor. Plain Jane concrete isn't something to get excited about; but painting the concrete can perk up your porch or patio. Go to your local paint store and have them help you pick out a color and give you all the prep materials. It's more time-consuming than hard, but a painted patio looks neat and stylish.
2. Paint your furniture. Over the winter or after several years outdoors, patio furniture can lose its luster. Sand and spray-paint your furniture to bring it back to life. If you have a big set, look for a local painter who can sandblast and powder-coat your furniture to make it look like new again.
3. Create a seating area or an eating area. Give your patio a defined eating or seating space with an indoor/outdoor rug. Add a seating arrangement to create an outdoor living space or a table for some al fresco dining in your new outdoor room.
4. String up some lights. Add some string lights across the patio for great Mediterranean bistro ambiance at night. Add a timer so the lights pop on and off automatically.
5. Place lanterns around the space. Romantic and ethereal, candle lanterns set artfully around a seating area, next to a chair or on a dining table are uber-romantic and create a layered lighting effect.
6. Electrify it. Install a sound system or electrical outlets to enjoy TV on the patio. With Wi-Fi-enabled speakers and televisions, you can turn your patio into an outdoor living room.
7. Add water. Create a patio fountain out of a planter. Cluster a grouping of plants around an urn, pop in a fountain pump from your home center, and you have a terrific sound that's peaceful and can help drown out background noise.
8. Get unique seating. Make lounging outdoors more inviting with a swinging bed hung from the ceiling or a pair of swinging rattan chairs. They're trendy and will be the seat everyone wants to sit in when you go outside.
9. Re-cushion chairs and couches. Patio cushions take a beating from the elements and the sun, so replace to refresh and update your patio. Mix solid seat cushions with patterned throw pillows for a homey feeling.
10. Add shade or structure. If your patio is flat and exposed, it's time to add an arbor or string up some sunshade fabric that will give you much needed shade and help you enjoy more time outdoors comfortably.
After being cooped up in the house, a patio project is the perfect way to get some fresh air and prepare for the summer months ahead.
(For more information, contact Kathryn Weber through her website, www.redlotusletter.com.)
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