5 Quick Upgrades To Make Your Outdoor Space Ready For Entertaining
One of the best parts of warmer weather is spending more time outside, and that includes any outdoor space you might have. After a long winter, spring is the perfect time to upgrade your patio or garden, so we asked experts for their tips to make your spot perfect for entertaining, relaxing, and everything in between:
Clean it up.
First things first: Give your space a spruce! As Lindsay Pangborn, a gardening expert at Bloomscape, tells mbg, you'll want to give covered spaces like patios or balconies a sweep. "Keep in mind that there might be some cobwebs in overarching areas or additional grime from the colder/wet seasons," she notes.
And for spaces that are more exposed to external elements, she says you can touch up any faded paint or stainings, wash any dirty stone and concrete, and rake up any dead leaves or debris that may have gathered. "Adding a layer of mulch or doing a quick lawn mowing session can also make your outdoor space appear brand-new," she adds.
And of course, if you're pulling anything like furniture or lawn ornaments out of storage, Pangborn also advises giving those a good scrub or wipe to keep them in good shape.
Identify the function of the space and plan accordingly.
Now that your space is clean, you can home in on what you want its function to be. Pangborn recommends getting clear on the kinds of events you want to host and planning accordingly for things like furniture, seating, grills, storage, etc.
"If you would like to have more community, create more friendships, and connect with the outside world, bring in more seats," says architect and feng shui expert Anjie Cho. She adds that increasing your seating will also make the space more inviting, and promote a good flow of chi.
"For new purchases," Pangborn adds, "measure out your space to make sure it all fits perfectly."
If you're working with a large outdoor space that includes a patio, garden, etc., Cho recommends creating "zones" that serve different purposes. "Create space for gathering, an open area to allow chi to flow, enough seating to invite in friends, and space for dining and conversation," she says, adding that it's also not a bad idea to have a "quiet" zone for people to find some respite.
Consider your visual impact.
Shifting the focus to décor, sometimes it's the little things that really tie a space together, and Pangborn recommends finding little things that speak to your style and the vibe you want the space to have.
"Personalize the space with fresh style and color accents, [focusing] on what feeling you'd like your outdoor space to convey—for example, fun, relaxing, or eclectic," she says, adding to think about things like rugs, pillows, tabletop décor, lighting, and weatherproof speakers for a music source.
Cho adds that from a feng shui perspective, you can also incorporate the elements wood, metal, fire, water, and earth. Perhaps you get a calming, flowing fountain for water, stones for earth, or a firepit for fire, she adds.
Plants, plants, plants.
And last but not least, there's nothing quite like a lush garden to complete your outdoor display. Cho and Pangborn both recommend incorporating plenty of plants and flowers into your space.
Just make sure you know the needs of each plant, so you can give it the right amount of sunlight, Pangborn says. "Using hanging pots and various-sized planters can also allow you to mix and match your style and visually carry plants throughout the entire space," she adds.
If you're into the feng shui angle and want to incorporate all five elements, Cho notes the following five plants correspond with them:
- Fire: Japanese maple
- Metal: Snowball hydrangeas
- Earth: Forsythia
- Water: Blackberry shrub
- Wood: Tall ornamental grasses or bamboo
Cho also notes that day lilies represent family harmony, peonies represent luck and wealth, and orange trees represent prosperity and abundance—so those are great to incorporate, as well. (Check out our full guide to garden feng shui for more info!)
Pangborn also says petunias, geraniums, and salvia blooms can help achieve relaxing hues if you like cooler tones in the warmer months. If you're more for classic beauty, she recommends going for shades of silver, green, and white, such as impatiens, dichondra, gryphon begonias, and polka dot plants.
Feeling more of a tropical vibe? Think reds, oranges, and yellows, Pangborn says. And for a super-summery aesthetic, "adding lantanas, ipomoeas, dahlias, and cannas can make a lush paradise," she says.
Lastly, don't forget about vivid blooms like trailing vines and bright flowers. "Calibrachoas, creeping jennys, petunias, and coleuses allow you to make a bolder outdoor space," Pangborn tells mbg.
The bottom line.
Whether you're planning a fabulous outdoor dinner party or just want to make your garden more pleasant for you and your family in the warmer days to come, it doesn't take much to totally revamp your space. With a good cleaning, some new plants, and some personalized décor, you'll never want to go back inside.
Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Editor, a registered yoga instructor, and an avid astrologer and tarot reader. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from State University of New York at Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.