Quick Patio Pick-Me-Ups
Make It Memorable
Strike that highly coveted balance between modern and vintage with just a few savvy touches: a zap of peacock blue, a vintage letter as artwork, the gray-and-white checkerboard concrete slab, and a centerpiece of succulents sunk into twine-wrapped pots.
The Secret Garden (Bench)
This little bench is tucked away nearly out of sight. Sheltered by a leafy canopy, softened with pillows, and surrounded by billowing potted plants, it's a serene spot to soak up a garden's beauty.
Seating a Crowd
Most outdoor furniture is meant to oblige just a few folks, but this L-shape table stretches long enough that it can accommodate lots of people -- and food to feed 'em. Heavy-duty, concrete-block pillars hold aloft a tabletop of humble wood planks for a sturdy, weatherproof table and buffet.
Fast Makeover Ideas
Refresh your patio in just 10 minutes with these fast and fabulous outdoor decorating ideas.
The Light Fantastic
Almost any container that transmits light -- from large glass jars to open-weave baskets like these -- can stand in as a shade on an overhead pendant. Simply thread the cord through one end of the basket, screw in the bulb and a glass globe, and flip the switch. Hanging a whole throng, rather than just one, gives the fixtures even more of the spotlight.
Black and White Booster
Never underestimate the impact of a tall garden container spiked with bright blooms. (The sunny yellow flowers are even more eye-catching because the pot is black and white.) Flanking a doorway, tucked in a corner, or marking a path, such hefty containers add architecture and visual weight to an outdoor room.
Greet guests with a hand-painted doormat in whatever pattern you please -- this one is a stencil dabbed with three shades of green paint.
There's no reason an outdoor table can't boast the same flourishes and luxuries as an indoor one. Just about everything that dresses a dining table, such as cloth linens, dazzling centerpieces, and real glassware, will transfer to the patio with no problem.
Wild at Heart
What could be breezier (and easier) than wildflower bouquets clustered on a tabletop? You don't even need fancy vases -- in fact, that might miss the whole point! These are a mix of mason jars and old jelly jars. Once you've run them through the dishwasher to remove the label, they happily serve as catchalls for food and flowers.
Careful and artful arrangement of concrete bricks in different shapes and smooth river rocks in various hues form an inexpensive flowered "rug" for the garden. All the materials are readily available at home and garden centers, proving that clever design need not have a hefty price tag.
Outdoor fabrics have come a long way in recent years; they have a softer hand and are flush with fresh colors and patterns -- and they still stand up to bright sunlight and humidity with grace. The stunning array of fabrics on the market means that outdoor cushions, pillows, and curtains can be as trendy and dazzling as those inside.
Cheap & Chic Refreshers
Perk up your space on the cheap with these creative, character-boosting makeover ideas.
Light of the World
What a difference a little lighting can make! This gazebo glows with illumination from several sources: strings of bulbs, candle chandeliers, solar-powered landscape lights, battery-operated lanterns, and overhead fixtures. Not only do these lights guide your footsteps through the yard as the sun is setting, but they also conjure cozy ambience at twilight and beyond.
A protected patio -- that is, one with a roof and a wall or two -- can indulge in interior-style design because its furnishings and accessories are sheltered from the elements. Here, several rounds of wood (each crafted from slices of skinny branches) float on the wall over the bench for modern-looking -- but still outdoor-appropriate -- artwork.
Put a Cork On It
To corral flyaway curtains on a patio or porch, like this nubby one made of burlap, gather and tie them with a length of twine and a cork. It costs nearly nothing but piles on the charm.
Succulents crowd into a shallow shadow box for an ultra-slim, portable, vertical garden. Choose plants that have the same requirements for sun and water, and vary the color and texture of the leaves for the most eye-catching display.