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Journal

June 30th

Make Your Patio Work for You

In San Diego our patios are extensions of our indoor living spaces. When the temperature is right – and it mostly is – we can throw open the doors and often double our room to host family and friends. But a plain slab of cement isn’t particularly inviting, is it? Here are a few tips for making your home’s exterior as your beautiful as its interior:

• First, consider the flow. If your patio extends from your family room, for example, carry through that room’s colors to the outdoor space. This will provide continuity and really enhance that feeling of a larger room rather than two separate areas.

• Add color. All-weather rugs are an inexpensive way to give warmth and continuity to your patio entertainment area.

Durable outdoor furniture creates a second living room for your home.

• Anchor the patio with outdoor furniture. If space allows, create a dining area with an all-weather table and chairs so you can enjoy meals al fresco. Then arrange a conversational area with a sofa, chairs and a coffee table.

• If your patio is more hardscape than landscape, soften it with potted plants. Miniature citrus trees are cute and they smell great. Herbs also provide a nice aroma and are handy for cooking too.

• Summer evenings are perfect for sitting outside. Shine some light on your patio by stringing paper lanterns (available at discount and party stores) from your house to a nearby tree or fence post. If you have a patio cover, attach a candle chandelier to the center for flickering ambience. A fire pit – installed or portable – makes for a fun gathering spot as the cool winds take over the night.

Colorful plants soften your patio's hardscape – and they attract whimsical hummingbirds. (photo by Simon Howden)

• Even though most outdoor cushion manufacturers say the fabric is durable for all kinds of weather, your best bet is to cover them when not in use, especially if they will endure hot sun. Take them inside during the off-season to avoid rain and mold.

• One of my favorite shops for patio design is Chicweed on Cedros Avenue in Solana Beach, where you’ll find all kinds of furniture, rugs, plants and outdoor décor.

Please contact us at Style on a Shoestring if we can help with any of your home design needs.