This is a guest post from our friends at Crate and Barrel.
The earthy aromas of freshly-mown grass, damp after-rain air and baby blossoms are soon approaching. The nicer the temperatures, the more time you’ll yearn to spend outside. Is your yard ready? Check out our top five decorating tips for sprucing up your outdoor space for spring. From the walkway to the backyard, your home exterior will look as fresh and inviting as the inside.
Tip 1: Create defined sections for lounging and dining
Use furniture and accessories to designate spaces for relaxing and entertaining.
On the Deck or Patio
To create a semi-enclosed circle for casual courtyard conversations, arrange seating furniture in a horseshoe shape. Start with the biggest piece—like a sectional—and build the setup around that. Between each sofa, love seat or chair, include a small side table or short pedestal. Not only do these surfaces create more space for decor and lighting, but they also provide a place for guests to set drinks and snack plates during parties. A large outdoor area rug underfoot clearly designates a lounge area of the patio. Take it a step further and include a secondary area rug in a complementary pattern or color scheme under the dining table, too. When shopping for outdoor carpets, look for durable, easy-care materials, such as polypropylene, jute and bamboo.
In the Yard
Think beyond the deck. Assemble your fire pit out in the yard away from the house, creating a softly-lit nook for cocktails, s’mores and tall tales. Complete your campsite with cozy chaises, fluffy throw pillows, poufs and an accent table for drinks and snacks.
Tip 2: Mix up your decor theme
Choose a dreamy locale for inspiration. Try these colorful ideas:
Is the Mediterranean Sea calling your name? Light up your patio with the vibrant colors of Morocco. Jewel-toned throw pillows easily add Eastern flair to neutral sofas. Coordinate with a patterned rug, and consider hanging outdoor curtains around the space, too. Elegantly-draped fabric feels cosmopolitan and will help to keep the sun out, creating a cool, shaded lounge area. Also traditional to the theme, low seating and tabletops ground the space. Scatter poufs accompanied by decorative serving trays for coasters and snack bowls throughout the patio.
Feeling more European this year? The Italian bistro look is all about small seating for two and round cafe dining tables. For this look, find a simple set of stacking chairs to set out and stow away with ease. Bistro sets are perfect for small outdoor spaces such as front porches and apartment balconies.
A classic island cabana getaway is all about resort opulence. Think shiny metal sofa and chair frames, plush off-white cushions, poolside chaise lounges and specialty seating, like modern hanging pod chairs.
Tip 3: Restock your outdoor refreshment station
Nothing inspires a backyard barbecue more than a fresh set of grilling utensils and a fun new outdoor dinnerware set.
Spring cuisine is all about garden-fresh veggies from the first local farmers’ market of the year. Invest in a set of skewers or a new grill basket. Another spring foodie favorite? Fresh fish. Toss a cod cutlet or salmon steak over the coals. While specialty cookware pieces, such as fish spatulas and garlic roasters, make every cookout feel like an event, you can certainly make it through the season with a traditional three-piece grill tool set—tongs and spatulas are absolute must-haves.
Free up cabinet space in the kitchen and store your outdoor dinnerware, flatware and table linens in an outdoor storage cabinet. Stack durable melamine dinner plates (an excellent family-friendly option often featuring playful patterns, perfect for casual get-togethers) and snack bowls on the shelves. Cabinets with bar storage allow you to hang drinkware such as wine glasses (look for sturdy acrylic constructions for safest outdoor use). Atop the cabinet, set out shiny bar accessories and various alcohol and mixer options for a miniature self-serve patio bar. Arrange all accoutrements on a serving tray to protect the top of your dining storage cabinet.
Tip 4: Create a custom conservatory
Breathe fresh air into your outdoor space with a smattering of live ferns and flowers, decking out the patio from the ground up.
On the Floor
Start on the floor—the most likely home of your biggest and boldest botanicals. Sturdy ceramic planters are perfect containers for tall cacti, big banana leaf trees and sculpted bushes. To create an old-school European garden feel, flank the stairs or entrances leading into the outdoor space with your biggest planters and trees. Keep spiky plants tucked away in otherwise empty corners to minimize accidental pricks.
Make your outdoor lounge area feel fresh and welcoming by adding colorful seasonal blooms to tabletops. Incorporate a mixture of fresh-cut flowers in vases—orchids are a timeless choice—and small succulents and shrubs in planters. Complete your down-to-earth decor theme by using a succulent garden in a decorative container as the centerpiece of the coffee or dining table.
Hanging planters draw the eye upward, highlighting the space overhead. Look for vining plants or long, droopy ferns to invoke an opulent, old-school look. Think Gatsby-era over-the-top and add one or two more hanging baskets than you think you should.
Tip 5: Give your front porch some love, too
While the entryway is typically a smaller space, it has potential for a spring refresh. Try these ideas:
When we think of front porch sitting, we think of a charming pair of rocking chairs and a coordinating accent table between them for cool drinks on coasters. Elevate the traditional patio furniture setup and add a rug underfoot—natural jute or bamboo constructions make the space feel breezy and rustic. Alternatively, coordinate a vibrantly-patterned rug with jewel-toned outdoor pillows and seat cushions for a bright, summery look. If you have the space, consider adding extra seating, such as a wicker love seat along the side railing or a small sectional sofa at either end of the porch.
A Touch of Color
For a subtle hint of color, consider painting the ceiling of the space. Seafoam green, pale yellow and sky blue keep it light. Prep your porch for dusk with the addition of a lamp or two. Incorporating both table and floor lamps makes your outdoor space feel like a natural extension of your home’s interior.
This is a guest post from our friends at Crate and Barrel.
Hannah Bollman writes inspirational and informational content around home design and entertaining for Crate and Barrel. She graduated with a degree in English from the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana. In her spare time, Hannah enjoys performing stand-up comedy all over Chicago and working to improve her 5K time.