Summer is right around the corner. Whether you’ve got a tiny apartment balcony or a fully landscaped backyard, there are plenty of ways you can upgrade your outdoor space to get the most out of the sunny days ahead. If your patio isn’t ready for entertaining quite yet, don’t fret. Even a few small changes can make a huge impact. Some patio updates can even increase the value of your home and your overall curb appeal – especially important if you’re trying to sell your home. Perhaps you’re on a tight budget, or maybe you’re ready to invest in the very best – whatever your situation, here are 10 ways to update your outdoor space to make it your favorite summertime destination.
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1. Start from the ground up
It’s easy to overlook the ground space when upgrading your patio, but even a simple addition, like a patterned outdoor rug or fun mat, can make a huge difference. If you’re looking for a bigger transformation, consider installing concrete pavers or deck tiles, which you can DIY starting at $1 per square foot. If you want to refinish an existing foundation, a new coat of paint or stain, can also do the trick of refreshing your outdoor space. If you’re looking to invest in a permanent solution, consider a new concrete or stone foundation; as these are best installed by professionals, shop around for quotes from local contractors.
2. Swap out your seating
Patio entertaining is all about relaxing and enjoying those warm summer nights in comfort. Whether you’re looking for a table and chairs for al fresco dining, or just looking for a conversation set to transport your living room hangouts outdoors, patio furniture sets the mood. Consider how many people you’ll need to accommodate and what materials will best suit your style: aluminum and plastic furniture tend to be budget-friendly, while more substantial or natural materials and larger sets will cost you more.
3. Shade yourself in style
A covered area can cool you off and give guests a great gathering spot to enjoy drinks, food, and fun. For the ultimate in European charm, look no further than a stylish covered pergola. Pre-assembled wooden pergolas can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000 and we’d recommend going the pre-built route instead of DIY-ing this task. If you’re on a budget, a mountable sun shade sail, offset umbrella, or soft-top gazebo will provide shade and style at a much more affordable price.
4. Light it up
One of the most overlooked aspects of an outdoor patio is how it appears at night. Outdoor lighting can make your patio space sparkle and provide a fun aesthetic to both small and large outdoor areas. Our favorite budget options are string lights and curtain lights, known for their affordability and versatility. We recommend staying away from colored lights to avoid the forgot-to-take-down-your-Christmas-lights look. Setting up waterproof solar-powered wall lights can help illuminate your space without adding to your energy bill, while mounted dimmable smart lights give you a variety of color and intensity options for different moods, all controlled by an app.
5. Pick a pretty pot
Flower pots can instantly freshen up your outdoor space. Plant colorful flowers or lush greenery in any number of pots for a transformative update. Flower pots come in a variety of options, ranging from small plastic pots ($2) to mid-size resin or ceramic options ($15) to statement pieces, like weathered oak barrels ($45) and large self-watering pots ($70). The most economical choice? Decorate your own with paint and let your creativity flow. Expect to pay anywhere from $20 to $100 for potting soil and flowers, too.
6. Turn up the volume
Get your party started the right way with an outdoor sound system. Several options are available for that outdoor dance party you’ve always dreamed about, or just to set the mood with some chill background music: wall-mounted, floor-mounted, garden-planted, rock speakers, and portable bluetooth speakers. Prices may range from under $100 for a decent portable speaker to over $800 for a full outdoor speaker system.
7. Get that campfire glow
If the thought of having a tasty s’more treat anytime you want is appealing, you need to consider a fire table for your yard or patio space. They’re easier and safer to use than their bonfire counterparts and come in a variety of specs to fit any budget. You can anticipate spending anywhere between $100 to $1,000 on a wood-burning or propane fire pit.
Note: these are not recommended for apartment balconies. This tip is strictly for open areas where fires are considered safe and are permitted by your neighborhood’s rules.
8. Elevate your garden
Heighten the visual appeal of small plants, flowers, herbs and more with a raised garden bed. It’s exactly what you think it is – a garden bed, raised to tabletop level. You can buy an elevated planter kit for quick installation. Vertical garden beds add even more height to a raised garden. Keep in mind that small raised garden beds require a little more TLC as the soil won’t stay moist for as long as it does in the ground.
9. Design your own patio greenhouse
Having your own greenhouse doesn’t have to be complicated. Get your green thumb some action when you install a portable patio greenhouse for your outdoor space. Greenhouses are the best of both worlds as they give you an extended growing season for plants, herbs, fruits, vegetables and flowers while providing a cool decorative element to your patio.
10. Tidy up landscaping
Even the most beautifully furnished and decorated patio will disappoint if the only view to enjoy is a yard overgrown with weeds. Create a neat, clean, organized space to enjoy by weeding, mowing, and mulching the garden around your patio area. Spoiler: the budget pick is to do-it-yourself, but investing in a few nifty tools, like a stand-up weeder and motorized lawn mower can leave you less sore, and more satisfied, after a day of yard work. If your yard feels a little too wild, keep in mind that splurging on just one day with a landscape service can make your landscaping much easier to maintain on your own moving forward. That’s why we strongly recommend hiring a landscape service to start you off on the right foot. Another great bonus – landscaping immediately increases your home’s resale value.