Summer's nearly here and it's time to move the party outside

Spring is happily upon us and with it comes the much-anticipated patio season. Getting together with friends and family for barbecue cook-offs, fireside dining and late-night board games are just some of the highlights Vancouverites have to look forward to in the coming months – but is your outdoor space as ready as you are?

Fret not, urban dweller; these nine must-haves will help get your patio party-ready for summer.

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Warm Up the Cosy Factor

Warm Up the Cosy Factor

When it comes to open-air get-togethers in Vancouver, having an urban fire element keeps guests cosy and captivated.

“If you want to entertain and be outside, you have to have some kind of fire (feature),” says local landscaper Ray Evenson of West Coast Modernscape. “It goes back to our ancestry to build a fire,” says Evenson.

Fires are functional, but also add that interactive entertainment factor. Even if outdoor square-footage is limited, fire tables, pits and bowls come in a wide range of sizes.

And going natural gas means you don’t need to sacrifice space for a propane tank. Instead, you connect to your home’s existing natural gas supply using a flexible hose called a quick connect. Remember to always contact a licensed gas contractor when extending your home’s natural gas piping to your patio or backyard. Find a contractor in your neighbourhood.

$3600, Sticks and Stones Furniture

Pest Patrol
Credit: Eartheasy

Pest Patrol

If there’s one thing that can ruin a patio party, it’s unwanted guests. Coming to the rescue is this non-toxic glass wasp trap, created by Vancouver-based and family-owned Eartheasy. Reusable and delightfully inconspicuous – when hung in the background it could pass for a patio lantern.

$15.99, Eartheasy

A Cut Above
Credit: Provide

A Cut Above

Interior design’s heavy-hitting geometric trend has made its way onto the charcuterie board, and just in time for patio season. Featuring a distinct angular profile and an etched surface, the Ray board series (available in two sizes) is handcrafted by Alberta-based studio On Our Table. Thoughtfully designed for entertaining, you’ll appreciate the walnut board’s bevelled edges that allow for easy pickup.

$155, Provide

Pared-Down Patio
Credit: Moe's

Pared-Down Patio

When it comes to furniture, rounded wicker elements are out and linear, minimalist is in. “This lean toward streamlined silhouettes in the main furniture allows for greater flexibility for multiple seasons,” says Vancouver designer Jennifer Scott of A Good Chick To Know.

Just like a good power suit, this smart set from MOE’S Home Collection in Vancouver is neutral and sophisticated, leaving ample opportunity for expression through accessories. “You can use bold textiles to match your taste or the trends seasonally, while the big pieces remain a sleek basic,” says Scott.

$2,699, Moe's

Plant Partitions

Plant Partitions

In the urban environment, patio privacy can be in short supply. Homemade partitions (with varying degrees of success) can be seen mounted between neighbours all over the city – but Williams-Sonoma can do you one better. The Free Standing Vertical Chalkboard Garden has multiple brackets for holding planters and a chalkboard frame to provide that vertical living wall of privacy for summer soirees.

$399.95, Williams-Sonoma

Monogram Your Meal

Monogram Your Meal

It’s a conversation piece, it’s entertainment – it’s a grill-master’s special splurge.

Personality is a huge theme in outdoor design this season and it doesn’t get more individualized than the Monogrammed Forged Steak Brand that sears initials into your grilled grub.

Hand-forged by a Texas cattle rancher, Williams-Sonoma asserts this is an authentic miniature of the cattle brands used to identify livestock and designate ranch families. (Note: Father’s Day is June 15).

$39.95,  Choose single, double or triple initials at Williams-Sonoma

Ultimate Grill Station

Ultimate Grill Station

For the spring-to-fall living area, the outdoor kitchen and its main act – le grill  – are fast-becoming a custom-made necessity, according to Ken Best of Synthesis Design in North Vancouver.

“The built-in barbecue, with some workspace on either side, is a very popular feature,” says Best. Meal prep and entertaining are happily taking place side-by-side in this arrangement and customized kitchens efficiently maximize available space.

This backyard beauty, also known as the 30-inch Built-In Outdoor Grill by Wolf, features heavy-duty stainless steel construction, individually contained burners to control heat independently in each zone and LED lit knobs for nighttime grilling.

$5,174.99, Kerrisdale Lumber

Patio Brights
Credit: Pottery Barn

Patio Brights

According to local designer Jennifer Scott, the bright colours popular in textiles are following through to the accessory pieces we use outdoors. Especially with minimalist patio furniture, you need to add visual interest in other ways. This can be achieved easily by incorporating pops of intense colours in tabletop, like the red Rope Outdoor Dinnerware collection from Pottery Barn. Each rope-trimmed piece resembles a hand-painted, glazed ceramic, yet it’s actually melamine and completely unbreakable (i.e. poolside-friendly).

$26 to $47, Available in a variety of colours to mix and match at Pottery Barn

Keeping Cosy and Comfy
Credit: Johnstone's

Keeping Cosy and Comfy

Talk to any party planner, if the guests are cold, it doesn’t matter how nice the food was – that’s all they’ll remember. Ensuring the great outdoors are comfortable is paramount, confirms local landscape designer Ray Evenson. Especially in our Vancouver climate, a patio heater like this natural gas variety from Patio Comfort will come in handy. Its heat is adjustable (you want to make guests warm, not sweat), the ignition is matchless and the whole thing is portable so it can be moved to where it’s most needed.

$649.99, Johnstone's

 

At FortisBC, we love patio season too

Whether you’re relaxing with friends around a cosy fire pit, or hosting a big family barbecue, natural gas provides the warmth and ambience you’ll want for your patio. Plus, you’ll never run out of fuel again while grilling that perfect steak.
Discover why natural gas is good for outdoor living and enter to win a $10,000 natural gas dream patio from FortisBC in their Endless Summer Nights Contest!

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