Breathe fresh summer air into your patio with these easy design tips to get it ready for the rays

Has your patio been neglected, unloved and sprouting weeds? Your outdoor space becomes the focal point of your home in the summer, and it's easy to make it shine – just check out our tips for a weekend fix.

Quick Patio Design Tips

1. Choose a theme: Wandering aimlessly through home and garden sections hoping for inspiration is a time waster. Go online or flip through some magazines for inspiration. Do you want your outdoor area to look modern, Tuscan, Zen-inspired, Moroccan? Whatever you choose, a theme will give you a clear idea of what to look for when you hit the stores.  

2. Renew with small statement items: Pick a few accessories that play to your theme; for example, lanterns, ceramic pots and stone statuettes. Then add some new outdoor cushions in trendy patterns, such as herringbone or paisley. Comb your home’s interior for older vases, candlesticks and dishes, and give them a new life outdoors.

3. Refresh your patio set: New outdoor patio furniture equals instant transformation. Keeping your theme in mind, look for a table and chairs in treated wood, stainless steel, glass or resin wicker. If your budget’s tight, update an aging patio set by painting it or recovering the cushions. Choose textiles that are moisture and fade resistant.

4. Create a lounge space:
Go beyond the cookie-cutter suburban patio by creating an outdoor living room with benches, recliners or even an outdoor sofa or daybed. If that sounds pricey for a weekend makeover, try wooden Adirondack chairs, which are relatively cheap and look great painted or stained. Add an umbrella or tenting for shade.

5. Focus on foliage: First, the unwanted variety: power-wash pathways to get rid of unsightly weeds, then hone in on potted plants. Hang a few baskets filled with easy-to-grow annuals such as petunias and begonias. Add plants that give off fragrance in the evenings, such as jasmine and honeysuckle. An herb planter box looks and smells great – and it’s practical for outdoor cooking! Bonus: pungent herbs such as lavender and peppermint help ward off insects.

6. Update your lighting: Even though the sun is out delightfully longer in the evenings, you still need to think about lighting. Solar spotlights are an affordable and green option, as are LED lights. Ensure you have direct illumination over cooking areas and walkways and use indirect lighting, such as planter lights and lanterns, elsewhere to add style and ambiance.

7. Think outdoor kitchen: You may not be able to afford a deluxe open-air range with a fridge and cocktail bar, but you can achieve a similar feel by organizing the space around your barbecue into a mini-kitchen with prep and serving stations. If you can afford a new barbecue, look for a model with warmers, fold-down shelves for extra workspace and wheels for easy storage. If you’re lucky enough to have an outdoor range, pick up a few new cooking tools – perhaps a grilling stone – and shatter-proof serving dishes in bright colours. Also: invite us over!

Now pick a BBQ for your patio picnic!