Weekend Cleanup Series: Pretty Up Your Patio

Revive your current decor.

Before buying new chair cushions, see what you can do with the old ones. Shake out dust, then clean up stains with a multipurpose, color-safe cleaner. Mix the cleaner with warm water in a bucket, following package directions, and dip a sponge in the solution and wipe the stains. Let the solution soak in for 15 minutes. Rinse with a hose and air-dry. Got icky umbrellas? Follow the same steps to clean them.

Add a decorative rug.

A pretty outdoor throw rug will define your seating area and make it feel more intimate. If the rug’s label indicates that it can be washed, do so once a month with a solution of stain remover and water in a bucket. Scrub the rug using a large nylon chore brush, then rinse with a hose and air-dry.

Let there be light.

Glass lanterns or tiki torches that throw off a warm glow will encourage your friends and family to linger after the sun sets. You can also brighten things up by wrapping strands of tiny white outdoor lights around a column.

Green it up.

A container garden can beautify your patio and provide mouthwatering fruits and veggies. Pick a container at least 24 inches in diameter so there’s room for strong plant roots to develop. Choose a large plant like a tomato or a tall plant like fennel as a centerpiece, and then fill around the edges with smaller herb plantings, like parsley, basil, or rosemary. As a finishing visual touch, include something that will dangle over the edge, like strawberries.

Encorporate serene sounds.

Wind chimes made from bamboo, teak, metal, glass, or shells create relaxing sounds of music. You can step the serenity moments up a notch by adding a small water garden (find one with a recirculating pump so you can enjoy the sound of trickling water). All you need now are burgers, drinks, and your loved ones.

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