Summer and Spring warrant new outdoor decorating ideas, and there’s no shortage of those. What a wonderful feeling it is to enjoy the outdoors resting on a hammock or catching some sun while relaxing on a chaise lounge chair.
You may even decide to invite some friends and family over for a fabulous outdoor solstice dinner consisting of blended mojitos, shrimp ceviche, seared beef tenderloin, pear, endive, and walnut salad, Pinot Gris, and a luscious chocolate crème brûlée.
Everyone can spread out in the outdoor space, with some sitting at the patio dining table and others on the garden bench.
The glowing moon and outdoor lighting adds to the ambiance.
However, what if you don’t have patio furniture to help make any of these things possible?
You may feel overwhelmed at the thought of all the work that is involved in making your outdoor space a special and comfortable area. It could be something you’ve been putting off because you may feel as if the space is too small or too large to work with.
It can even be your own private getaway where you retreat to after a busy day at work or an enchanting place where you enjoy a warm summer eve admiring the moon and the stars as a light breeze brushes past your face.
Appreciating what the outdoors has to offer can enhance your quality of life because it gives you one more thing to look forward to. After all, aren’t moments like those that make life worth living?
Although improving your outdoor area may seem complicated, it really is not.
There are many types of patio furniture to choose from, along with outdoor accessories to complete the look. I will guide you through the different types of patio furniture that are available, along with other patio accessories to help get you started.
Armed with the necessary information will enable you to make the best choices when creating a welcoming outdoor retreat.
Types of Material Used to Make Patio Furniture
Teak: Teak is a type of wood that comes in a natural honey brown color and is used for manufacturing patio furniture.
This material naturally possesses high levels of resinous oil, which functions as an insect repellent (very resistant to attack by termites), is moisture resistant, and can tolerate the drying effects of weather.
It contains a substance, known as silica that creates a density to the wood, making it resistant to fungal decay, warping, rotting, shrinking, swelling, water, and other chemicals.
Teak will not rust or corrode metals it makes contact with, it does not require chemical treatment, and can withstand exposure to suntan lotion, body oil, swimming pool or sea water.
Furthermore, with time, teak turns a lovely grey color, but it can easily be restored to its natural color by doing a light sanding. The beauty about teak is that it requires minimal maintenance without needing to be sealed or treated on a regular basis. For these reasons, it’s a great choice for outdoor decorating furniture.
Wrought iron: Wrought iron is also used for outdoor furniture and accent pieces, and is available in traditional and elegant designs. The powder coat finish is weather resistant.
Wrought iron is very durable and will preserve its color and appearance despite many years of exposure to the blistering sun.
Also, since wrought iron is heavy, it will not blow around your backyard in windy weather. Even though furniture made from this material is a bit more expensive than other types of patio furniture, the good quality makes it worth the investment.
Wicker/Rattan: Outdoor decorating furniture made of this material is lightweight, durable, and flexible.
Since it’s portable, it can easily be rearranged. Wicker is a hard woven fiber that is also available in all weather resin, which has the appearance of real wicker and can withstand all types of weather.
It is almost maintenance free and cleaning involves merely wiping it down with a damp cloth followed by a light dusting.
Furthermore, rattan is derived from a solid timber vine that grows in Indonesia. It is very durable and resistant to splintering. Wicker and rattan patio furniture are versatile because they can be used both inside and outside. In addition to being comfortable, they are sturdy and aesthetically pleasing.
Aluminum: Aluminum is lightweight and does not rust or fade. It is available in an assortment of colors and is inexpensive in comparison to teak and wrought iron patio furniture.
Outdoor Furniture/Accessories: You can find outdoor bistro sets, patio dining sets, chaise lounge chairs, and benches in teak, wrought iron, wicker/rattan, or aluminum materials.
Some bistro sets come with folding chairs for easy storage.
Also, the chairs are offered in floral or animal designs, with the table top available in a plain or mosaic pattern. It makes a lovely addition to any outdoor decorating area.
Patio Dining Set: Patio dining sets come in rectangular or round shapes with seating for up to 8 people. Some tables are expandable and have glass top inserts for easy cleaning. Also, chairs are available with or without a round swivel base, and the chair cushions come in an assortment of colors, patterns, and designs.
Chaise Lounge Chair: This is perfect for sun bathing in comfort. Some have adjustable back rest positions and a knee bend section for added relaxation. It’s a cozy way to enjoy the outdoors.
Bench: A garden bench adds charm to the outdoors. It is a wonderful way to enjoy the outdoors and catch up on some reading. It also makes a great conversation spot.
Hammock: These are available as a hammock with stand, rope hammock, and as a quilted hammock. It is a fabulous place to curl up and recharge your batteries while enjoying the outdoors.
Patio Umbrella: Umbrellas provide a source of shade and protection from the strong rays of the sun and other elements.
Patio umbrellas are available in different colors and designs. It is a comfortable way to dine and makes a beautiful accent to the outdoor decorating area.
Patio umbrellas can stand alone or accompany a table by being inserted through the table top hole.
If it stands alone, an umbrella base is necessary. The base is usually sold separately.
Furthermore, umbrellas are available in different diameters. Umbrella diameters in 30-inch (6 foot) to 36-inch (7 foot) are ideal for bistro tables, while 48-inch (9 foot) to 60-inch (11 foot) umbrella diameters are used to cover larger dining sets.
Some of the types of umbrellas include market and cantilever umbrellas. The market umbrella can come with or without a tilt feature. Tilting allows you to remain in the shade as the sun moves around you.
The cantilever umbrella provides abundant shade and the head can be tilted in various positions to allow for added protection from the sun. It can be set any where and is available with an action crank and cantilever lock mechanism for easy operation and adjustment.
Patio Umbrella Accessories
Lighting: You can add lights to your patio umbrella. Patio umbrella lighting comes in LED lights, globe lights, umbrella light clips, and dual lamps that attach to the umbrella pole.
Mist Spray Unit: To stay cool on a warm day, you can attach a patio umbrella mist spray unit to the umbrella.
Additional Patio Accessories
Outdoor Heater: On chilly days, you can bring out the outdoor tabletop heater or a larger outdoor heater, which runs on liquid propane. Another idea is to gather around a fire pit for ambiance and warmth.
Outdoor Rug: If the area still seems a bit drab, you can incorporate an outdoor rug for added sophistication and beauty. Outdoor decorating rugs come in a variety of designs and patterns. A good material to keep in mind when choosing an outdoor rug are those made from polypropylene fibers. Polypropylene will not rot or accumulate mildew, and can endure through the sun, snow, sleet, and rain.
Patio Furniture Covers: Protect your investment with patio furniture covers. Most companies will include the patio furniture covers when you purchase your patio set. These durable covers are designed to protect your outdoor seating from rain, snow, sun, tree sap, birds, and other elements. The vinyl is generally waterproof and tailored to the dimensions of the tables, chairs, and lounge chaises.
The sound of water trickling is peaceful and a reminder of nature. There are a variety of styles, sizes, and colors to choose from.
Arbor: An arbor adds grace and elegance to your backyard/patio area. It’s a wonderful way to frame an entry way to a garden.
You can display climbing roses or ivy on an arbor, which gives it a unique look. It’s a great way to beautify your backyard and create a focal point.
Arbors vary in height and depths. Some have lattice work or ladder slats at the sides, with arched, peaked, or flat tops.
Garden accessories: You can include gnomes, statues, decorative stakes, along with other garden accessories of interest to you to further add interest to the area.
I felt it was important to cover these different areas in order to give you an opportunity to explore different ideas and come up with possibilities for your patio/garden area. Putting your own touches goes a long way to creating a welcoming outdoor retreat that is unique to your personality and tastes.
Keeping Outdoor Pests Away from Your Patio Area
You have spent countless hours creating that perfect outdoor retreat, but now have to contend with flying/crawling pests.
I have listed natural methods for combating outdoor pests because it’s a safer alternative and you may have concerns about children being exposed to pesticides and other harmful substances. There is no reason why you can’t enjoy the incredible outdoor retreat that has come to fruition.
Below are some tips to help you combat this problem.
Natural Ways to Deter the Following Pests
Mosquitoes dislike Marigolds because of the scent they emit.
Consider putting some Marigolds in pots and displaying them throughout your patio. You may also use them as a centerpiece for your table.
Not only will they deter mosquitoes, but they will also add beauty to your table.
Furthermore, if you are having a barbeque, you can sprinkle fresh sage or rosemary on the coals to repel mosquitoes. Even lavender oil or fresh lavender can be used as a mosquito repellent.
Sprinkle your table linens with the lavender or place a bouquet in a vase and adorn your table with it.
Also, pure vanilla has mosquito repelling properties as well. Use it to scent your linens, tablecloth, and napkins.
Flies: Flies are a problem in the outdoors. You can place crushed mint in the base of your floral arrangements as a means of controlling flies.
Another idea is to wrap bay leaves, cloves, and eucalyptus in cheese cloth squares and place them around the base of a table or garden bench.
Lastly, it’s been said that flies dislike the color yellow. Consider using yellow tablecloths to cover your table.
Ants: To control ants, you can place slices or peels of cucumber in several inconspicuous places. In addition to ants having a natural aversion to cucumbers, there are other elements they avoid, such as crushed mint. You can conceal crushed mint in floral arrangements that are displayed on top of a patio table.
Also, ants dislike powdered cloves, red pepper, ground cinnamon, salt, lemon juice, and coffee grounds. You can sprinkle some of these ingredients in areas where you see ant trails.
Herbs and Essential Oils Used to Repel Insects
The herbs that are best known for their insect repelling properties are:
- bay leaf
- neem leaf
Potent essential oils that may be mixed with herbs in insect repelling sachets or liquid infusions as a way to enhance their effectiveness are citronella and tea tree oils.
You can plant the insect repelling herbs in pots. In addition to preventing damage to plants by insects, the herbs function as a natural method of pest control.
In order to activate fresh herbs, you can rub them between the thumb and fingers using light pressure. In doing so, this brings the plant oils to the surface of the leaf and helps release the fragrance, which functions as an insect repellent.
You can crush dried leaves and stems and blend them with essential oils and then place them inside a cloth sachet. You can hang sachets of dried herbs on a hammock, patio umbrella, or other suitable outdoor areas to help ward off insects. Take measures to prevent the sachets from becoming damp. When not in use, store the sachets in a resealable plastic bag or glass jar in a cool, dry place.
An effective way to repel flies, fleas, and gnats is by using pennyroyal. Pennyroyal is an herb in the mint family. Yet, the essential oil of pennyroyal is considered toxic and care should be taken when handling it, especially by pregnant women.
Also, keep herbs and herbal preparations used to repel insects out of the reach of children and pets.
The essential oils that aid in repelling insects include:
- tea tree
You may find these at most health stores health store.
You can diffuse oils of citronella, eucalyptus, pennyroyal, lavender, rosemary, tea tree, basil, geranium or sage or make a spray with water by adding a few drops of the oil.
Lastly, you can burn citronella candles to keep insects at bay.