● By Family Features
Creating a perfect outdoor oasis — the first step toward a summer filled with carefree entertaining — requires careful planning for the entire space. While the arrival of spring is the perfect time to start thinking about landscape elements, don’t overlook the finer details, such as the furniture and accessories, that truly bring an outdoor space to life.
Whether you’re looking to create a family-friendly space for entertaining, a serene poolside retreat or a secret garden that showcases your green thumb, begin by defining your vision. Having a clear idea of how your finished space will look and feel will help you make the best decisions as you begin designing the retreat of your dreams.
Furniture that fits
Although tastes and trends may change from one season to the next, selecting the right furniture pieces from the start will let you bring fresh new looks to your outdoor space in other ways.
Sectional seating is an attractive option because it allows you to redefine your space in minutes. Hosting a party? Strategically placed sectional seating can open up your space and encourage an evening of mingling. Prefer a more intimate arrangement for poolside conversations or a date-night in? The sectional can be rearranged into a closer configuration.
Look for a versatile collection in neutral colors, such as Pier 1 Imports’ Echo Beach collection. This sectional can be arranged in more than 20 different ways, allowing you to arrange and rearrange to your heart’s content.
To round out your furniture, consider the highly functional but often underrated garden stool. Place one in a quiet corner for meditative moments, pair them to create a one-of-a-kind coffee table, or pull one up when you need an extra seat. As an added bonus, when cooler weather returns, you can pull your garden stool indoors for a sweet reminder of summer.
Investing in the right pieces will save you time and money in the long run. When you’re ready for a new look, you can easily change the feel of your patio with accessories or a new brightly colored accent piece, such as a tiled bistro table or outdoor Papasan chair.
Accent your style
Once your furniture is in place, you’ve got a blank slate to play with and most importantly, to accessorize! Accessorizing is where the decorating happens and your personal style shines through.
Add pillows, cushions, umbrellas, outdoor rugs and even outdoor curtains to your space, and what started as a dull patio will begin to transform into an extension of your home. To mix patterns like a pro, choose pillows and rugs in the same color family, vary the scale of your patterns and introduce textures to ensure that they don’t compete with each other.
Be sure to layer in treasures that are uniquely you — lanterns, wall decor, statues and windchimes — to establish a space bursting with personality.
Remember, small changes can make a big impact. Refresh last year’s patterns with the new trends, or simply add a few new accessories into your existing decor for a budget-friendly way to satisfy your urge to update.
Once your beautiful outdoor space is complete, you’ll undoubtedly be eager to showcase your hard work. Make entertaining a breeze with these tips from the experts at Pier 1 Imports:
Highlight your party’s main attraction — the food.
- If you’re hosting the whole family for a cookout, make memories during a sit-down meal around your outdoor dining table. Freshen up the meal with dinnerware that’s as eye-catching as it is durable. Easy-care melamine and fresh-hued acrylic stemware pieces let your guests enjoy without fear of shattering glasses or the festive mood.
- A less conventional approach that is perfect for drinks and small bites — serving carts. They bring action to the party, whether that’s on the patio, in the garden or poolside.
Create a one-of-a-kind tablescape.
- Combine your favorite accessories, such as handcrafted trays, detailed lanterns and a colorful bouquet, to create a cheerful centerpiece that instantly feels like summer.
- Give your party buffet a personal touch with an eclectic mix of your favorite serving dishes. Think multi-use beverage tubs, cheery cake stands and bold chip and dip trays.
Think about the light, both day and night.
- For a daytime pool party, protect guests from sunburn and the heat by investing in colorful umbrellas to provide a little shade — and the perfect place to sip a cold drink.
- When the sun sets, opt for a more romantic glow that lights up the night. Strategically placed lanterns in a variety of styles, shapes and colors will be the light of your party.
- For mood lighting at the touch of a button, Pier 1 Imports’ outdoor LED candles resemble their melted wax counterparts but offer a bit of added magic. They’re compatible with a remote control (sold separately) that allows you to set a timer with automatic shut-off.
Gifts of Summer
If summer finds you doing more party-going than party-throwing, show your gratitude by bringing along a little something that recognizes all the work that goes into hosting a perfect party.
- Think about items that can be used at the party, such as wine charms or a citronella candle with a lantern for a practical, yet fun gift.
- Everyone loves a good party game. Pier 1 Imports’ Horseshoe Game or Ladder Ball & Bean Bag Game are great hostess gift options.
- If you’re attending a potluck, bring your famous dessert on a serving dish that you know the host will love and leave it behind so it can be enjoyed for parties to come.
Find more tips to transform your boring backyard into a refreshing retreat at www.pier1.com.