Monday, 4 June 2012

Create A Patio Haven

Summer is around the corner and 'tis the season for outdoor living. Options for creating an outdoor space abound and can be customized depending on your budget, taste and how you intend to use the space most often. Whether you have a small balcony or a full-size deck, there are decorating pieces available to fit all needs.

The basics of an outdoor room include seating (chairs or benches and tables), an umbrella, accessories such as lights or candles, fire pits (optional) and grills (gas or charcoal). Before buying furniture and accessories for an outdoor space consider the following:

The outdoor space itself -
The amount of space you have at your disposal, the position of the access points to the space and any safety considerations (e.g. fire safety for wooden decks) will determine the kind of furniture and accessories suitable for your outdoor haven. A small patio balcony attached to an apartment will most likely hold a small table and a couple of chairs. Most balconies are covered so an umbrella may not be necessary. If the space already has outdoor lighting you will not need to buy lights or candles unless they are for ambiance. A larger deck will hold more people and so require more furniture.

Type of furniture -

Patio furniture comes in a variety of materials and styles and provides a plethora of choice for creating just the space you want. The most common materials for furniture are wicker, wood, plastic and metal (aluminum, steel, wrought iron, etc.). Fabrics on patio furniture are usually weather-proof thereby eliminating the need for protection from rain or snow. You can choose between standard chairs, loungers or storage benches with seating on top. Umbrellas offer an even wider choice with enhanced features like tilting stands for sun protection from any angle, built-in lights and fabrics that offer UV protection.

Patio accessories -
Creating a cozy outdoor space is even easier with the availability of several accessory pieces like fire pits, tiki torches, string lights and solar lights, and even outdoor rugs. Fire pits provide the glow and warmth of a campfire without the hassle, and are great for entertaining - s'mores anyone? Tiki torches bring a touch of class and can also be used with citronella oil to ward off pesky insects. String lights come in beautiful colors and shapes and will enhance any outdoor space. Solar lights not only provide the perfect low glow but are also environment-friendly and budget-friendly. And finally, nothing can bring a space together more than a well-chosen rug.

Cooking outdoors -
With the choice of grills available in the market today, grilling has become a great way to make healthful, flavorful food while avoiding a messy kitchen. Depending on your patio space you can choose between gas/electric grills or charcoal grills. Grilling on gas/electric grills doesn't mean that you have to compromise on that smoky flavor with ingenious accessories like smoker boxes to impart that wonderful flavor to food.

Protecting your patio furniture -

The best way to make your patio furniture last is to protect it in inclement weather. This means either storing all patio furniture and accessories indoors, or if you do not have adequate space, covering furniture securely with weatherproof covers. Invest in good quality all-weather covers to preserve and protect your beautiful space so you can enjoy it year after year.

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