Summer has officially arrived, and it’s time to celebrate with a glass of chilled rosé on the patio. But after a long winter and a wet spring, odds are your outdoor spaces could use a little TLC. We asked some of our favorite Denver designers for their tips for updating porches, patios, and decks—without breaking the bank.
Bring the Great Indoors Outside
“My goal is to create an extension of the living room for a few months of the year,” says Devon Tobin, co-founder of Duet Design Group. “The first thing I do is bring indoor accessories outside; you really don’t need to buy specifically for outdoors.” Tobin suggests moving votive candles and houseplants to your outdoor entertaining spaces to immediately upgrade the backyard. Succulents are especially happy to spend the summer outdoors and require very little maintenance.
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Layer Color and Light
Variety is the key to creating a visually interesting outdoor space, says Erika Rundiks, interior designer and co-owner of Atelier Interior Design. Tiki torches are an inexpensive (and festive!) way to approach outdoor lighting. But don’t stop there: Try tall lights on the yard perimeter combined with hurricane lanterns and votive candles on tables. The same principle applies to color, says Rundiks: The hues of your garden and flowers provide a very flexible palette for layering color through pillows and linens.
Bargain Shop for Accessories
Although durable outdoor furniture is an investment, Tobin suggests bargain shopping for pillows and considering them an annual purchase. “Never spend a lot on pillows,” says Tobin. “They get sundrenched and need to be replaced every year, so check out the options at Pier 1, World Market, and Target. This is where you can add punches of color and pattern to your outdoor design.”
Charming signs can be found in any garden shop, but Rundiks suggests making your own. Kids love painting jobs, so she suggests involving family members to create small signs for the herb garden or even making a wall hanging. “They’ll develop a nice patina outdoors and ultimately look more personal than a store-bought sign,” Rundiks says.
Enlist Mother Nature
Gardens can get kitschy fast, Rundiks warns. Rather than overdoing whimsical sculptures on the patio, opt for natural pieces arranged in vases and bowls you already have on-hand. Baskets of pinecones add texture, and twigs arranged in a substantial vase make an outdoor focal point without any investment. “If you are really on a budget, you can do a lot with nature,” Rundiks says. “Round up some pretty rocks that you mound up or stylistically place out. Maybe use stumps of varying heights to hold candles. Don’t be wimpy; you can go big outside.”