(BPT) - Mother Nature is the ultimate exterior designer, and she shows off her chops every spring and summer when backyards come alive with colorful flowers, birdsong, warm breezes and the lush aroma of newly mown grass. Is your deck, patio or other outdoor entertaining area living up to her standards?
If your backyard entertaining space could stand some freshening and pops of color, the outdoor living experts at Big Lots point to these eight elements to turn any patio or deck into a paradise worthy of Mother Nature's brilliance:
1. A perfect patio set
Patio furniture is the focal point of any outdoor living space, how you use your patio or deck should guide your choice of furnishings. If you'll be doing a lot of outdoor dining, a table and chairs are essential. Do you envision relaxed evenings chatting with friends in a comfortable setting? Outdoor sofas, love seats, benches and gliders, arranged around a coffee table, can create an intimate area. Shopping for patio furniture doesn't have to be a challenge; you can find a wide selection of affordable styles, colors, pieces and materials at home stores like Big Lots.
2. Colorful cushions and pillows
Even the most-loved, highest quality patio set can benefit from replacing old, faded cushions with something new, colorful and exciting. New cushions can completely change the look of your entire outdoor living space, and remind you why you fell in love with your furniture in the first place. Don't just stop with replacing chair cushions, however. Add toss pillows in colors or patterns that compliment your chair cushions, and pile them on your outdoor sofa to create a comfortable, bright seating area.
3. Fabulous firepits
When the temperature drops on a spring evening, who wants to head indoors? Adding a firepit to your outdoor living space is a great way to extend your enjoyment of it well into the night. You don't have to be a pro at building a fire to enjoy a firepit, either. Big Lots offers a gas-fueled firepit nestled inside a stone-topped table that makes starting a fire as easy as turning on the gas and flipping a switch. Arrange four plushly cushioned rockers around your firepit table, and you have the perfect spot for evening chats.
4. An enlightened atmosphere
Speaking of evenings outdoors, lights extend your entertaining hours and create inviting ambiance for patios and decks. Choose a mixture of light sources, such as candle-lit lanterns for a warm glow, solar lights to illuminate travel paths, and string lights that cast gentle light from above.
5. Smart shade sources
Of course, much of your outdoor time will be spent in the sun, so take steps to provide some shade for your patio or deck. A range of versatile shade sources fit virtually every decor theme, and patio or deck size. Have a large, open concrete patio? A gazebo with a canopy and netting can provide shade and keep insects away from guests and food. Want to move the shade with the sun? An offset umbrella with stand can help you put the shade exactly where you need it at any time of day. Traditional umbrellas shelter seating areas, and add bright pops of color to your outdoor decor.
6. Multiple seating areas
In addition to the focal point of your patio or deck, use patio furniture to create separate seating areas for more flexible entertaining. A small cast iron bistro set or bench situated beneath a tree is a great spot for quiet conversations, sipping your favorite beverage or relaxing with a good book. A glider near the patio or deck is sure to be a favorite spot for parent-child chats.
7. A great grill station
Whether you prefer a big, beautiful four-burner 48,000 BTU stainless steel gas grill or a traditional round charcoal kettle grill, a well-planned and efficient grilling station is a must for outdoor entertaining. Be sure to outfit your station with your grill of choice, a rack of accessories like a grilling tool set and grill brush, and a cooler for briefly storing food before it goes on the grill. Big Lots has everything you need to create a great grilling station.
8. A greener outdoor environment
If you truly want to celebrate Mother Nature's creativity, what better way could there be than to decorate your outdoor living space with her handiwork? Arrange flowers and greens in containers in a variety of shapes and sizes throughout your outdoor entertainment area. A small, brightly colored pot of pansies makes a wonderful centerpiece for your patio table. Plant a tall fern or palm in a large, vividly hued pot and use it as a natural division between "rooms" in your outdoor living space.
You can find all these must-have elements and more at affordable prices at your local Big Lots. For more information, or to find a store near you, visit BigLots.com.
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