With TV shows like "Design on a Dime," "Desperate Landscapes" and "Renovation Reality," plus entire networks dedicated to home improvement, you know that a couple of sad plastic lawn chairs and a tiki lamp do not a patio make. Check out these Chicagoland arbiters of patio decor allure.
Viking Ski & Patio Shop
131 W. Northwest Highway
Barrington, IL 60010
The array of styles and materials (teak, wrought iron, outdoor wicker, Envirowood, cast aluminum and more) of patio furniture and accessories can be dizzying so the staff at Viking suggests you make a list of what you'll need, what you covet and how much space you have to work with before coming in. Then, it's time to see which patterns speak to you: houndstooth, herringbone, florals, polka dots, paisleys or art deco-inspired geometrics? In addition to tables and chairs, Viking can do bars, hammocks, gas-burning fire pits, gathering height tables and lots of colorful umbrellas. If experience counts in terms of where you spend, Viking has been at it for more than 40 years.
Williams Ski & Patio
1672 Old Skokie Road
Highland Park, IL 60035
Williams Ski & Patio has been around since 1875 and nominated and/or won the International Casual Furniture Association (ICFA) national award six times, beating other patio places in sales, selection and customer service. You'll see familiar brands here but also collections that are featured exclusively at Williams. Since it has been around so long, Williams is hip to Chicago weather so expect expertise in durable styles. Williams stocks a 50,000-square-foot warehouse so chances are you won't have to wait to deck out your deck and patio, either. The store promises to match identical items if found for a lower cost at any local store, too. Choose among outdoor sectionals, sofas, swivel chairs, coffee tables, benches, ottomans, chaise lounges and even fire pits and heaters for when Chicago weather does another 360.
Gethsemane Garden Center
5739 N. Clark St.
Chicago, IL 60660
Established in 1977 and soon considered the place to get your weeping figs and snake plants, Gethsemane opened a Garden & Home Decor store some 30 years later which offers decorative accessories and furniture for home and outdoor living spaces. After you find yourself agape at the magical fairyland of flowers, herbs, shrubs and plants, get serious in the decor store browsing trellises, outdoor pottery and ceramics, arches, patio furniture and every knicky-knacky thing your summer space could possibly need.
Topiarius Urban Garden & Floral Design
2950 W. Carroll Ave., Unit 2 East B
Chicago, IL 60612
Beyond patio furniture, gadgets and a colossal grill, a patio cannot only be enhanced but defined by a seasonal color program of landscape beds and urban garden design, a living wall, outdoor lighting or a stone fire pit. You can find this and more at Topiarius Urban Garden & Floral Design. Living or green walls have become one of the hottest trends in landscape design allowing for plants to be grown vertically on any wall surface. One of the many specialties at Topiarius is the "construction of custom containers and hardscape elements that fit into your outdoor areas" - think planter containers, lattice, fences and even outdoor kitchens and showers to make your little slice of the world distinctive. Won't that set the neighbors all atwitter? Visits to the office are by appointment only so be sure to call before you head over.
9650 Milwaukee Ave.
Niles, IL 60714
Family owned and operated since the '70s, it's not an overstatement to say that patio furniture is in the Arden family's blood. Expect over 80 different patio sets on display so your posterior can feel what it's getting into and then start deciding upon color and fabric options. Deep seating has become a must have: sofas, love seats, lounge chairs that swivel and glide as opposed to traditional dining sets. Mil-Green offers 30 different colors in umbrellas, ranging from six to 11 feet for tables and eight to 13 feet for cantilever umbrellas. The showroom features many wood-burning and gas-burning fire pits and boasts one of the largest grill parts departments in the Chicago area. According to co-owner Steve Arden, Home Depot, Ace Hardware, Lowes and Sears send their grill parts customers to Mil-Green.
Related: Best Home Decor Stores In Chicago
Jacky Runice has been a columnist with the Daily Herald Chicago since grunge music and flannel was the new black. Her fingers and gray matter have been busy as travel editor of Reunions Magazine; penning a column that was syndicated around the nation via Tribune Media Services. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.
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