With Labor Day right around the corner, it's time to get the backyard ready for barbecues and parties. But while a new, fresh look might be just what your yard needs to look festive, it needn't take much time to create this facelift. From paint to pillows to ponds, adding new decorative touches to your yard has never been easier. The following tips will help your yard be ready for any end-of-summer party.
1. Fire it up with a fire pit. With cool weather right around the corner, a fire pit can keep guests warm and comfortable after the sun sets. Build a fire pit in the ground with brick or stone, or purchase a pre-made pit that can be moved around the yard.
2. Lighten up with outdoor solar-powered lights. Create soft lighting for nighttime gatherings with solar-powered lights. Line footpaths with the lights for practical purposes or install the lights to create dramatic lighting for a particular tree or other feature in your yard. The cordless solar-powered lights will also encourage guests to keep the party outdoors instead of heading indoors after dark.
3. Put on a new coat. Give tired-looking backyard furniture a quick facelift with a new coat of waterproof outdoor paint. But don't grab the paint can, yet; furniture must be cleaned, with any rust removed, and dried before it can be painted. Opt for vibrant colors, such as deep yellow or a sky blue, for a whimsical look. To create a warm, inviting look, add outdoor pillows and cushions in complementing colors or bright, fun patterns.
4. Use hanging baskets and potted plants for some much-needed color and versatility. If you have a small backyard or patio, use hanging baskets and pots to liven up even the most banal corners. Zinnias, marigolds and chrysanthemums are in season around Labor Day and all will give your yard a pop of color. Potted ferns, such as broad beech, glade and soft tree ferns, can all add greenery. Check with your favorite nursery to select a fern appropriate for your area. Pots and hanging baskets will also give you flexibility, allowing you to place and move plants with ease.
5. Bring the inside outside. Give your backyard bash a touch of formality by using your indoor furniture outside. Instead of sitting on folding chairs around the picnic table, use kitchen chairs for a change. Coffee tables and small end tables can be placed around the yard, making them an ideal spot for guests to keep their drinks and snacks.
6. Add a touch of whimsy. Instead of sending an old mirror or beat-up wagon to the trash, consider repurposing the items in your yard. A mirror hung on a fence is a must for a small garden as it can create the illusion of more space in the yard. Use the classic red wagon for a planter or to hold small potted plants. Other items to repurpose in the yard include old car tires for a raised flower bed, and old metal shutters and wire racks can support climbing plants.
7. Use a canopy. A structure that will provide shade for your guests is a must, especially if your backyard soiree will be held during the day. Don't want to build a permanent gazebo? No problem; just use a canopy for quick, temporary shade during your party. Set it up the day of or even the day before your party and you're ready to go. Some canopies can also provide protection from bugs, wind and rain.
Megan Horst-Hatch is a mother, runner, baker, gardener, knitter, and other words that end in "-er." She loves nothing more than a great cupcake, and writes at I'm a Trader Joe's Fan. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.
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