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Patio Design Ideas for People Living in the Real World

Does white really go well with pollen?

How many of you have gone online to Pinterest or a design website looking for some decorating inspiration for your deck or patio? Often what you find is beautiful but completely unpractical for the area that you live in. Do all designers live in the sunny state of California? Are you really going to go for white cushions when we have yellow pollen floating around constantly? What about some shade?

We thought you might appreciate some tips on decorating your patio or deck that are useful for people who live right here in the Upstate.

Of course, you should start with shade.

The shade created by an awning can make the temperature feel 15 degrees cooler. Picture your typical southern summer 90-degree day feeling more like 75 degrees. We know we are signing up for that awning right now! You can go with a patio awning or patio cover, but a retractable awning is also an excellent choice. Retractable awnings allow you to go from sun to shade with just the touch of a button.

Durable outdoor furniture is a must.

Make sure you choose outdoor furniture that can weather the elements. We get a fair amount of rain, hot sun, and let’s not forget about the pollen. When choosing your furniture, think about adding a table and chairs for outdoor dining, a couch to relax on, some side tables to set those cool drinks on, and possibly a hanging swing just for fun. You can go with wood or wicker, but there are a few more durable options that are a better choice for our area.

Metal furniture constructed with aluminum is a popular choice. It resists rust and is strong yet lightweight, and is easy to clean.  Wrought and cast aluminum are heavier options that can withstand wind well but are still light enough to be rearranged easily.

Resin wicker, or all-weather wicker, is another weather-resistant option. It withstands rain, sun, and humidity and is an attractive option for your patio furniture.

Also, consider using furniture made from recycled plastic. It’s strong, resistant to rotting, cracking, fading, and staining. It is easy to clean and is environmentally friendly.

Get comfortable with outdoor fabrics.

Once you have chosen your furniture, carefully consider what cushions, pillows, and rugs you want to use. Keep in mind that the Upstate gets lots of sun and lots of rain so your fabrics need to be able to weather the elements.

Sunbrella, known for its marine and awning fabrics, also makes upholstery fabrics you can use for your cushions and pillows. This fabric is durable, mold and mildew resistant, UV resistant, stain-resistant, and easy to clean. There are hundreds of patterns and colors to choose from.

There is a large variety of outdoor rugs available online. Not your old green, scratchy rugs from years ago, these rugs are often made from durable natural fibers and feel soft underfoot.

There is an almost endless amount of colors and textures to be found.


Dining out? Don’t forget these items.

If you want to avoid a potential mess at the outdoor dining table, look for unbreakable tableware that is good for outdoor entertaining. Seriously consider investing in melamine plates and acrylic glasses. You don’t have to spend a lot to get a set of colorful, fun, outdoor dishes that look great, are lightweight, and won’t break.

A colorful tablecloth can set the festive mood and many easy to clean, outdoor options are available. Galvanized metal buckets and trays are a sturdy way to carry food to the table, keep drinks cold, and keep your silverware sorted.


Keep relaxing after the sun goes down.

Lighting is often an overlooked area when it comes to outdoor decorating. Your patio can be used even after the sun goes down if you add a variety of lighting to your outdoor area. String lights are a fun, easy way to add soft, lovely lighting to your deck or patio. For a more tropical feel, use some bamboo torches. For a bit of an upscale feel, use outdoor lanterns and fit them out with “bug” bulbs which cast a yellow light and don’t attract bugs the way traditional bulbs do. LED lights are another option that won’t attract bugs and add a more clean and modern look to your patio. If bugs are a serious problem for you then opt for citronella lamps set some citronella candles out around your patio.

Plants add the perfect finishing touch.

Yes, you are surrounded by nature out on your patio but don’t forget to add some thoughtfully chosen plants for the perfect finishing touch. Colorful flowers that can thrive under a covered area are a must. Begonias, impatiens, petunias, pansies, and violas will all thrive on your covered patio or deck and will add some beautiful color to the area. Seriously think about adding some plants that are natural bug repellants. Marigolds, basil, lemon balm, and lavender are all plants that help keep pests away naturally. Plant them in pots that coordinate with your chosen color scheme and then sit back and enjoy.


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