All those lovely annuals are starting to look a bit weary; in fact, some of them have already crossed over and your first thought may be well, summer’s over, time to hibernate. Brown petunias and scraggly tomato plants aside, you miss one of the best opportunities of the year for outdoor fun and relaxation if you cover up the patio furniture and crawl inside.
How can you prepare your outdoor area so that you keep enjoying it through this glorious fall season?
- Clean it up. We tend to let things go towards the end of the summer season; we get busy and start moving our lives indoors. Pull some weeds, get rid of dead and dying foliage, give a wooden bench a fresh coat of paint, refill the bird feeders, knock down some cobwebs, and scrub your patio furniture.
- Bump up the beauty. Replace those tired potted annuals with some fall foliage. Kale and decorative cabbage are beautiful and interesting; there’s the ever popular chrysanthemum in a huge variety of orange, gold, and reds; pink and purple asters; yellow and purple violas and pansies are incredibly hardy. Fill in with herbs like lavender or parsley; add height to a pot with “golden sword” yucca; creeping Jenny will trail charmingly over the side. Fill in with the ubiquitous pumpkins and gourds that abound in the season and you are already feeling better about the end of summer.
- Add some light. The days get shorter, the nights longer; obviously you are going to need a bit more illumination. What’s great about that is light not only helps you see in the dark, it also makes your outdoor space warmer, cozier, more romantic and oh so appealing. The possibilities for outdoor lighting are many; strings of patio lights, Christmas lights, clusters of candles, lanterns; jars; all are perfect for outdoor light and ambiance.
- Add some heat. Obviously, the temperature starts dropping when summer is over; to keep it comfortable outside, you will need a heat source. Adding heat to your outdoor area is easy enough; build a firepit on or around the area or invest in a portable firepit; there are a wide variety of both gas and wood-burning styles. If you are interested in something more ambitious, install an outdoor fireplace. Or if you are more the unpack-and-plug-it-in type, there are hanging and pole style electric heaters, as well as kerosene-fueled heaters.
- Make it comfy. The cooler temps and longer nights are the ideal inspiration for cozying up with family and friends. Deep seating patio furniture, complete with cushions and throw pillows, invite everyone to settle in and enjoy. If you are in the market this is a great time to buy; many retailers are culling or clearing out their patio stock this time of the year. If you already have deep seating, give it a new look with a change of cushions or the addition of some new toss pillows.
- Cook it up. Autumn is the best season for outdoor cooking; no humidity, no bugs; and the cooler temperatures make it a much more enjoyable experience for everyone. Keep using that grill and consider some other outdoor treats like a cup of butternut squash soup or caramel apples. Fall is also the best time for roasting wienies and marshmallows, for savoring hot cocoa, hot buttered rum or spiced apple cider.
** Fall Pinterest Board **