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How to make your patio look like a million bucks (without spending much)

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Summer has arrived and that means now is the perfect time to get outside and enjoy sunny days and warm nights. After being stuck inside all winter, the first item on your to-do summer list may not be to spend the next three months working on a backyard project. But sprucing up your patio, deck or backyard doesn’t have to be an all-summer commitment.

If you want to entertain and don’t want to spend more than a few hours (or bucks) getting your outdoor space ready for guests, there are many ways you can add some new life to your old space.

REPAINT DATED FURNITURE

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If your outdoor furniture, including chairs, tables, side tables, or even your shed and fence are looking dated but still in good shape, a coat of paint can go a long way. Refinishing old furniture or staining a deck or fence can take ten years off your outdoor space. Painting old chairs in bright colours can also add a pop of fun to your outdoor space.

USE FOUND MATERIALS

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Need more seating options for your deck? Go with found objects and materials, like this wood door bench or Muskoka chair made from old hockey sticks to create more spaces for your guests to sit. Using things you’ve found around the house cuts down on costs and adds a great conversation piece to your space.

MAKE AN OUTDOOR BAR

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An outdoor bar is both practical and looks great. They cut down on foot traffic going in and out of your home and they make it easy for guests to prepare their own drinks, leaving you more time to entertain. You can either make a bar cart, as shown here, or stack vintage coolers on top of each other to create an easy to make, fun to look at custom cart.

DISPLAY VINTAGE ITEMS

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Adding vintage items to your garden or backyard are easy and fun ways to create conversation pieces in your outdoor space. Put two vintage patio chairs in your garden for instant art installations. Or, go full Downton Abbey and use vintage dishes for your next outdoor brunch or dinner event.

GET SPLASHES OF COLOUR FROM THROW PILLOWS AND RUGS

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One of the easiest ways to make old and tired furniture look new is by adding pops of colour with throw pillows or rugs. Not just for indoor living, many outdoor stores carry rugs and pillows that can withstand the sun and a bit of rain. We still recommend bringing pillows inside during inclement weather and rolling up your rug at the end of summer to keep them looking fresh.

ADD NEW LIGHTING

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Lighting is an easy way to add dimension to your outdoor space and it doesn’t have to break the bank. Kim Mitchell had a huge hit with his song “Patio Lanterns” and you could have a huge hit in your backyard with the addition of some brightly coloured string lights. Candles on your table are also an easy and inexpensive way to light up a nighttime party and create a relaxing mood.

HANG ARTWORK OUTSIDE

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We usually only think of hanging artwork inside, but if your deck or patio has an area that’s covered from rain, hanging a piece of artwork or a poster that’s been framed can add class and intrigue to your space.

SET OUT A TABLE CLOTH

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It sounds so simple, but a table cloth can go a long way in dressing up an event. Throwing one on a picnic table can instantly turn your BBQ party into a Garden Party and it can cut down on slivers from wooden tables.

MAKE A VEGETABLE GARDEN

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Even if you don’t have much of a green thumb, a vegetable garden is an easy way to add some green to your backyard and if things work out, maybe a few herbs and vegetables as well! There are many ways to make a box garden and they take less than a day, as seen here.

SWITCH OUT SEAT CUSHIONS

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Replacing patio furniture can be a costly venture, but an easy way to cover up furniture that has seen better summer days is with new cushions. These can add pops of colour, accent a new theme, and simply add some much-needed comfort to chairs that are no longer offering support.

MAKE NON-TRADITIONAL FLOWER POTS

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Flowers are a great way to add colour and dimension to your backyard or deck, but another way to make your surroundings memorable is by using non-traditional flower pots. Bring out pieces of your personality with planting. Love to hike? Use an old pair of hiking boots as a flower pot. Hockey fan? Strategically place hockey pucks in the garden and use old hockey sticks to hold up flowers and plants. Don’t throw out that old watering pot. Instead, turn it into a flower pot. Using different containers will also provide variety in height for flowers and plants, making your design more eye-catching.

TWO WORDS: FIRE PIT

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Fire pits are a great way to extend your enjoyment of your outdoor space into the evening hours. You can make your own if you have enough space in your backyard or buy a small fire pit to use as a centrepiece on your patio. Whether they’re for roasting marshmallows or simply an accent piece, nothing screams summer like an outdoor fire pit.

SUPPLY CHALK

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Have younger guests visiting your backyard this summer? Or maybe there are already some in your home? Have a bucket full of chalk on hand and let little artists create their masterpiece on your patio stones. Their designs will add colour and a splash of fun. Plus what’s a better summertime activity than designing with chalk?

MAKE SAFER WALKWAYS WITH LIGHTS

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Trying to navigate a dark walkway at night can spell trouble for you and your guests. Adding lighting along walkways, whether it’s from string lights, moonlights with timers, or even lit tea candles are great and inexpensive ways to ensure that you and your guests get back to the house safely.

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