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April 01, 2019

Furnish the outdoors

Patios are your own private oasis; give it a personal flavour

Christina Loc

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Patio season is finally just around the corner. Now is the time to begin creating an oasis that will provide you with those precious hours of outdoor enjoyment. Whether you are craving that bit of fresh air with your morning coffee or an evening under the stars spent with family and friends, regardless of your patio size — big or small — curating the perfect outdoor living space requires you to consider the following must-haves:

Furniture for lounging and dining. When it comes to selecting outdoor furniture pieces, like any space, it is important to select the right scale and style of furniture for your lifestyle needs. Consider how you will utilize your patio and go in with a cohesive plan. If you are on a budget, it is better to have a full concept of what you would like your space to look like in the long run so you can invest in the proper pieces in stages rather than trying to piece together a mishmash of things.
For a smaller patio, like in a condo, choose two comfortable lounging chairs. Add a small bistro table for meals plus a storage bench to store your cushions and throws while using it as extra seating or somewhere to put your feet up.
If you have a big deck, you will want to outfit it with a full outdoor dining and lounging set.
For the in-between ten-by-ten foot deck, you may want to invest in a comfortable outdoor sectional or sofa and chairs to pair with a chat table. A chat table is higher than a coffee table height but shorter than a dining table height. This way, you can have the best of both worlds by having an all-in-one area where you can lounge and eat while still making room for the barbecue.
 Tip: At Patioline - Outdoor Forever Furniture, a retail store in Calgary, they emphasize the importance of looking for heavier duty outdoor furniture. They carry marine grade steel that won’t rust and teak that will weather nicely outdoors. For high wind areas, especially in high-rise condo units, they also suggest looking for patio furniture that have Velcro or ties to secure the cushions.

Cozy up with rugs, toss cushions and throws. This is a great way to liven up your outdoor space by adding texture, colour and pattern. Make it fun by using bright and bold colours with funky prints, geometric and abstract patterns. Go for a more calming palette by choosing softer or neutral colours and using subtle tone on tone patterns.
Additionally, throw in an umbrella if you have space for those super hot sunny days.
Tip: Like patio furniture, make sure your umbrella, rugs and toss cushions are outdoor viable. Throw blankets, however, do not need to be rated for outdoor use as long as you remember to put it away after each use.

Add some greenery to your patio. Plants have a soothing effect and can really enhance your mood. Fill empty corners with plants, run them along the perimeter of your railing for privacy, hang them from your walls or roof and place them on tables.
Tip: Succulents, herbs, grasses and cedar look great on a patio. For a touch of colour, low-maintenance flowering plants like Calibrachoa, Black-Eyed Susan Vine, Geranium and Bacopa are beautiful in pots.

Light up your world. Lighting is an essential part of design. Creating that bit of glow can be achieved through layering a wide range of products. Use hurricanes and lanterns to house wick or LED candles; hang string and LED strip lights; plug in outdoor lamps and stake solar powered lights in to your pots to highlight your plants. Also available on the market are LED planter pots, outdoor chairs and tables that light up.
Tip: Make sure to use outdoor certified cords and light bulbs.

Crank up the heat.  Extend your time on the patio by using standing or wall mounted infrared heaters to keep warm. The crew at Wicker Land explains, “infrared heaters are a great source of heat since heat is directed at what it is aimed at and not the air so even when there is a breeze, the heat stays put”.
Fire tables are also another great source of heat (as well as light) and according to Patioline, “more and more people are doing fire tables in their lounge and dining area”. For condos, compact table top fire pit or bowls are a great addition.
Tip: Visit outdoor specialty stores like Wicker Land and Patioline to get advice from the experts. They can help you determine what product is suitable for you and what is required. Things to consider would include whether you will need a gas line, 220v power or if a portable propane tank or 110v power will suffice.
 Other great items to add to your patio oasis. Outdoor living has become such a big category that the possibilities are endless. Other nice items to have include outdoor rated poufs, bean bags, hammocks, privacy screens, portable water features, statues, portable or hard-wired speakers, coolers to bigger items like hot tubs, outdoor kitchens, fireplaces, pergolas and awnings.
The patio should be treated as an extension of your home. You want it to be entertaining, inviting and comfortable. As such, attention to detail is just as important on your patio or deck as it is inside your home. Don’t let it be a mirage. Start transforming your patio in to an oasis so that you can fully enjoy and appreciate the beautiful summer months ahead.

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