Whether you're planning a party at home specifically to spend time in your outdoor area, or you just know some party guests might amble over at some point during your next indoor shindig, you don't want to neglect this area the next time you entertain. Here are the five things to take care of to get your outdoor area ready for guests this summer...and for the rest of the year!
Unlike your home's rooms (the cleaning regiment of which you're probably quite familiar with) there can sometimes be a hesitation of just where to spend your cleaning energies on in your outdoor area. Start up high first, using a broom or other tool to sweep away cobwebs and dirt from a patio or balcony cover. If you have light fixtures, grab a step ladder and clean out the bugs and dirt from those. Then move to your furniture, shaking off outdoor cushions, wiping down all seating and table surfaces and dusting any accessories that may be in your outdoor space. Then move to the floor surface, sweeping away any old leaves and accumulated dirt.
Depending on the size of your outdoor area, whether you use it regularly and your cluttering style, your outdoor area may — at different times of the year — take on the role of an extra storage area rather than a hangout spot. Here's your opportunity to (temporarily, if need be) take away things that don't make it feel like a rad hangout spot. We're talking unsightly gardening supplies, bike storage, etc. You don't have to move it all out if you just genuinely don't have any other place to put it, but do try to move the visual focus to the hangout areas of your outdoor area and make it as out-of-sight as possible.
Make furniture comfortable and functional
Now take a gander at your existing furniture. Do you want to sit in it? Do you want to place a cool beverage on a side table and lounge? If the answer is no, you may consider doing some creative rearranging or replacing. Fix any broken furniture that might be making sitting down scary. Bring in cushions to, well, cushion any particularly uncomfortable surfaces. Enlist extra furniture from indoors that can withstand a little outdoor use for the night.
A good cleaning of an outdoor area will undoubtedly shake loose a great many insects from their hiding homes, but take it to the next level and take care of the bug problems before they start. If you'll be serving food or sweet drinks, use fly-keeping-away tricks to keep the flies away from your guests' treats. If you live in a mosquito-prone climate, get tough before the event to run them out and hopefully keep them away.
The very act of gathering your friends on a warm summer night in your home's outdoor area can certainly be enough to be enjoyable. But spending a little bit of time adding in ambiance can make a night memorable. You'll want to start with lighting, which in outdoor areas, can be magically achieved pretty easily with some white string lights and a few candles. Consider also pathway lighting if your outdoor area requires a hike. Then consider the kind of outdoor areas you like spending time in and make sure your outdoor area reflects some of those elements. Maybe it's a "tucked away oasis" feel, in which case leafy plants surrounding your area can help. Maybe it's a modern vibe, so keep things bold and streamlined.