With summer steadily approaching, it’s time to plan on making the most out of this awesome time of year. With the energizing extra hours of sun and warmer temperatures, summer is an opportunity to use and enjoy your outdoor area, whether you’ve got a large yard or a tiny patio.
“This year people are back to having parties and hosting,” says designer Camille Kurtz. “There is a big uptick in enjoying outdoor spaces, especially coming out of COVID.”
If more than two years of COVID restrictions have taught us anything, it’s that it’s safer to host and be outdoors where you have a flow of fresh air.
“Summer is the time of the year where there are more get-togethers, and backyard spaces are starting to accommodate that.” says Kurtz.
Whether you host a party, small gathering or just enjoy the space yourself, get ready for summer and get inspired with our outdoor buying guide with expert tips from Camille.
1. Pull Your Space Together With Textiles and Decor
Why it will elevate your outdoor spaces: Outdoor textiles and decor bring the cozy feeling of indoors outside. They add ambiance and another level of comfort to your outdoor seating areas. Lucky for you, you don’t need to run to bunch of different stores to find your perfect pieces. Target is your one-stop-shop for finding outdoor essentials this summer! With its extensive range of on-trend outdoor furniture and decor, your outdoor oasis is within your grasps.
Special Offer: Save up to 30% off select outdoor furniture, decor and more! Plus, get 3% cash back for your purchase.
What to buy: The Striped Outdoor Throw Pillows from Room Essentials at Target are perfect for sprucing up your porch or patio. Choose from the coastal-chic Blue Dolphin or desert-inspired Peach Blush colors to curate pillows based on your design aesthetic. Simply add a few more complementing pillows from Target’s collection in various sizes and you’ve got yourself a cozy seating area for all to enjoy.
Price: $8 (Orig. $10)
2. Add a Trellis for Both Privacy and Beauty
Why it will elevate your outdoor spaces: “A trellis makes a space intimate and interesting,” advises Kurtz. “Especially for small spaces, and yards where you aren’t looking at something pretty. The trellis is always pretty.”
In her own yard, Kurtz used a stretch of trellis to conceal an unsightly plastic fence. The beauty of adding a trellis is, you can use it on a tiny balcony, or create a long stretch for a big impact in a larger yard. Trellises are available in many sizes, designs and materials, including wood, metals or plastic/vinyls. Of course, you can also train plants, flowers or vines to grow on them for added ambiance and beauty. This classic garden feature plays double duty as decor and adds privacy.
What to buy: Outdoor Essentials Wood Square Lattice Trellis. This 72” tall by 24” wide rich cedar colored trellis would make a nice addition on its own, or with multiple panels. The trellis can be mounted to a wall, or placed directly in the ground depending on your needs.
Price: $40.98 at HomeDepot.com
3. Design Seating Clusters
Why it will elevate your outdoor spaces: If you have the space, plan for various seating clusters throughout the yard.
“It’s really impactful, I’ve found with outdoor seating to create cluster areas for people to sit in,” suggests Kurtz. “People like to lounge or sit in club chairs, or sit at dining chairs. Think about pieces that can be moved around in different places in the yard so you can have big or small groups.”
What to buy: Graywash All Weather Wicker Magdalena Outdoor Swivel Chair. Kurtz uses these chairs in her own yard. Check out photos on her website, www.thekurtzhome.com.
Price: $499.99 at WorldMarket.com
4. Consider DIY Furniture
Why it will elevate your outdoor spaces: DIY Furniture can elevate your space because it will allow you to customize the size and look that works specifically for your outdoor area. You will not be locked into what retailers are offering.
“I made my own dining table and bench to a custom size, because my space needed a smaller size than what was on the market,” says Kurtz. “All the table and chair sets are quite large. It allowed me to have a nice looking table and bench DIY style, but the perfect size for my space.”
What to buy: DIY Consultation – 30 minutes. If you need some expert guidance for your custom outdoor furniture project, consider buying a consultation with designer Camille Kurtz.
Price: $80 at TheKurtzHome.com
5. Add Swinging Seating to Gently Relax Your Guests
Why it will elevate your outdoor spaces: Swinging or rocking is inherently relaxing for all ages. Whether you seek the nostalgia of rocking chairs or a porch swing, the vacation vibe of a hammock, or a boho chic style woven swing chair, swinging seating will provide comfort and relaxation for you and your guests.
What to buy: SUNCREAT 2 Person Hammock with Stand. If you’ve got the space in your yard and you want to create an oasis of relaxation, I can personally recommend this hammock and stand set. It’s super easy to set up and seriously a delightful way to spend the day. Just grab a book and an icy cold drink, or settle in for a nap.
Price: $154.89 at Amazon.com
What to buy: SUNCREAT Hammock Chair Swing Seat. “Swing chairs are a really popular hot ticket,” says Kurtz. “Swing chairs are very nice and relaxing. Swinging in a chair is great – even as an adult.” Turns out they are pretty on trend as well. “We’ve seen the interior trend of boho chic and now that is really playing on outdoor spaces,” notes Kurtz.
Price: $54.89 at Amazon.com
6. Use Plants as Decor
Why it will elevate your outdoor spaces: Plants love being outdoors in summer, so use them to elevate the overall design and look of your outdoor area. “I think that plant displays are a great way to get your yard looking nice. It’s that sweet in between,” says Kurtz. “It’s marrying plants and decor. Or using plants as decor.” Plant decor is another great opportunity to try out DIY projects. Kurtz’s husband created a DIY plant display using an old crate and painting it to make it his own work of art. Alternatively you can buy existing stands and containers and arrange creatively.
What to buy: GEEBOBO 5 Tiered Tall Plant Stand. This pine tiered plant stand will make a decorative statement in the corner of your patio or balcony.
Price: $39.99 at Amazon.com
7. Add String Lighting for Charm
Why it will elevate your outdoor spaces: String lights are a fantastic way to not only add lighting when it gets dark outside, but they deliver big on ambiance. “String lights make an immediate impact because they provide overhead ambiance lighting,” advises Kurtz. “And they are just so pretty always. I’ve never seen string lights that don’t look nice.”
What to buy: Edison Style Solar LED 30 Bulb String Lights. Kurtz uses these in her own yard and recommends them. “I think one of the things that people run into is that oh, I don’t have electricity, or how do I plug it in without having a bunch of extension cords?” Kurtz notes, “Well, use solar powered ones, they work just as well. And you don’t have to worry about running electrical for them. Solar string lights look really nice, they are glass bulbs, LEDs, and they turn on every day for me when the sun goes down.”
Price: $49.99 at WorldMarket.com
8. Add a Grouping of Lanterns
Why it will elevate your outdoor spaces: “Lanterns are a great way to cozy up a space.” notes Kurtz. “Lanterns are really nice because you can put them almost anywhere and it adds just a level of ambiance. You can hang them, you can put them on the ground, and they look better clustered.”
Lanterns can be purchased with built-in lighting, or you can add your own battery powered candle. While you can opt to use traditional candles inside a lantern, it’s safer to opt for battery powered candles.
“I like to use exterior grade battery operated candles in my lanterns.” notes Kurtz. “They either have a remote or a timer, and I just set them so that they turn on when it gets dark. The automation I think makes it such a nice option for people.”
What to buy: Black Natural Fiber Solar LED Lantern. Kurtz uses these in her yard, they include a built in rechargeable solar powered battery and come in two sizes.
What to buy: Comenzar Flameless Outdoor Battery Operated Candles with Remote Control. You’ll get a set of nine candles, which can handle outdoor weather and elements. Use a remote to set and control candles.
Price: $26.99 at Amazon.com
9. Fire Pits are a Great Place for Gathering
Why it will elevate your outdoor spaces: “I’m a big fan of fire pits,” says Kurtz. “Fire pits are always a natural gathering spot in a backyard. You can integrate it, and create a seating cluster around it.” Fire pits are also really nice for entertaining.
What to buy: TIKI Brand Stainless Steel Fire Pit. This firepit can be used with traditional fire food or the TIKI wood pack. I’ve personally used this fire pit so can attest that it works well. It’s a real hit for s’mores and relaxing. The fire pit includes a stand, weather-resistant cover and wood pack to try out.
Price: $395 at Amazon.com
10. Elevate Your Party with a Bar Cart
Why it will elevate your outdoor spaces: There is something very chic about having a bar cart. Also, practically speaking, having everything set up in advance makes mixing drinks and entertaining easier. While there are plenty of pre-made bar carts to order, Kurtz recently made her own DIY bar cart.
“I am totally into happy hour,” says Kurtz, “A bar cart for your patio? 100%! It’s probably the number one DIY I would tell everyone to do. Make a bar cart, get it so everything is all ready that way when you get off of work it’s all there and all you have to do is pour yourself a drink. Treat yourself!”
What to buy: Christopher Knight Home Tillary Tiller Acacia Wood Bar Cart. This rolling bar cart has a fold up feature to give you a larger work space for making drinks. Classic wood and aluminum styling.
Price: $265.54 at Amazon.com
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