6 Tips to Get Your Backyard Ready for Summer Parties

1. Maximize your overhead coverage.

As the sun changes position throughout the day and summer showers breeze through your yard, a patio umbrella simply won’t cut it. Make sure your guests don’t get blinded by a bright glare — or drenched by rain or sweat — by investing in some shade. If possible, just arrange your outdoor space beneath an awning, roof, or overhead trellis.

2. Choose your furniture carefully.

There’s little that’s less inviting than dusty, stained, faded, scratched, or damp furniture. If your surfaces are porous enough, they’ll soak up water or spills, resulting in permanent stains and gradual mold growth. If they’re sensitive to UV light and difficult to wipe down, they’ll age quickly and get your guests dirty. Make sure you stick to durable, easy-to-clean fabrics and finishes. Choose chairs, benches, and other outdoor seating options with weather-sealed wood or weather-proof metal frames. Then upholster them ina heavy-duty outdoor fabric, such as Sunbrella.

3. Keep it simple.

Don’t weigh down your outdoor space with too many decorations or details. If you have to push the flower pots aside to use the grill, your guests will probably feel cramped — and if you insist on overstuffed and ornamental chairs over, you’ll sacrifice intimacy and leg room for appearances. Everything should be completely functional, and the simpler the furnishings, the better. Make sure there’s a natural flow by trying to walk from one end of your backyard to the other. Is it easy, or do you have to take a winding route around multiple obstacles? Is there an open space where people can stand and move about freely? Can you push every chair back without bumping into a bush, fence or wall?

4. Get creative with color.

Your backyard is teeming with green vegetation and topped by a blue sky; it might have colorful flowers and water features too. There are already colors and patterns everywhere, so work with this existing design scheme to achieve balance and symmetry throughout your yard. Pay attention to the angles and heights of your furniture and landscaping. If there’s a focal point like a fire pit or patio table, off-set it with shorter and taller plants. If there’s a flat trellis or square-shaped pool, find furniture with clean lines and arrange it at right angles to maintain the linear form.

5. Think of it as an outdoor room.

It’s easy to get stuck in an indoor/outdoor mentality, especially if your backyard is only visible through small windows or accessible through a single back door. However, when you live in one space and entertain in another, it shows. Underused square footage also limits your own lifestyle and prevents you from getting the most out of your investment. Instead of walling yourself in, start thinking about your outdoor space as an additional room in your home. Eat dinner in your “outdoor dining room” when the weather’s pleasant, add some weatherproof pillows forlazy afternoon chats, and sip your morning coffee while admiring your landscaping and breathing in the fresh air. If you already have sliding glass doors, French doors, or a retractable wall, it’s even easier to integrate your space into your everyday lifestyle.

6. Adapt to the weather.

Florida’s known for its year-round sunshine, but as one of the oldest Jacksonville furniture stores, we know not to expect year-round comfort. North Florida often dips into freezing temperatures on winter nights, and during the warmest summer months, blistering heat and boiling humidity get downright oppressive. Keep your backyard comfortable with misters during the summer and a fire pit during the winter. Heat lamps and fans can be integrated into your existing architecture, but if you don’t want to invest in permanent climate control, find portable devices that match your outdoor furniture.

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