By Deb Nelson

Create a comfortable outdoor space

Once summer hits it’s a great time to take advantage of being outside. Consider creating a pleasant and attractive outdoor area. Decorate like you would the inside, with an outdoor rug and furniture. If you eat outside you can also create a functional and comfortable dining area. All the small details can make being outside that much better — for instance, an outdoor wireless speaker can keep the music going. Also, think about adding a heating source. An exterior propane heater or outdoor fi replace can take the chill off. Outdoor lighting can set the tone, whether you go with battery operated candles that can’t blow out in the wind, or a string of clear outdoor lights, the warm glow at dusk can create great ambience.

Prepare outdoor furniture

Be prepared for the summer by having all your outdoor furniture ready to go. Assess everything at the start of the season and do any cleaning or maintenance required so you can enjoy it throughout the summer. A fresh coat of paint or stain can revive tired looking outdoor furniture. Fill your barbecue tanks, clean the grill and get your outdoor utensils ready to go. And if your outdoor cushions are looking worn and dreary, consider some new ones for chairs or loungers. There are more options in terms of colour and pattern in durable, outdoor-grade fabrics. A few yards of fabric can create a new look with some attractive new pillows or cushions.

Grab the right accessories

Stock up on stylish, unbreakable glasses or dishes — plastic isn’t just for kids anymore. Attractive dishes, bowls and stemless wine glasses in durable plastics are the easiest way to go for outdoor entertaining. Also use items like trays or caddies that make it easier to carry numerous things outside at once. Go with items that make it simple to maximize and enjoy your time outside in the summer.

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