Outdoor Essentials


With the changing of the seasons the time has come for outdoor festivities and grilling for guests! While most of us greet the season with great anticipation it can still be overwhelming when sprucing up your outdoor space. I’ve detailed my list of outdoor essentials in hopes that my checklist might help to ease your backyard burdens this season.

How many of us fall prey to flashy displays and end up with too many outdoor items? Guilty as charged. The first step toward avoiding buyer’s remorse is to remove furniture covers and pull the cushions out of the shed. Assess the damage from winter storage and spring rains and make your plan of attack before heading to the store. Throw out the items beyond repair and note pieces that might benefit from a fresh coat of spray paint. Keep a list of the items you need to purchase with you in your purse or wallet for easy access.

My must haves are the same year to year. My checklist ensures that I don’t forget something and I’m fully prepared for my first shindig. Honestly I couldn’t live without my GRILL. I make a survey of the parts and tools I need before anything else. Sometimes you need to order special parts from the manufacturer and this could take weeks so plan ahead. Gas grills or great if you don’t want the hassle of charcoal but for the diehards I recommend the Big Green Egg.

Next I make sure I’ve got plenty of SEATING for myself and my guests. I have a lounging area near the grill so I can converse with my guests while preparing a meal and a tall bar stool to rest my rump. Then of course I need a table big enough for everyone to eat together. I can’t get enough of teak furniture- holds up to the weather and is built to last. A little pricey, but if you watch there are great deals to be had! Although, I can see wisdom in the philosophy of buying cheap cushioned furniture and replacing it each year.

As an entertainer it becomes an obligation to have items to keep your guests cool and comfortable. I love multi-function items. This rustic COOLER from Cabela’s is the ultimate outdoor indulgence. It functions as a serving table, storage unit, bottle opener, and of course keeps your drinks ice cold. Strategically placed box fans on a low setting help move the air and keep it cool without being so loud to drown out the conversation.

Next, a seemingly obvious item on my list is PLANTS. I can’t tell you how many outdoor spaces I visit that don’t have a speck of life around. Somehow it doesn’t feel like the outdoors to me without plants. Unfortunately I was not given my mother’s green thumb and I find myself repotting nearly half my plants each year. Ensure that you have color and height variance that can tolerate the conditions and sunlight in your area.

Almost there, it’s time to LIGHT the space! Some find that a few strands of Christmas lights fulfill their lighting needs. I prefer the clear globe stands because they somehow remind me of my time in Tuscany. More decorative options are available seasonally at outdoor stores and my all-time favorite: Target. Tiki torches with a little citronella in them are a great way to create atmosphere and keep away unwanted pests.

Now the only thing missing is the ACCESSORIES. I always leave this for last in my budget because you can spend as little or as much as you want here. Never underestimate the power of a welcoming lawn gnome or a whimsical pink flamingo! Colorful pillows and cushions can enliven your space as well as coordinating place mats and tableware. Outdoor rugs invite customers to take off their shoes and get casual while providing comfort from rough concrete patios. However you accessorize just be sure that you don’t get carried away and blow your budget along with all that hard planning!

Check out my other outdoor decorating posts while you’re here. Finally- just be sure to send an invite my way for your next backyard party!

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