Summer Patio Decorating Ideas

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The summer sun has finally arrived, taking the cold evenings of spring and replacing them with scorching days and pleasant nights. A patio is a summer hub of fun and leisure, but the time for decorating it with grandma's 200-year-old plastic lawn furniture is over.

Many people make the mistake of treating the patio as a decorative after thought when it should be considered another room of the home. How many people would decide to not decorate their living room or kitchen? The patio deserves to be a highlight of summer and it begins with proper decorating.

The Tiki Room

One of the most popular themes for a patio is the Tiki or jungle motif. This is heavily influenced by the Hawaiian and tropical culture, so many of the decorative aspects involve these particular themes.

  • Tiki torches: These decorative torches not only act as a light source for the area, but can also help ward off unwanted bugs such as mosquitoes. Replace the traditional Tiki torch with a citronella candle and the bugs will be a memory.
  • The wicker factor: Unlike plastic furniture, wicker provides an outdoor feel, and also is durable and weather resistant. Wicker chairs, tables, cabinets and almost any other type furniture imaginable is readily available for use on your summer patio.
  • Jungle items: Tiki atmosphere includes anything jungle related, so tropical plants, tribal masks and other items will liven up any summer gathering.

Don't forget to throw in some Tiki drinks the next time you host a tiki summer party.

Sun Protection

The summer heat can cause severe sunburns for people who aren't protected from the sun's rays. There are many sun protection options that are both functional and decorative.

  • Umbrella: The giant umbrella has been popular for decades as a fun and easy way to provide protection from the sun. Umbrellas generally connect to specially designed tables and provide protection for a limited area.
  • Awning: An awning is installed above the patio and can be either motorized or manual. It stays folded up while not in use and then unfolds to cover the majority of the patio area. It acts as both a sun and rain protector. They come in various sizes and patterns for easy insertion into most decorating schemes.
  • Gazebo: While not technically part of the patio, a gazebo can be a mini patio all on its own. Set off from the main patio area, it can be a quiet place of solace for the homeowner or guests during a party. It is a roofed building, so it provides excellent sun protection.

The Man Cave

Men need a place to call their own and the patio is often claimed as their dominion. It can be decked out for the perfect party atmosphere or a place for quiet reflection when the kids get a little too crazy. Here are some ideas that will help prepare your outdoor man cave for the summer months.

  • The grill: Summertime means BBQ and no man cave is complete without the ability to char red-meat to delicious perfection. The patio is the ideal area for the state-of-the-art grill system of a master chef. Complete the scene with a refrigerator or cooler filled with a tasty beverage...and extra meat, of course.
  • Stereo: A full-fledged summer man cave needs to have tunes ready on a moment's notice for that musical motivation before mowing the lawn. Set up a surround system to blast your tunes for the neighborhood, whether they like it or not.
  • Enclosure: Trying to relax under the blazing sun might be a little too uncomfortable for the summer season. Perhaps it's time to invest in an enclosed patio. These can either be constructed on site, or installed with prefabricated walls, doors and windows. You can even transform the patio into a full-fledged sunroom, allowing you to enjoy the summer weather without having to sweat it out. Just remember, a sunroom is like an open invitation for family and guests to encroach on your man cave space.

Concrete Garden

A patio is surrounded by sun all day and is the perfect place to liven up your home with pot-based trees and plants. Research what outdoor plants are best for the area.

  • Trees: A few small trees planted in pots around the patio add color and vibrancy to an area. If the task of watering and replacing soil doesn't appeal, then there are many varieties of fake trees that look great, but don't need the constant care.
  • Flowers: Flowers can be tricky because they are not nearly as hardy as trees. You can buy fake flowers, but they just don't have the look and smell of the real thing.

Outdoor Bar

The summer is a great time to host some outdoor gatherings, especially in the evening. Treat your summer guests to a full-service home bar, replete with a wide assortment of refreshments for their choosing.

  • The fridge: This can also be large or small depending on the amount of beverages and items you wish to store. The color should complement the countertops and any cabinets installed.
  • Bar counter: Setup a bar counter that gives you adequate space to work with and to seat some of your guests. Also, set up extra chairs surrounding the bar and small tables if your patio has the space for it. Remember, the bar is most likely going to be the central hub for your summer party.
  • Cabinets: Install some free standing cabinets to house glassware, liquor, plates, and sides such as chips. You'll want to store everything you need to be a proper bartender without having to run back into the house for anything.
  • The sink: Installing a small sink area with a water connection is ideal for rinsing glasses and to help clean any counter spills.
Last Updated: January 18, 2012
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About Brock Cooper Brock Cooper is a freelance writer for 

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