If you want to have people over but do it cheaply, The Spruce says, try a summery theme such as a luau, “glamping” or game night; outdoor games such as badminton, cornhole and horseshoes are obvious choices. Shop at party, dollar and thrifts stores (the latter of which are often supplied by generous donations to ClothingDonations.org) to keep decorating costs low, and ask guests to bring a dish suitable for a crowd-pleasing cookout. Then, just add a summery playlist of your favorite music — or get your musician friends to jam — for an outdoor party that rocks.
The difference between a boring backyard, deck or patio and a welcoming outdoor oasis is often as simple as a few well-placed plants or accessories. To spruce up your space fast, Love Your Landscape says, hang a mirror, grow climbing vines, or build a pergola. Potted plants can add visual interest and color, and solar lanterns or string lights will bathe the area in soft light after sunset. Sawhorses and a sheet of plywood or an old door (covered with a tablecloth) can serve as a dining table, and benches with cushions and/or folding stadium chairs will give guests a place to sit.
The garden may be looking a bit haggard after a long winter and wet spring, and you’ll need to clean it up to make it presentable for the summer. Trim the bushes and prune the trees; clear the yard of sticks, leaves and other detritus. Weed the flower beds, plant annuals and mulch the beds to keep weeds at bay. Clear the cobwebs from your shed or garage and organize your stuff into bins. Finally, give your deck or patio and its furnishings a good power wash and dress up the whole are with hanging baskets and pots, House Beautiful says, and you’ll be able to create a welcoming space for entertaining guests or relaxing in the great outdoors.
Take a cue from celebrated declutterer Marie Kondo to bring order to your outdoor space. Set aside time to examine each category of goods populating the patio, yard and shed — tools, furniture, plants, etc. — and ask yourself Kondo’s quintessential question as you encounter each item: “Does this spark joy?” If it doesn’t, get rid of it. In doing so, you’ll free your mind of the need to make everything somehow fit into a perfect scheme. “Let go of the ‘what-ifs’ and ‘somedays,’” says the Houzz blog. “Toss that half-dead plant into the compost bin and tidy up the debris of an unfinished garden project.”
Consider the purpose of your outdoor space so that you can declutter it more effectively, says Home Storage Solutions 101. It might be a playground for the kids, a place to hold elegant al fresco dinner parties, or your own little garden spot. Whatever its function is should help determine the stuff that occupies the space. The rest can go into a garden shed and storage bins when not in use to free up space. As you weed, clean and organize your patio, toss any broken items, and save any still-useful items that just don’t fit into your scheme for a donation to ClothingDonations.org.