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11 Cheap Ways to Beautify Your Outdoor Entertaining Space

11 Cheap Ways to Beautify Your Outdoor Entertaining Space

Building a beautiful outdoor sanctuary sets the mood for your seasonal experience. You can turn the site of your staycation, whether you spend it on your deck, backyard, or porch, into a great escape — all while still saving money for the big family road trips. Here’s how to revamp your outdoor space on a budget.

11 Cheap Ways to Beautify Your Outdoor Entertaining Space

A dreamy backyard paradise starts with two simple steps: accessorizing, and finding multiple purposes for your furniture. Outdoor spaces are typically filled with an array of patterns to create a vibrant and trendy look. A bright outdoor rug, for example, adds a vibrant and trendy feel to the space. Rugs also direct foot traffic and can be used to divide the area into dining and lounging spaces. Pile on the pillows! Rich colors, stripes, and patterns lend a tropical atmosphere, and oversized cushions can even be used for lounging. Instead of heavy furniture, grab garden stools to provide additional guest seating. Stools can double as end tables in a pinch — plus, they’re easy to stack and store.

You’ve invited them over; now, create an inviting space for your party guests. Why not make the drinks mobile? Adding a bar cart puts the drinks on wheels. The party can move from place to place, and there are always beverages on hand. While dining under the stars, make sure you supply the right mood lighting to keep the festivities going into dusk. String lighting, hurricane lamps, portable recessed lighting, lanterns, and floating candles all light the path to a party that can extend for hours.

You’re outdoors, after all, so don’t forget to add a touch of nature. If you can’t grow a full garden, hang plants in your outdoor space. It’s a great way to save money while adding floral appeal. You can also plant your summer floral arrangement in unconventional items like mason jars or recycled wine bottles, or visit your local flea market for pottery. Designer and style expert Lauren Conrad frequents flea markets for one-of-a-kind additions for her home.

Summer is the perfect time for adventure and cozy relaxation. Extending the comfort and style inside your home into your outdoor space will give your guests a memorable and majestic experience.

Ban the Insects

Unwanted guests (mosquitos and other insects) sometimes like to crash your party. Make sure this doesn’t happen to you by creating your own stylish citronella candles.

Create a Celebrity-Inspired Backyard

Why not make things comfy with lots of outdoor pillows and cushions? E! Network’s Jason Kennedy and his wife included this fun design strategy in their new backyard design. They transfer the moveable pouf from inside to out for additional seating during larger gatherings.


6 Ways To Make The Most Of Small Outdoor Spaces

You don't need a lot of land to make a big statement.

You don't need a lot of land to make a big statement.

Even if your outdoor area is on the small side, you can still (tastefully) fill it with furniture. Make the most of every inch with a stylish table and chairs that make entertaining a breeze&mdashwithout making guests feel cramped.

A multitude of accessories turn this tiny balcony into the perfect spot to enjoy a cup of coffee or relax with a good book. A simple black and white color scheme keeps a lot of design elements from overwhelming a small space.

Collapsable furniture gives you the option to transform your space in just a matter of minutes. A foldable table, like Ikea's Applaro, offers the option to entertain, but is easily tucked away to create extra room when it's not in use.

No space to plant a full garden? No problem. Just grow vertically instead. Fastening a few potted plants to a wall or fence can make any small space feel like a field of flowers.

The sliver of land between two homes is easily forgotten, but becomes an outdoor oasis with a little landscaping and a few well-placed chairs.

Placing a fountain on the edge of a small outdoor space is the easiest way to bring a seaside vibe to your home. The relaxing sounds of water will keep the space serene and peaceful.


24 Outdoor Entertaining Tips That&rsquoll Save You Tons of Time

Throwing an outdoor party that's fun, festive, and filled with food, drink, and conversation isn't always as easy as moving your indoor party to the patio. When you're hosting an outdoor party, certain factors like unexpected wind or a sunny backyard without an inch of shade to hide in can quickly complicate things. For a truly foolproof outdoor party, go ahead and lean into the spirit of the season with easy ways to work with the elements (hint: tablecloth weights will save the day!), no-fuss table settings, and a simple menu that won't leave you stranded in the kitchen while your guests mingle outside. No matter if you're having some family over for an impromptu patio party or are prepping for a giant Fourth of July bash for the entire neighborhood, these tips are all designed to help make your life easier, so you can kick back and enjoy the summer with your family and friends.


2 | Lay Down An Outdoor Rug

An outdoor rug defines space on a small patio or deck

Another of my small patio decorating ideas is to use outdoor area rugs. They’re meant to take the weather and usually aren’t that expensive.

The outdoor rug* under the table on my back deck really helps to define the space and makes it feel like a real outdoor room.

Adding a solar-powered lighted umbrella* even makes this deck useful after dark.

Outdoor rugs ground a seating area on a patio

I added another similar outdoor rug* on my patio, too (which is a larger space) and the rug definitely pulls the whole look together.


It’s outdoor entertaining season. Here’s how to keep the bugs at bay.

It’s been more than a year since we sequestered ourselves to stay safe during the coronavirus pandemic. Now, with vaccinations underway and warmer weather arriving, you may be eager to do some socially distanced outdoor entertaining. Before you welcome guests, you need to get your backyard ready. Groom the lawn. Clean the patio furniture. Prep the grill. Check, check and check. But what’s your plan for dealing with uninvited guests? No, not that eccentric neighbor who shows up just as you’re starting to chow down. I’m talking about annoying pests such as mosquitoes, wasps, yellow jackets and flies. How do you ensure they don’t crash the party?

Keeping insects away from your home is easy. Keeping insects at bay without harming “good” bugs, not to mention pets and humans, is harder. Stinging pests can cause obvious injuries others, such as flies and mosquitoes, may carry pathogens. Not every bug, though, is a bad bug. “Just because you can see it, doesn’t make it a problem,” says Angela Tucker, a staff entomologist for the pest-control company Terminix.

Many insects perform a service to the environment — including ladybugs, honeybees and other pollinators — and predator bugs, such as robber flies, eat other bugs. “Good bugs keep bad bugs in check. If you kill off all the natural predators, the bad ones will go out of control,” says Ryan Smith, an organic pest-control expert with Ant & Garden Organic Pest Control in Beaverton, Ore.

Unsure how to tell which is which? The website pestworld.org helps consumers identify pests and insects, and it provides tips for pest proofing and control. To learn which insects are indigenous to your area, contact your local county extension office. Typically run by universities or state agriculture departments, these offices offer free advice on gardening, pests and more.

For those willing to take the time, targeted pest control is effective and easy to do yourself (with a few exceptions, such as hornets’ nests). It can also save you money. Joe LaBrie and his family own Bug & Weed Mart, a company with five stores in the Phoenix area focused on DIY pest control. He says that before you buy any product, you should survey your yard or entertainment space to see what can be done reasonably without chemicals. Is there any trash or dog feces that needs to be removed? Are there nests being built that you can safely knock down? Can you store garbage and recycling bins elsewhere? Are certain spots prone to standing water that you can drain?

After you’ve assessed your yard, it’s time to focus on a specific pest. Each insect has different behaviors, likes and dislikes that should guide your approach.

Flies: Organic matter is catnip to flies, which are attracted to the odor. For family-style dinners, keep dishes covered, and only fill glasses halfway. You may even want to consider plating up indoors, then carrying your meal outside to dine, Tucker says.

One simple solution may be found in your pantry. Fill cups with vinegar (any variety) and place them every few feet around the perimeter of your space, Smith says. Flies are drawn to the scent, but vinegar is denser than water, so when the pests touch it, they get caught and drown. Another option: LaBrie suggests Fly Spot, an effective bait that attracts and kills flies in 60 seconds or less. Mix the product with water and spray flower pots, the backs of patio furniture and the bases of garbage cans.

Mosquitoes: Standing water is your biggest challenge, says Jim Fredericks, chief entomologist for the National Pest Management Association. Any container or object — toys, birdbaths, kiddie pools, flower pots, tire swings, gutter downspouts — that collects water needs to be dumped at least every five days, so mosquitoes have no breeding ground. For those who live in rainy locales, Smith recommends sprinkling Mosquito Bits into any standing water. These corncob granules are coated with a bacteria that quickly kills mosquito larvae but is safe for pets, birds and wildlife.

Considering bug zappers, torches or citronella candles? Most are pretty hit or miss. Tiki torches may dissuade mosquitoes because of the smoke, which throws off odor patterns, and the scent of citronella may act as a deterrent. But neither is an effective control method, Tucker says. As for bug zappers, remember that the electric chair of the insect world is indiscriminate in what it attracts, so both bad and good flying insects may be killed. And, as Tucker says, “placement is important, so when the insect gets zapped, no bug parts go flying out onto you or your food.”

An alternative to a traditional zapper is the DynaTrap Ultralight, which uses a motor and fan instead of an electrical current to do the deed. A fluorescent UV lightbulb and a titanium dioxide-coated surface that releases CO2 attract flying insects, and the fan pulls them inside the basket, where they die of dehydration. Then, you simply empty the trap as needed, LaBrie says. The DynaTrap will not harm honeybees, bumblebees or other beneficial insects, because they are not attracted to carbon dioxide.

Ants: Forget the chemical sprays and powders, which can be toxic to humans and pets. According to Smith, you can eradicate ants with a simple recipe. Mix one tablespoon of a peanut butter and honey mixture with ¼ teaspoon boric acid. Place blobs around your entertainment area (use a dish or paper towel if you’re concerned about protecting your floors) about one week before your event, and the ants should disappear. Not only is this concoction cheap to make — a bottle of boric acid should last you a lifetime — but it’s also safe for wildlife and pets, he says.


20 Easy Decor Tricks to Elevate Any Small Patio

Don't skimp on style because you have a petite space.

Believe it or not, you don't have to sacrifice style just because you have a small patio. There are a slew of simple decorating tricks that can make your space feel larger and more stylish. Browse these 20 affordable ways to make your petite patio the outdoor space you've always wanted.

A foldable umbrella, which can inject personality into your petite space and offer protection from the sun, can easily be stored when not in use. Plus, it's useful when entertaining.

Seating, like lounge chairs, that you can fold and store is brilliant for outdoor spaces. Choose a classic color that can be dressed up with throw pillows of your choice.

For some reason, adding a rug that boasts an eye-catching pattern instantly makes a design scheme feel more stylish and cozy. And the best part? It doesn't take it much space at all.

When it comes to decorating a small space, the last thing you need is clutter. Keep it simple with a few well-curated accessories and minimal furniture.

Make your compact space cozier by installing a decorative fence or even a folding screen. It's also an easy way to introduce a dose of texture into your space.

Make the most of your space with storage that can be used to hold beverages and act as a side table when necessary.

Not only do these flowy curtains offer a nice backdrop for a summer meal under the sun but they also give privacy when you want it. Bored with the layout? Break it up by adding a curtain. It's that simple.

Give your outdoor space a living room vibe with the addition of a mirror. It'll brighten up your patio and give it a more spacious feel in an instant.


My Favorite Things To Do When In Maui

My Favorite Things To Do When In Maui

I always get asked so many questions about the places I travel to so I figured I’d start sharing about each trip I go on here. It’s so nice when you travel to a new destination and you have trusted recommendations on what to do, where to stay, and what to eat! I’m sharing my favorite things to do in Maui. I hope that it will help you find the fun places to go, things to do, good things to eat, and great places to stay!

We have been to Maui a few times and stayed on different parts of the island. This time we stayed near Lahaina at the Kaanapali Alii Condos. We took all our children so we chose to rent a condo with three bedrooms and a kitchen as that was a lot more affordable than multiple hotel rooms and eating out each meal It wasn’t a five star resort, but it was a very nice condo and it had a nice pool area and was right on the


25 Ways to Decorate Your Pergola This Summer

1. Add Curtains to Your Outdoor Space

Curtains! It’s amazing what a little indoor decor can do for your outdoor patio. Make sure you use weather friendly cloth and you’ll have a wonderful entertaining area that feels fancy without blowing your budget. (via Home Depot)

2. String Lights for Your Pergola

Everybody has string lights on their pergolas… but that doesn’t make it a bad idea. String lights give your outdoor entertaining space some lovely soft lighting that will make it all the more inviting for you and your guests. (via Savvy Southern Style)

3. A Cozy Swing

Are you thinking about seating for your pergola? I would suggest a swing. It will add to the other patio furniture you have and give you a cozy place to sit with your wine at the end of a long day. (via Ana White)

4. Enhance Your Pergola with Potted Plants

Feel free to make your pergola into a terrarium of sorts. You probably have potted plants on your patio already so add to the illusion by planting vines or even strawberries above your pergola. They’ll give you a nice shady spot to hang out away from the sun. (via Los Moderninh)

5. Install Removable Awnings

Speaking of shady spots, install a removable awning onto your patio to keep you and your little ones protected on those sweltering summer days. Suddenly you can have a picnic for lunch instead of waiting until the sun is going down. (via Pergola Gazebos)

6. Create an Outdoor Dining Room

Many people use the space under their pergolas as an outdoor dining room. If that sounds like your pergola, consider hanging a chandelier over your table. It will really help you achieve the alfresco dining experience. (via Decoholic)

7. Include a Hammock

For those who prefer a patio space that’s all about relaxing with a glass of lemonade and a good book, you’ll want to include a hammock. Use two sides of your pergola to install your hooks and then you can spend the rest of your summer weekends hanging around. (via Casa Tres Chic)

8. Build Planters Around Your Space

If your pergola is pretty much enclosed in a tiny area of your backyard, go ahead and build some planters around the space. You can use them to grow herbs or succulents or whatever greenery you’d prefer. (via A Beautiful Mess)

9. Upgrade your Kid’s Swing Set

Have you ever thought of upgrading your kid’s swing set with a pergola? Use a miniature one to hang their swings. You’ll find that it’s visually more appealing, plus you can fit more swings so no one has to share. (via Best Pergola Ideas)

10. An Outdoor Wedding Pergola

When it comes to outdoor weddings, you have to include a pergola. Drape it in florals and it can serve as your altar for the ceremony or a photo booth for guests or even just a pretty spot to take your wedding portraits. (via Found)

11. A Deck Pergola with Plant Hangers

Your pergola will feel like a whole other room in your home when you follow this DIY project from Lowes. The great thing about this project is that it’s really easy to customize. You’ll have plenty of places to hang plants, adding some much-needed greenery to your garden. If you add hanging planters packed with flowers, you’ll give this area a bright and summery feel. It will add a stylish retreat into your home, which will make you feel like you’ve escaped your day-to-day life for a little while.

12. White Lattice Woodwork Pergola

While pergolas are often brown or feature natural wood, you can always opt for a white or painted pergola to fit the outside of your home. This pergola from Home Stratosphere uses a checkered wood frame with lattice woodwork squares. It replaces the usual parallel boards used on pergolas and adds a modern and unique twist to standard designs. You’ll enjoy plenty of sun in this pergola, so it will be the perfect spot to spend time in the summer months.

13. A Box Type Pergola

Pergolas come in all shapes and sizes and Build Eazy shows us how to make this box pergola design idea. It’s built using rows of solid blockings in between the rafters, which creates boxes. These are a super popular type of pergola nowadays and are ideal for smaller spaces. They are the perfect pergola for any garden as they look neat and tidy and are not too challenging to construct if you are opting to complete the project yourself.

14. An Outdoor Kitchen

BBQ Coach shares a fun idea for incorporating an outdoor kitchen into your pergola. Regardless of the size of your intended outdoor kitchen, a pergola can act as good protection for your devices from the elements. This is a fantastic centerpiece for any garden, and you’ll love entertaining family and friends outdoors this summer. You can opt for a small outdoor grill or extend this to include a full kitchen setup. A dining table could also be added to the space if you have a large area in your garden for the new pergola.

15. Fire Pit Pergola

If you have a large space in your garden and love entertaining, you’ll be blown away by this pergola idea from Remodelaholic. The pergola is based around a fireplace and then has enough swinging seats for everyone in your family. You’ll love inviting friends and family members over for drinks and night-time conversations surrounding the firepit. The top of the pergola is completely open, so you can gaze up at the skies above you while enjoying your time together. The round shape of this pergola means that everyone can see each other and chat without craning their necks.

16. A Plant-Filled Oasis

Family Handyman offers us this pergola design plan that’s perfect for anyone who is looking to add more greenery and character to their garden. This style of a pergola is ideal for anyone looking to grow vines over their pergola. Vines are a fantastic and natural way to decorate a pergola and create a romantic look like something taken straight from a movie. You’ll enjoy a cool and relaxing space to sit and entertain your family, so it’s perfect for anyone looking to escape the hot sun in the summer. Building your own pergola takes a few days, but it’s a fun project to do this spring.

17. Lighted Pergola

We love this stunning pergola from SF Girl, which takes things one step further than just adding dainty fairy lights, as we showed you earlier. This pergola uses larger hanging bulbs, which will light your space effectively in the evening. They also create a romantic and modern environment, so you’ll enjoy inviting friends and family over for dinner in your newly decorated pergola. We also like how they’ve added hanging plant pots, which work well in conjunction with the hanging overhead lights.

18. A Steel Pergola

If you don’t like the look of a wooden pergola in your garden, decorate the space with a steel pergola instead. A steel pergola generally requires less space and won’t be such a huge distraction in a smaller garden. Instructables shares this steel pergola, which you can then decorate with plants and lights to suit your tastes. This project is painted black at the end, but choose any color you like for your garden. It’s easy to install on your grass, and the size can be adjusted to fit your needs.

19. Paper Lanterns and Wisteria

Room for Tuesday shows us how to create this charming idea for decorating your pergola this summer. You could add paper lanterns for a special occasion or make them a permanent addition to the space. Your friends and family will feel like they’ve stepped into another world, providing the escapism we all need this summer. You’ll enjoy eating dinner in a beautifully decorated pergola, and it will soon become your friend’s favorite spot to gather. The wisteria in this photo complements the paper lanterns so well. They work together to transform what was just a regular pergola into something completely out of the ordinary.

20. Slat Wood Pergola

For anyone who struggles with spending too much time in the sun, you’ll love sitting under this slat wood pergola this summer. It’s ideal for someone who would otherwise be burnt to a crisp in a regular pergola. We love the white color that A Beautiful Mess has used to decorate this pergola. It just goes to show that brown isn’t your only option, and you can enjoy a light and airy space for your whole family to dine or sit in. The decking and dining table create an outdoor dining area that you’ll want to eat in every night this year.

21. A Boho Pergola

The boho look is popular in homes of all shapes and sizes today. However, it’s not just reserved for the inside of your home. Take your favorite style outdoors this summer by adding tables, chairs, and decorations that create a laid-back and boho vibe. We love the funky table and stool that’s added underneath this pergola from Almost Makes Perfect. It’s the ideal spot to unwind after a busy day at work with a glass of wine and a good book this summer.

22. Add More Privacy To Your Pergola

Recreate the look and feel of a fancy resort with these pergola curtains. If you have a garden that is overlooked by neighboring properties, you’ll be able to enjoy escaping from the world around you by adding heavy curtains to your pergola. If you are lucky enough to have a swimming pool in your home, this pergola from Centsational Style will look incredible poolside. Add some comfy chairs, and you’ll enjoy chilling out here all summer long this year.

23. Floral Wedding Pergola

Fun 365 shares this pergola DIY project which transforms a plain pergola into the perfect wedding setting. However, this idea could also be used in your garden and will add a splash of color to any outdoor space. We love the variety of small elements that come together in this project to completely transform the look of the space. The hanging glass terrariums are our favorite part of this transformation. You could hang roses or candles from these little glass balls, which hang from stretchy string. Place them at staggered heights for an elegant overall look and feel to your pergola.

24. A Colored Lantern

Add a pop of color to your wooden pergola with a colored lantern. Hunted Interior adds this bold red lantern to her pergola, which hangs over the dining table where you’ll gather with friends and family members. We love the combination of a dining and relaxation area in this space. You’ll be able to accommodate a large group of people and offer everyone a seat beneath this fun pergola with a colored lantern.

25. Pergola Shades

Pergola Gazebos offers us a wide selection of ideas for anyone looking to protect themselves from the sun this summer. For anyone who struggles when they spend too much time outdoors, you’ll love adding some shade and protection. It’s a great option for anyone with kids, as you’ll give them an extra space to hang out during the summer break without spending a fortune. Most of these shades can be put up and down as needed, so you can also enjoy some sun from time to time.


11 Cheap Ways to Beautify Your Outdoor Entertaining Space - Recipes

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The perfect yet simple, outdoor table setting

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The Setting

Under a big oak tree. On the back lawn. By the greenhouse- or in the greenhouse. In the vegetable or flower garden. On a pathway in the yard. On the patio or inside the screened porch.

There are so many options with where to set up a table for a gathering. Since every home and yard is different- the best to do is to look at your space with fresh eyes- meaning- don’t see it like you see it everyday. Look at it with ‘inspiration’ for what it ‘could’ look like.

A few things to think about with the setting

Look for an area under a tree if you would like twinkle lights overhead. Or a spot with a tree in the background for adding them there. If you don’t have that- consider a few LED trees placed in the background for that magic.

Set out a basket with throws for wrapping up as an evening chill sets in- or set up near a fire pit for warmth and a bit of s’mores fun for the kids or after dinner.

There are so many ways to enjoy backyard gatherings this summer- and with a sprinkle of your magic touch – you can create something that is an inspired gathering and a whole lot of memories in the making. For more inspiration- grab a copy of my latest book Inspired Gatherings – just $22 right now on Amazon.

Don’t miss the outdoor tables my friends are sharing today as well- and stay tuned for a tour of our new English Cottage Garden area coming your way.


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