Spring is in the air, which means summer is not far off! Now is the best time to start getting your backyard ready for epic gatherings that last until the stars fill the sky and the moon shines bright. Even those hot and humid days lead to cooler evenings – warm your outdoor space with a fire pit that is so hot its cool… Ambiance || Determine the ambiance you want to create. Do you want your fire pit to be the place guests flock to after dinner? If so, then consider a low fire pit that pairs well with outdoor sofas, poufs, and cushy chairs. Is your backyard space limited? You can still create an inviting retreat by opting for a fire pit table! Fire pit tables offer the same inviting ambiance with enough space to enjoy a delicious summer meal. There are even high-top styles that are perfect for an urban setting! Placement || Though most portable fire pits have guards and/or safety features, it is still important that you are mindful of where you place yours and how close the seating is. Be sure to leave at least 4ft between your home and your fire pit/fire pit table. Do not position it under an enclosed overhang. For low-profile fire pits, it is best to position the seating around 2ft away from the flame. If you have a fire pit table, it is okay to pull seating in since there is usually 8-10 inches of table space between you and the flame. Extras || Complete your backyard retreat with decorative elements to enhance the ambiance like string lights, outdoor plants, or a rug for an added layer of cozy! Have blankets handy too since some nights will be chillier than others. While campfires naturally fuel good conversation and laughter, games will also help to keep the party going well into the night!
Outdoor Living || Relax and entertain al fresco with cool seating, patio umbrellas, fire pits & more If you live in a part of the world with four distinct seasons, it feels incredibly invigorating when you first open your home to the outdoors in spring. Because the season can seem short, it's key to make your outdoor space as comfortable and inviting as possible, especially if you entertain a lot. If you happen to have a swimming pool, this will probably be the focal point of your setup. Organize your space much as you would inside, with designated seating areas, complete with area rugs – durable synthetics, or natural abaca or sisal are ideal. Sprinkle in garden stools or small tables that can be easily rearranged. For finishing touches, include hanging flower pots, large planters, and string lights to make the view even more enticing.   Furniture Must-Haves || Start with the coziest seating you can find. Depending on the size of your space, you can include a sofa, loveseat, chairs, or even a sectional. Consider how you plan to use the space. If dining al fresco is number one, invest in a table that accommodates an umbrella, and make sure the chairs include cushions. If frequent naps and reading time are on the agenda, a chaise, swivel chair or glider will feel especially welcoming, along with a convenient side table to place your beverage, snacks, and a book. When choosing fabrics for seat cushions, pillows and umbrella canopies, decide if they will receive full or partial sun exposure. Generally, acrylic fabrics such as Sunbrella are the most durable and soft, and will not fade, while spun polyester fabrics are durable, but stiffer, and more likely to fade.   Inviting Extras || A memorable outdoor soiree includes many elements. Obviously, a fun mix of family and friends is essential, but as afternoon segues to evening, certain factors make people want to linger. If it gets chilly, a fire pit can provide just the amount of warmth and ambience you need to keep the party going. If you prefer an upgrade to your old beach cooler, you can set up a portable trolley cart on casters for a "help yourself" bar. A large tray to organize accessories like napkins, cups and plates is helpful. And, if your gathering is still in full swing during evening hours, don't forget citronella candles to keep bugs at bay – except for fireflies, of course. You may want to count or chase them.   Light & Shade || There's simply no comparison to natural light. It just makes you feel more energetic. But when temperatures sizzle in midsummer, you need to shield yourself and guests a bit. This is where a great patio or deck umbrella will do wonders. As the day progresses, adjust the umbrella's angle to keep direct sunshine under control, and if you feel a sudden raindrop or get a downpour, a strong, sturdy umbrella really helps. If you're making s'mores come nightfall, hang some string lights or battery-operated lanterns to make the scene magical.
4th of July is upon us which means BBQ season is in full swing! Make your backyard stand out among the rest with a stellar set-up and fun DIY tricks… The Set-Up || Turn up the cozy by creating a lounge complete with an outdoor sectional, poufs, and a fire pit so your guests can relax between games and enjoy s’mores around the fire at the end of the night. Need more seating? Lay down a rug (an indoor rug can work as long as you bring it in at the end of the night) and throw down some oversized pillows. Pump the Jams || Curate a playlist of tunes that range from laid-back summer jams to fun throwback beats that will evoke nostalgia and get people to dance! Kiss the Cook || Think outside the box with your BBQ cuisine – maple bourbon burgers anyone? You don’t have to get crazy (it is still a BBQ after all), but offering those BBQ basics with a twist will certainly make your backyard bash the one to remember. Game On || Life-size Jenga is a fun DIY yard game that is always a crowd pleaser. Simply buy 3 8ft long 2x4 wide wood planks and using a power saw cut them into 8.5 inch blocks. Each plank should make about 11 blocks then you stack and play! If you want to get even craftier you can paint them with glow-in-the-dark paint to keep the party going well into the night. Buzz Off || Keep unwanted guests away with DIY citronella candles that will double as decorative accents! Using however many mason jars you feel is necessary, fill each ¾ of the way with hot water and 10 drops of citronella, eucalyptus, and peppermint essential oils. Add a thick slice of fresh lemon and a couple sprigs of fresh rosemary and lavender and top off with a floating votive candle. Another way to keep the insects at bay is adding sage to your fire pit!
Whether you have a sprawling backyard in the suburbs or a balcony in the city, you can create a cozy outdoor oasis to come home to every summer night… Take a Seat || Your dining set is great for enjoying dinner, but just like when you’re indoors, the party eventually moves to cozier seating. Keep the party going outside by adding plush seating like a sofa or glider. In an urban setting? Opt for a loveseat paired with a cocktail table so you can dine and relax until the stars are twinkling in the sky! Light it Up || Whether you string lights above like a canopy of stars or you have a roaring fire pit, the level of intimacy changes once the sun sets. Set the mood with low lighting and be sure to add citronella candles to the mix to keep the bugs away! The Snuggle is Real || Once that sun goes down so does the temperature - be sure to keep cozy blankets on hand! Another way to add a little cozy to your space is with an outdoor rug and poufs. Poufs are great since they don’t take up much space, can be moved around easily, and will double as a footrest!   Veg Out || Yes, relax… but with vegetation! This is especially important for urban dwellers that are living in a concrete jungle. Create a lush setting by adding potted plants or if space is tight, a plant wall! You can even scent your space (and add fresh flavor to meals) by planting herbs like rosemary and basil.
Flip the this summer. Instead of hosting the typical daytime barbeque, go for the golden hour – that magical time of day when the sun dips into the horizon and illuminates the sky in a warm, colorful glow. Enhance the ambiance with these essentials… Set the Stage || While your outdoor dining set can comfortably fit your family, it probably isn’t large enough to host an entire dinner party. Instead of setting up extra seating and separating everyone, make your own picnic-style banquet table! Forgo chairs and amp up the cozy by laying down a few outdoor area rugs topped with oversized toss pillows to serve as “chairs.” Next, take 3-4 wooden planks (depending on their width) and nail them together to create a sturdy table. Place the DIY table on top of cinderblocks to achieve the perfect height for your pillow chairs and top with a nice linen tablecloth! Scatter a few vases of flowers and some votive candles and your table is set. Perfectly Placed || Save the paper goods for your next daytime party. Elevate this dining experience by utilizing melamine dinnerware. Not only is this a green approach to entertaining, but many melamine utensils, serving ware, and place settings come in fun prints and colors that scream summer! You’ll have them for years to come too since they’re nearly unbreakable. Tech it Outside || If you don’t already have an outdoor speaker system, invest in a portable Bluetooth speaker so you can dine to the soft sound of your favorite musical artists. Allow your guests to help you curate the perfect playlist by having them pick a song or two when they RSVP to the dinner! Let it Glow || Surround your table with large citronella candles in hurricane vases to keep those pesky bugs away. Add even more intimacy and magic to the setting by stringing twinkly lights. If trees are scarce or non-existent in your backyard, make a string light fence instead! Surround your table with wooden stakes and adhere the lights to the stakes to section off your little picnic area. Chilly night? Finish off the look with a portable fire pit. Don’t forget the s’mores!
Being in New England there is nothing more nourishing than dining al fresco for the first time after a long winter. With just a few key pieces you can create a magical ambiance regardless of the size of your space… Seating || The traditional outdoor table with chairs is a great standard, however if you are short on space consider an outdoor sectional or loveseat and chair paired with a table! Adding plush textures to your outdoor space will create a cozy atmosphere with a touch of indoor luxury. With endless configurations from long farm tables with benches to high top tables with barstools, you can create multiple conversation spots by mixing and matching these pieces if your space allows. Don’t forget the chaise lounge for those afternoon naps in the sun!   Rug || An outdoor rug is a great way to soften the patio or define a dining space in your backyard if you don’t have a patio. Whether you choose a vibrant print or a laid-back solid, a rug will warm the space making shoes optional. And in fabrics that are stain resistant and fast-drying you won’t have to worry about New England’s unpredictable weather. Ambiance || Create an ethereal vibe by stringing twinkling lights or hanging Moroccan lanterns from your house or trees above. Keep those pesky insects at bay in style by placing pillar-style citronella candles in tall glass hurricanes. Complete the setting with a fire pit. Not only will it aid in keeping insects away, it will also provide warmth for those chillier nights. Campfire reimagined.