The summer months are made for outdoor living. Whether your preferred summer activity is lounging by the pool, stretching out in the hammock or barbequing with friends, your backyard is the perfect place to enjoy the lazy days of summer.
As such, your porch or patio needs to be just as comfortable as your indoor living spaces. But take a trip to the store, and you may be shocked to see just how expensive it can be to outfit your patio. Chairs can run several hundred dollars, and a table hundreds more.
While these prices are shocking, they don't have to mean the end to your summer fun. With a little creativity, it is possible to create a comfortable porch or patio without going broke in the process.
Skeptical? You won't be for long.Here's how it works:
First, forget about purchasing patio furniture from a retail store. Sale or no sale, you'll inevitably end up spending a lot more than you need to.
If you are looking for true savings, yard sales are the perfect place to shop. Just don't expect to find the same pristine furniture that you saw at the store. Your yard sale finds probably won't even come close.
In most cases, the furniture you come across will look like the furthest thing from a deal. It will be dingy, faded and perhaps even mildewed. But after a little attention, that old, weather-worn furniture may be just the thing to turn your porch into a cozy retreat.
For the best results, look for furniture that can be repainted. Furniture made of wood or fiberglass will be your best bet. Before you make your final selection, be sure you are in love with the furniture, and not just it's price tag.
Try to imagine what the furniture originally looked like; consider the lines of the piece and envision how it will look on your porch or patio. Most important, look for quality.
Once you have chosen a patio set that you are happy with, it's time to start bringing it back to life. In most cases, this is as simple as a coat of paint.
Patio furniture can be revitalized quickly and easily using outdoor acrylic paint. Visit your local craft store for a large selection of colors. For a quick application, a sponge brush is ideal, so be sure pick up one or more of these as well.
Last summer I used this method to revive a fiberglass table that was well past its prime. After applying a coat of coral-colored paint to the entire surface, I went back with a paintbrush to add a few decorative touches-brightly colored flowers, a striped pattern around the edge and a few other flourishes.
If you don't feel comfortable hand-painting, stencils are another avenue to success. Your local craft store should also have a large collection of stencils to choose from.
Once you have a design you like, just let the paint dry and your table is ready for use. Since the paint is designed to withstand outdoor conditions, there's no need to apply a sealer.
As strong as concrete is, it's not impervious. Even when it lasts for many years in relatively good condition, dirt and deterioration will set in, despite your best cleaning efforts.
Building a stone patio is a simple project once you get past the earthwork and heavy lifting. If you and a few helpers are up to the challenge, you can create a stone patio in a weekend.
Laying a brick patio is a simple project, and the results will create an attractive and useful outdoor living space.