1. Decorate with “Cool” Colors
I find that decorating with the “cool” colors, such as blues and greens is usually best for the outdoors. The reason for this is psychology – “cool” colors make us feel cooler and this is what most of us want during the heat of Summer! It is already sunny and hot outside, and decorating with lots of reds, oranges and yellows (the “warm” colors) can add to that “hot” feeling. So, I suggest the majority of your cushions, pillows and umbrellas be blues and greens or light colors such as whites and tans.
I love adding in some contrast to the “cool” colors with warm colored accents – yellow flowers are a great choice. Pops of red & orange in your decor or a pattern in the fabric or your cushions is another great choice. Pink is a terrific accent color because it falls somewhere between warm and cool. However – if you are a lover of warm colors and they don’t make you feel “hot” as you are sitting outside, then by all means – decorate with as much red, orange and yellow as you please. 🙂
2. Splurge on Sunbrella Fabric
If you can afford it….it is always best to invest in pillows, cushions and umbrellas made with Sunbrella fabric. I know it’s much more expensive upfront – but these cushions and umbrellas will last you for years! The less expensive fabrics tend to fade and stain within 1-2 seasons. Sunbrella fabric not only doesn’t fade – it truly repels the dirt, mildew and all that plant & buggy stuff that the great outdoors comes with. I have had this blue Sunbrella umbrella for 6 years now and it still looks brand new!
My go-to vendors for outdoor cushions & umbrellas made with Sunbrella fabric are Home Decorators Collection (a part of Home Depot) and Pottery Barn – they both offer many, many color and pattern choices. I am starting to notice Sunbrella fabric items showing up more and more with lots of other vendors – so always keep an eye out. I found this kahki colored umbrella at Costco and was surprised and happy to see that it is made with Sunbrella fabric – win for me!
3. Transform a small eye sore part of your yard into a masterpiece!
Do you have a small part of your yard that is ugly or filled with weeds or where nothing grows? I did and this is how I changed it into a beautiful masterpiece with very little money or effort. This small flower bed is located right next to the pool. When we moved into this house, it had mulch and a large, ugly plant. The plant grew tall enough to block my view of my kids in the pool, it sometimes drooped into the pool and the mulch was always getting kicked or blown into the pool – yuck!
The first Summer we lived here, I removed the ugly plant and planted some flowers. But, it turns out this little flower bed bakes in the hot Texas, Summer sun all day long and almost no plant, and definitely no flowers, can survive this oven. So, I decided to transform this space into a Mexican, Southwestern, xeriscaping inspired plant bed. I removed all the mulch and replaced it with river rocks. I then pulled out the plants and replaced them with my colorful Mexican Talavera pots (I love Mexican pottery!). I planted them up with succulents – one of the few types of plants that can make it through the Summer heat. Then I added in my other Mexican pottery accents – all of which I have owned for years.
The Mexican Talavera pots and animals add so much color and fun life to this space and has brightened up my whole yard. I get many complements on this plant bed and it makes me happy every time I see it. I was able to do this transformation in 1 day. If you have a sad space in your yard – you can transform it too! This concept would work great for a muddy/shady spot too- just use shade plants instead of succulents. Here are the 3 mains steps:
- Replace the weeds or mulch with inexpensive river rocks (from Home Depot or Lowes)
- Add in some colorful pots and plant them with some pretty plants that work for the amount of sun your space gets
- Add in some fun, smaller garden accent pieces, like animals or gnomes.