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On Monday, I shared the reveal of our outdoor patio space and this has quickly become one of my favorite “rooms” in our condo. Finn and I have been trying to spend as much time as possible out here, and it has been glorious.
But it did take some work to get this space looking good again. Chicago Winters can be harsh, so we do our best to store things away during the cold months, clean things up in the springtime, and then bring all of our outdoor items out to enjoy for the summer.
How to Prep your Patio for Summer
My first big task was to clean and stain the deck. But once that was done, I still had even more work to do. Here are the tasks I completed to get this small balcony looking good again!
Powerwash Outdoor Rug
As I mentioned in the deck staining tutorial, I purchased a power washer to get the deck super clean before staining. That new tool also came in handy to get my outdoor rug clean again! I purchased this rug at the end of last summer and it still had plenty of life left in it, so I stored it in our storage unit during the winter months.
It was a bit dusty and dirty from storage, so I gave it a good rinse with the power washer and boom…it looks brand new! If you don’t have a power washer, a good rinse with a hose should get your outdoor rug looking good again. But if you have a power washer…you’ll be done in no time at all.
Freshen Outdoor Pillows
While we keep our outdoor furniture covered and outside during the winter months, I always store our outdoor pillows in our storage unit. I simply gather them all, place them in a trash bag, and then store them inside a planter.
When I got my outdoor pillows out of storage this year, they weren’t smelling their best. Let’s just say the damp storage unit was not kind to them. Eek.
There was no way I was going to get rid of my beloved pillows (I’m obsessed with all of the prints) just because they were smelling a little funky. So, I grabbed some Febreze ONE fabric and air mist and started spraying away.
I used the “Bamboo” scent on my outdoor pillows and it worked like a charm! I’m not usually one to use air or fabric fresheners because they are often so overpowering. But Febreze ONE fabric and air mist is a first-of-its-kind product with no aerosols, dyes, or heavy perfumes, and it gently and effectively eliminates odors in both the air and on fabrics. The last thing I want is for our patio to be looking good…and smelling not-so-good. Luckily, Febreze ONE worked so well and now our pillows have a nice fresh scent of Bamboo (although the Mandarin & Orchid scents are heavenly too, and I’ve been using them to spruce up the inside of our home!).
Swap Out Old Light Fixtures
Bridget recently installed new light fixtures on the outside of her house, and it made me realize that my outdoor lights were pretty bad (you can see the before pics in this post). So I hopped online, found these inexpensive farmhouse fixtures, and purchased 2 of them for our patio space.
They were easy to install and I absolutely love the black against the light siding on our building. It was a small and easy change, but it made a big difference out here. Consider swapping out a few light fixtures to prep your patio for the summertime.
Add Life with Plants
Flowers are a must for any outdoor space and we do our best to bring some life to our small urban oasis. By far my favorite way to display flowers is with our hanging flower boxes.
We’ve had these 36″ hanging boxes since we moved in and we buy a new liner every summer. I just use black zip ties to secure the boxes to our railings and it works like a charm. I then cut off the zip ties when it’s time to store them away for winter. It’s super easy!
For the past 3 summers, I’ve planted wave petunias and ivy in our flower baskets and they grow like crazy! Each year, I try to plant less and less because they just go wild out here. But somehow, I always plant too many and they grow, grow, grow! I think it’s because we get so much sun back here and they just love it.
I also added a few planters scattered throughout our deck.
I’ve got this black planter filled with a palm tree (Finn’s favorite), and then another planter filled with more wave petunias, and a taller one with vinca and salvia plants.
I feel like I have a brown thumb with my indoor plants, but luckily my outdoor plants do really well on our little balcony space.
Add Mood Lighting
The final step to prep your patio for summer? Mood lighting! Finn & I installed these outdoor string lights on our balcony railing the week we moved it, securing them with zip ties. 3 years later and they’re still going strong!
We leave them up year-round and not one bulb has shattered. I did have to replace 2 bulbs that burned out this year, but that’s it! They’ve lasted so well for us.
I have an outdoor extension cord and a timer, so they only go on for a few hours each night. I love the soft romantic glow of these bulbs. It makes the space so cozy and inviting when the sun goes down.
It did take some work and time to get this space looking (and smelling!) good, but it was well worth it. If you haven’t tried Febreze ONE yet, definitely give it a shot (especially if your outdoor pillows are smelly like mine were…eek!).
Now, I’m eager for a laid-back summer enjoying the warm nights out on this deck (with a cocktail in hand, of course!).
P.S. For a full source list of our patio space, you can check out this blog post.