5 Ways to Prep your Patio for Summer

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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.Small city patio with couch and coffee table

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

Make the most of your outdoor patio space with a couch, chairs, and coffee table

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 RugPower wash your outdoor rug to clean it well

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 PillowsOutdoor pillows with palm print and stripes

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. Febreze ONE eliminates odors on fabric like outdoor pillows

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. Febreze ONE fabric and air mist in the scent bamboo

I used the “Bamboo” scent on my outdoor pillows and it worked like a charm! Fabric and air mist by Febreze ONE in the scent bamboo

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.

 I spray my outdoor pillows with Febreze ONE to eliminate odors

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

A farmhouse light fixture updates the exterior of this home

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 (similar), and purchased 2 of them for our patio space. A small city balcony turned into an outdoor room

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

Flower boxes with growing ivy and wave petunias

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.

 These white wave petunias love this sunny balcony spot

We’ve had these 36″ hanging boxes (similar) 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!

Prep your patio for summer with plants and flower boxes

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.Add small planters to your deck with wave petunias

I also added a few planters scattered throughout our deck. A modern planter with a palm tree

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.

This planter holds pink salvia flowers

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

Add mood lighting to prep your patio for the summertime

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!These string lights are perfect for the summertime

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. String lights create ambiance and a cozy environment

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. String lights add a soft glow to this outdoor patio space

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.


The Year of Casey

Hey there!

I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m a Chicago gal teaching you how to design, DIY, and maintain your home…by yourself! Learn more about me right here.