With pandemic-related restrictions tightening all across the country, the May long weekend probably won’t look like it has in years past — but that doesn’t mean you have to forgo celebrating the onset of summer entirely.
Sure, we might not be able to invite all our friends and family over for a Victoria Day party, but with the right patio setup, we can still welcome in the warmer months with those in our household or bubble, with a beer or two in hand.
Below, we spoke to a handful of design and remodelling experts to get their insights on the best way to build a top-notch patio space in time for May Two-Four weekend. As it turns out, all you’ll need is a little creativity and just a smidge of elbow grease to turn your unused patio into a summertime oasis.
Give it a good deep clean to start
With winter gone, it’s time to deep clean your outdoor space and check for any damage. “Look for any mold that may have appeared during those cold months, check for loose or cracked railing and any rot around joists, posts and footing,” suggests Stefania Filizola, a home remodelling expert.
Wholesun 3000PSI Electric Pressure Washer ($195.99; amazon.ca)
After checking to ensure that your outdoor space is free of mold and other potential hazards, consider power washing the area to ensure the space is spotless for you and your family. The Wholesun 3000PSI Electric Pressure Washer is a top-rated, budget-friendly option that you can keep on hand for regular maintenance. You’d be surprised by how much better a patio can look after a quick pressure wash.
Bare Decor Interlocking Flooring Tiles ($138.51; amazon.ca)
“A quick and simple way to improve your deck instantly is replacing the existing boards,” says Filizola. Composite planks, like these interlocking tiles from Bare Decor, for example, are low-maintenance and will keep your deck looking fresh and updated. The best part is that they only cost about $15 per square foot.
Ready Seal Exterior Wood Stain and Sealer (starting at $206.36; amazon.ca)
The Canadian winter doesn’t exactly do your deck any favors — especially if yours is made of older wood. If you find your patio flooring is looking a little worse for wear, don’t worry: The easiest (and most impactful) way to breathe new life into your deck is by giving it a quick stain job using something like the Ready Seal Exterior Wood Stain. It’s fast and simple, but it’ll add years to your deck.
Amazon Basics Deep Seat Patio Seat and Back Cushion ($80.45, originally $86.82; amazon.ca)
Home decor expert Melanie Musson says that getting new cushions for your patio furniture will be one of the best ways to get more life out of worn or faded patio chairs (as long as they’re still sturdy). “You’ll instantly add a fresh look and feel to your furniture, and the new padding will probably be a lot more comfortable than your old cushions,” she says.
Add some aesthetically pleasing design elements
After you’ve taken the time to deep clean your patio’s bones and ensure it’s still in good structural shape after the winter, consider adding some aesthetically pleasing design elements. While they might seem frivolous or unnecessary, these pretty little additions will make your patio much cozier.
Fengson Large Plant Pots With Drainage Holes ($55.56; amazon.ca)
“Make your patio an oasis with flowerpots,” suggests Musson. “An eclectic mix of short and tall pots filled with vividly colored flowers and leaves brings life to your deck.” The Fengson Plant Pots are an excellent option for everything from succulents to potted flowers, thanks to the built-in drainage holes and extreme weather tolerance.
Unique Loom Indoor/Outdoor Flatweave Area Rug ($153.45; amazon.ca)
Whether you’re working with a condo-sized cement patio or a larger wooden deck, adding a simple weatherproof rug will instantly add warmth and coziness to your space. There are endless options depending on the vibe you’re aiming for — but an indoor-outdoor Turkish rug is going to be your best bet in terms of quality and weathering the elements.
Goplus Rattan Furniture Set ($549.99; amazon.ca)
“Think of your patio like another family room, the difference being the furniture needs to be durable enough to resist the elements,” says interior designer Robbie Maynard. “Incorporate a color scheme like blues, greens, coral and blush or a palette that ties in with your indoor scheme.” The Goplus Rattan Furniture Set is a great choice for a variety of patio spaces due to its modular approach and compact size.
Vivere Double Brazilian Fringe Hammock, Natural ($43.97; amazon.ca)
A hammock is a seriously underrated patio addition — especially if you’re planning on spending most of your summer at home. The Vivere Double Brazilian Fringe Hammock is surprisingly chic but also offers a very comfortable natural cotton interior that makes loafing around with a cold beer in hand even more comfy.
LampLust Outdoor Flameless Black Candle Lanterns ($68.97; amazon.ca)
You can’t go wrong with a little fire pit — but if you’re working with a small patio or a condo board that bans outdoor flames, consider going for a couple of elegant outdoor candles. These flameless candle lanterns are extremely elegant despite being artificial, and you can leave them on as the night wears on without worrying about fire hazards.
Brightown Store Outdoor String Lights With LED Shatterproof Bulbs ($49.99; amazon.ca)
Another smart way to add some ambience to your patio space is by stringing up a set of outdoor hanging lights. While you could opt for delicate fairy lights, a set of bold Edison bulbs will offer a much more contemporary vibe to your space.
Get ready to entertain
One great way to use your outdoor space during warmer months is as an area where you can entertain family and friends — even if it is on a smaller scale this year. Look to add creature comforts, ways to make hosting easier and more streamlined and any other little extras that will make guests feel at home.
AsterOutdoor Sun Shade Sail (starting at $37.58; amazon.ca)
Musson suggests adding a shade sail to give you a place to retreat out of the blazing sun. The AsterOutdoor shade sail comes in many sizes and colors so that you can coordinate the shade with your house and patio. It’s also waterproof, which gives you shelter from light summer rain.
Amazon Basics Commercial Outdoor Patio Heater ($190.67; amazon.ca)
According to Maynard, heat lamps and outdoor space heaters might be a good option to consider — especially if you plan on hosting into the evening. The Amazon Basics Commercial Outdoor Patio Heater is a smart, budget-friendly and compact option that will fit on even the smallest patios.
Weber Original Kettle 22-Inch Charcoal Grill ($159; amazon.ca)
“A freestanding grill can be a good option for any sized patio,” says Filizola. “You can also add a seating area within your existing patio or deck, alongside some counter space for meal prep.” Whether you’re looking for pure utility or you want something that can double as a grilling station for guests, the Weber Original Kettle Charcoal Grill is just big enough to work for both uses.
Keter Rattan Cool Bar ($144.28; amazon.ca)
There’s nothing worse than having to run back and forth from the kitchen to the patio every time one of your guests needs another drink. The Keter Rattan Cool Bar takes care of that, thanks to its deep 30-liter capacity cooler that doubles as a side table.
Simple Deluxe 18-Inch Wall Mount Fan ($99.99, originally $105.99; amazon.ca)
The Canadian summer might be short, but it’s still hot! This Simple Deluxe Wall Mount Fan is a smart option for larger patios, and will provide welcome air circulation for anyone who finds the midafternoon heat a little too much to handle. It easily clips onto any extra wall space without the need for an unsightly stand or professional installation.
Basein Bug Zapper ($69.99; amazon.ca)
We’re often so keen for summer to finally arrive that we forget about the annoying little friends that come along with the warmer months. This Basein Bug Zapper is extremely effective at getting rid of mosquitoes and black flies, making for a much more enjoyable outdoor experience.
NewAir AF-600 18-Inch Outdoor Misting Fan ($251.70; amazon.ca)
Who says your compact patio doesn’t have the space for a water feature? This NewAir Outdoor Misting Fan offers a very gentle misting sensation while cooling down the surrounding area. It might not be a sprinkler or a Slip ‘N Slide, but it’s just as refreshing!
Outsunny 33-Inch Outdoor Square Fire Pit ($194.99; amazon.ca)
For those chillier nights, Filizola suggests adding a fire pit to your patio. There’s a wide range of options, from DIY to more complex ones that require installation, but the Outsunny Outdoor Square Fire Pit is a great option for smaller spaces.
Coleman SaluSpa Inflatable Hot Tub ($1,247.44; amazon.ca)
“Another popular choice that will ensure a lot of outdoor fun is adding a hot tub,” says Filizola. “Just make sure to consider the space you have in your patio or deck when choosing the tub.” The Coleman SaluSpa Inflatable Hot Tub is an economical choice that will provide just as much enjoyment as a more expensive wooden tub.