CLEANING GREEN: Outdoor Planning

Get a Jump on Your Outdoor Space!

By Rosa Colucci


February 14, 2024

The windows are still frosty in the morning and your winter coats are still on the hooks. But we we are just six weeks away from the first day of spring!

Just like gardeners plan their gardens with seed catalogs (thank you, Doug Oster) — now is the time to think about your outdoor space and how you need it to function. Advance planning will also keep the need for impulse purchases at bay when the weather breaks and we all want to be outside.

First, think about what you need from your outdoor space. Make a list. Do you want to cook outside or just entertain? Who comes to visit? Do you need space from children, adults, or a great hangout for your friends after work?

Once you have the list of needs, think about your current set-up (If you have one) and make notes about:

  1. What is and is not working about the space. (Do you need more seating? Is it hard to feed people? Are you always running inside for drinks, ice, etc.?)
  2. What would you like to have and why? It is great that you can see outdoor living rooms with big sectionals but be realistic — if it is not going to fit, maybe you opt for more singular chairs that can me moved or stacked for flexibility, along with small outdoor folding tables that can be used for side tables with a crowd or hold a few plants.
  3. Also, make a note of what you really don’t want and plan to sell it on Marketplace or give it to a friend.

Now it’s time to plan. Head online and get some inspiration. I like to check out (search “Outdoor” and see the room sets). Furniture, planters, and even outdoor decking is featured. There’s also an “As Seen On Instagram” feature that shows all kind of inspirational spaces others put together with Ikea Product. If you have a small juggernaut of a space, this is where small decor rules!

Measure your space, make a simple sketch of what you want where, and, decide on a color scheme. This is super important. You can take a lot of disparate pieces and make the entire space cohesive by some simple DIY painting.

In Part Two we will cover how to save money on patio cushions, furniture, and more while planning your best outdoor space yet.


Rosa Colucci is a regular contributor for The Green Voice