CLEANING GREEN: Outdoor Planning

Outdoor Planning — Part 2

By Rosa Colucci


March 7, 2024

“In like a lion and out like a lamb…”

We are just three weeks away from the first day of Spring. And even if you didn’t do any advance patio planning there is still time to make your space the haven you always dreamed it should be. 

Now is the time to tackle seating arrangements, cooking inspiration, and what lovely plants you want to add to the mix. More planning, less spending, and a little elbow grease goes a long way.

Retailers are setting up their outdoor collections and as tempting as it is to just buy new, there are lots of great things to buy secondhand on Marketplace, second-hand stores, and even by asking your friends and neighbors if they have stuff they don’t want to use. 

Size, scale, and function are more important than color and comfort. Once you get the set-up done, it is very easy to replace cushions (Or paint them with fabric paint) and repaint furniture. It’s also a lot more economical and better for the planet. 

In my last article, I referred readers to retailers such as Ikea, especially if you are dealing with a small space or compact balcony. It’s also good to search Instagram and Pinterest for inspiration. 

One of the easiest ways to make a lot of different furniture pieces feel cohesive is to choose simple color — paint all of the seating the same color, choose a second color for umbrellas and side tables, and a third color for cushions and other accents. 

You can choose all shades of neutrals, pick a mid-mod theme of greens, yellows, and orangey-browns or choose a bang of color with blue furniture, red cushions, and accent pillows in a wide array of primary colors. 

When setting up outdoor lighting, choose eco-friendly solar lights. There are so many great ones for walkways, flower beds, deck rails, and steps. They will last for years and are portable to move with you — great for apartment living. String lights are great for ambience and give you a lot of bang for your buck.

When it comes to outdoor dishes, don’t overlook second-hand plates and silverware at a thrift store that will fit your design scheme. Make these your outdoor entertaining and don’t look back. They will hold the heartiest of barbecue and can go right in the dishwasher — because skipping disposables is always good for the planet.

Some things that will make your outdoor time more pleasant is citronella candles to repel mosquitos, food tents for meals, and plug-in units that emit ultrasound to keep little critters away.

Outdoor rooms are like indoor rooms, they take a little time to cultivate and decorate. Make it fun and don’t stress about having the perfect space. Summer is a time to enjoy friends, family, and the bounty of fresh gardens. Having a warm smile and big hug is the best outdoor accessory you can always have on the ready.

Tag us with your patio makeovers and summer fun at @pghearthday.


Rosa Colucci is a regular contributor for The Green Voice