A patio is your own personal outdoor oasis at home. You might go out there to barbecue a meal, even enjoy eating it outside. Maybe you want to relax in an Adirondack chair to catch up on a good book while enjoying a hot cup of coffee in the morning or refreshing iced tea in the afternoon. A conversational set might be your go-to spot for a mid-day siesta, or a lounge chair is where you love to lie back and soak up the sun. Playing with the kids outside is also a fun pastime. However and whenever you use your patio, giving the outdoor space a nice makeover can make it even more inviting, relaxing, and feel like “home.”
You don’t have to spend a fortune either to turn your patio into a luxurious outdoor space. All it takes is comfortable patio furniture, good lighting, elegant décor, and do-it-yourself (DIY) touches and you’ll have your own dream patio and backyard in no time.
Patio Makeover Buying Guide Quick Reference Handout
In this guide, we’ll walk you through all the elements to consider for a patio makeover. This includes furniture, entertainment and play, cooking, décor, and heating. We also extend to the green space of your backyard beyond the patio to provide tips on how to make the most of that space, too.
Table of Contents
Patio furniture frames the space
When you’re getting outdoor patio furniture, you need to consider a number of factors. This includes the size of your space, how you want to use it, the weather where you live and your storage options for the off-season, and more. We outline everything you need to know when searching for patio furniture in our outdoor furniture buying guide. But here’s a synopsis of the types to consider when doing a makeover.
1. Conversational sets and sectionals
Conversational sets are effectively couches for the outdoors, and can range from small two-seater loveseats to larger, L-shaped sectionals. They are made of outdoor-friendly material like wicker or resin and come with seating cushions. Enhance the experience with a couple of throw pillows and you have yourself the perfect space to enjoy drinks with friends, watch the kids while they play in the treehouse, or put your feet up with a laptop to turn work from home from the backyard.
2. Dining sets
Outdoor dining sets are just like dining sets for indoors with a few important changes. First, the table and chairs are made of outdoor-friendly material that can withstand the elements. Many dining set tables also have a hole in the middle for threading a patio umbrella for shade. You can find small tables for two or larger sets to accommodate up to eight or more people for a full meal. If you love having bacon and eggs on Sunday mornings, why not break out the outdoor grill, cook up a storm, and enjoy time with the family in the sun. If you entertain a lot, an outdoor dining set lets you extend the party to the backyard when the weather is in favour.
3. Patio chairs
You can place patio chairs around the patio, with a table, or anywhere you like to provide seating for guests. If you like to move around and follow the sun (or shade), having a simple patio chair makes this possible. These can also come in handy as extras when you are entertaining large groups. There are many types of patio chairs to consider as well, from Adirondack chairs if you simply want to sit back and chat or watch the world go by, to lounge chairs, perfect for by a pool or for sunbathing.
4. Patio tables
You’ll always be able to find use for small patio tables. You can use these, for example, to display outdoor décor items, like potted plants, lanterns, and more. Or simply as a spot to put your drink down or pull up to play a board game or game of cards. It might even be used if you want to bring your laptop outside to get some work done in the sun.
5. Patio umbrellas
A patio umbrella is essential if you want to enjoy the backyard during the high sun times but aren’t looking to get a tan. A patio umbrella over a dining table or an offset one positioned over a sectional will make the experience more pleasurable and keep you cool and comfortable.
Family entertainment for video and audio
The more there is to do outside, the more likely you are to spend time there. A perfect high-tech way to makeover the patio is to consider adding outdoor audio and video to the mix. But doing so requires specific gear.
1. Outdoor TVs
Having a TV outside, especially during the summer months, can be a game-changer. But it’s important not to buy any old TV and mount it on the patio. You need to get a specially rated outdoor TV. These are designed to withstand the elements with a fully enclosed chassis, port covers, and the ability to be viewed in direct sunlight. You can neatly mount one to the wall of a patio, running the wires to a power source and inside, with a bit of DIY work. If you don’t connect it to a source inside, you can always plug in a streaming stick; some come with built-in smart TV features so you can log into your favourite accounts to watch. You will, however, need to ensure the Wi-Fi reaches outside.
You can solve wireless connectivity issues by adding a Wi-Fi extender outside, wirelessly connected to your router. Whether you want to watch the big game with friends outside, let the kids have weekend lunch out back while watching cartoons, or curl up to your guilty pleasure reality show at night, an outdoor TV will change the way you view, and use, your patio.
2. Outdoor speakers
Complementing the TV are outdoor speakers, which you can connect to the TV for enhanced audio, or simply place on the deck when you want to listen to music. Once again, look at outdoor, weather-rated speakers that you can leave outside all year ‘round, or at least not have to worry about should there be an unexpected rainstorm or intense humidity. For the patio, set up an outdoor-rated wireless Bluetooth speaker in each corner so you can get a fully enveloping sound. If you want to use wired speakers for a more permanent and reliable set-up that doesn’t require Wi-Fi, you might want to seek assistance from a professional.
You can keep the music going beyond the patio as well with additional options like rock speakers that can be hidden away among the bushes and flowers in the garden. Friends and neighbours will be mesmerized when they hear the music so crisply and clearly yet have no idea where it’s coming from.
3. Outdoor projectors and screens
Go one step further and turn your patio into a full-on outdoor movie theatre. It’s much simpler to accomplish than you might think. All you need is a portable outdoor protector and a flat surface to mount a white sheet. For a more professional looking set-up, consider a projector screen that you can mount to a fence or the side of the house, or one that comes with its own stand so you can even place it out in the garden. Set it up at the perfect height (an extra patio table can come in handy for supporting the projector), set up seating (like those extra patio chairs) and queue up a movie.
You can find a portable projector with built-in access to popular streaming services (it will need to connect to the Internet), or ones that you can plug a streaming stick into. Others even have SD or USB card slots so you can save a movie to the drive and play it right from there. Make sure to set everything up before it gets dark and prep the movie for right when the sun comes down. Don’t forget the snacks!
Outdoor cooking is a must
Ask any Canadian and they’ll tell you, no matter which part of Canada they live in, that every season is barbecue season. It’s not uncommon to see someone outside in the middle of a winter storm with a toque and parka cooking up steaks on the grill. Outdoor cooking is fun for any time of the year, and with the right equipment, you can completely makeover your patio.
Update your patio with a new barbecue that fits the space nicely. This might be a larger sized barbecue than you currently own (to accommodate the growing summer parties and gatherings), or something higher tech. Make sure the barbecue is positioned a safe distance away from the house and resides on a flat surface. Keep in mind that smoke will blow from the barbecue while cooking, so you’ll want to consider where you place it relative to the seating area. Keeping it farther away but still in conversation distance is perfect.
You can up your game this year with a smoker that is sure to impress neighbours, family members, and friends when you present your delicious smoked brisket, ribs, wings, or smoked chicken or ham. You can do so much more in a smoker, cooking low and slow with charcoal briquettes or lumps. It’ll add a smoky flavour to your dishes and have the neighbours enjoying the wafts of the cook throughout the day.
There are stylish looking smokers worth considering that are not only useful cooking appliances but serve as showpieces as well. Make sure, once again, you have the space for it and can position it somewhere away from the seating area. If you have the room, set up a storage bin nearby to house bags of charcoal for easy access.
3. Outdoor grill
A great addition to a patio when it comes to cooking is an outdoor grill, which can be used for things like eggs, bacon, and grilled cheese in the morning. If the weather is nice, you’ll want to spend more time outside. And having Sunday family breakfast on the patio is a great way to start the day. The benefit in having one of these is that you can also have burgers cooking for lunch on the barbecue while grilling bacon on the outdoor grill, with ample room on both to cook for the family, and then some. They’re also good for overflow cooking if you can’t fit everything you need on the barbecue.
4. Pizza oven
The latest trend for outdoor cooking nowadays is pizza ovens, which can help reduce the money you spend on take-out pizza. Instead of ordering in every Friday, whip up some dough (you can also buy pre-made dough for your local grocery store), add the sauce, cheese, and preferred toppings, and pop it into the pizza oven. Within minutes, you’ll have a delicious, piping hot, perfectly crisp pie. It’s a great way to personalize dinner for everyone in the family (some love pineapples on pizza while others swear it’s just wrong). A pizza oven also adds a touch of modernization to the patio beyond the standard barbecue.
5. Outdoor cooler
An outdoor cooler is not only a nice way to complete the look of your outdoor pseudo-kitchen, it serves a practical purpose, too. Fill it with ice and keep drinks cold for hours while you enjoy outdoor time with the family or entertaining others. One on wheels that can easily be moved around allows you to set it up as needed, depending on the event. Ones with separate sides also make it easy to separate alcoholic beverages, like bottles of beer, from non-alcoholic, like juice and water bottles. You can find ones in cool colours as well, to match the patio colour scheme.
Outdoor ambiance and décor
A patio makeover isn’t a patio makeover without adding some ambiance and décor to spruce up the space. This will come in the form of things like smart lighting, potted plants, and more.
1. Lighting ideas
When it comes to outdoor lighting, go with smart outdoor lighting you can control from a smartphone app. You can set timers so the lights spring on as soon as the sun sets, and even choose among different colours to fit the event. Once it gets dark outside, the party doesn’t have to end.
Set up lighting around the exterior of the home to illuminate the entire space, which will take some installation know-how. You can also get outdoor lanterns and swap in smart bulbs.
Pathway lighting will be useful so guests and the family can comfortably walk up and down stairs and landings without worrying about tripping in the dark. You can set up pathway lighting around the perimeter of the patio to keep it well-lit on all sides as well.
Another option is to go solar versus smart. Solar lights don’t need to be plugged in or powered by batteries: they remain on as long as they gain enough power from the sun during the day. They might not be as bright but it’s a good option to ensure there’s always some lighting outside without increasing your electricity bill.
Worth considering are patio umbrellas with built-in lights on the underside, perfect for outdoor dining, cocktails, and outdoor board and card games at the dining table.
2. Shades and awnings
Installing an awning not only looks cool but provides much needed shade during peak sun hours. A retractable awning is great since you can pull it back once the sun goes down or moves to a different location and pull it out as needed. This will make the patio comfortable to lounge on any time of the day.
3. Potted plants and stands
A few potted plants to complement the garden area beyond the patio can really give the spacer a homier look and feel. Consider even setting up pots with herbs you can use for cooking and drinks, like fresh mint for Mojitos or fresh basil for the homemade pizza you make in the pizza oven. This has the dual purpose of looking gorgeous and being useful; plus it’ll add a wonderful aroma to the patio.
Go all year with outdoor heating
The reality of living in Canada is that the four seasons are sometimes not quite so distinct. You can get cold nights, even during the summer months. Having outdoor heating also means you can extend the use of your patio beyond the warmer months into spring and fall. But beyond the practical uses, some outdoor heating appliances add elegance to the patio.
1. Patio heaters and fireplaces
A patio heater or fireplace provides both warmth and coziness. Using propane, it’s easy to keep them powered up as needed by simply flicking a switch: you don’t need to worry about real fire, which might not be permitted in your residential neighbourhood.
Set it up close enough to the seating area or off to the side as a spot where people can stand underneath or close by and warm up.
2. Fire tables and fire pits
Fire tables and fire pits are great for sitting around with drinks and chatting, but many of them can also be used to cook things like hot dogs and Smores using sticks. These also provide the advantage of lighting at night, and usually have a border around the fire in the middle you can use to place drinks.
Summertime is all about fun, and while sitting around eating, chatting, watching TV, and listening to music is well and good, sometimes, we want to get active, too. And other times, we want to throw on our bathing suits and soak up the sun while wading in water.
1. Hot tubs
A hot tub is a dream addition to a patio for many. If you have the space, a small one will be eprfect for those evenings or days when you want to soak and sip under the sun or moon. Hot tubs aren’t just for romantic evenings: you can enjoy them with the whole family, a group of girlfriends, or even buds while watching the game on the outdoor TV that’s within view. They do require some maintenance, so keep that in mind. But once you educate yourself on everything you need to know, a hot tub will make your patio the talk of the neighbourhood.
Perfect if you have a pool as well, a sauna is a great spot to relax and dry off while also de-stressing from a busy day. Along with being good for your skin, a sauna is a unique addition to the patio that can be a private area to chat as well. Let the kids play on the swing set while the parents relax in the sauna for a quick 10-minute rejuvenation session.
Investing in a swimming pool is a big deal, especially if you’re going to have it installed. But you can test the waters (literally) or opt for a less involved set-up with an above-ground pool. Find the perfect spot on your patio with seating surrounding it, set up the pool, and enjoy during the months that you can. Like hot tubs, a pool requires a lot of maintenance. But being able to go for a quick, midday swim in your own backyard whenever you please, or having your child entertain friends (with supervision) on the weekends will be worth every penny.
4. Outdoor play
There’s no need to spend tons of money going to amusement parks and events every weekend. Make use of your own backyard from time to time with simple outdoor play. From cornhole games to soccer nets and a ball, ninja courses set up around trees, swing sets, and more, there’s plenty of ways you can use the patio for outdoor play.
For the patio specifically, look at outdoor play like sandboxes for toddlers and young children, portable outdoor playhouses/tents, and even ride-on cars if you have a big, open space for the kids to roam.
Makeover your green space
The patio is the space in your backyard with a wooden structure like a deck, stones, or pavement. But your backyard will likely consist of plenty of green space, too, that shouldn’t be disregarded during the makeover.
1. Lawn and garden
You can set up lawn and garden items like a pair of Adirondack chairs, a picnic table, a kiddie pool, a gazebo, and other items on the lawn to extend the patio further than just the defined space. This might come in handy if parents want to sit closer to younger kids while they play, for example, if you want to take in some sun exactly where it’s hitting, or conversely, want to be able to sit in the shade and rub your toes between the grass.
2. Hanging chairs, hammocks, swings
Go a step further with hanging chairs, hammocks, or swings that will turn the green space of your backyard into a relaxing oasis. Sit and enjoy a good book, a cup of coffee, a chat with a friend, an afternoon siesta, or just some quiet time while you decompress. It’s a simple addition to a backyard but can become your go-to spot for “me time.”
3. Pots, planter boxes, and garden beds
Enhance your garden with pots, planter boxes, and garden beds to add more luscious greenery to the space. Just like a vase of flowers or potted plant can enhance the look of your home inside, it can do the same outside. Find some in-season flowers, plant them, and set the pots up on the grass around the patio for a gorgeous look.
A long garden bed is a great way to divide up the space in a backyard while showing off your green thumb. Use it for flowers, plants, or even herbs and spices for cooking.
4. Privacy screens
You might love your neighbours, but sometimes, you just want privacy. A privacy screen is great for positioning in an open backyard where you might not have a fence but want privacy from prying eyes. They’re also great for around a pool or hot tub so people can dry off or even change out of their wet clothes in privacy. There are stylish privacy screens that can also be used to provide some shade from a setting sun while adding a sense of class and elegance to the patio or lawn space.
4 tips before you begin your patio makeover
Now that you know all the options to consider for a patio makeover, you’ll want to consider a few tips before deciding on what to get.
1. Don’t overcrowd the space
You want the space to be nice and open, without too many furniture and décor items. There should always be a clear path for people to walk. Less is sometimes more, but choosing the right items is what will make your patio stunning.
2. Choose a favourable colour scheme
You can be playful for the outdoors, featuring contrasting patterns and complementary colours. But try to have a unified look throughout the space. This might include bright pastel-like colours, blues and greens, or autumn browns, beiges, and oranges. Try to steer clear of whites, which will get dirty very easily outdoors. Black, meanwhile, for things like seat cushions or shaded items might add more heat, so if you live somewhere that can get hot and humid, you might want to consider lighter hues.
3. Measure, measure, measure
Before investing in anything from a conversational set to a dining table, pool to a hot tub, or even a barbecue, make sure you measure the space. Visualize where each item will go and how it will fit. Painter’s tape is a good tool to lay down for furniture so you can see how long, deep, and even tall it will be. The same can be used for a TV you might want to mount on the side of the deck so you choose the proper size.
4. Plan proper storage and care
Finally, if you live somewhere in Canada with frigid winters or where there’s a lot of rain, you’ll want to ensure all your patio furniture, décor, and other items can be sufficiently protected in the off-season or during inclement weather. You can use your garage or, if you don’t have one (or it’s full of other items!) invest in a shed or a deck box for storing things like couch cushions, patio umbrellas, folding chairs, and more.
For other furniture, tarps or fitted covers are ideal for protecting the items outdoors all year long. Outdoor TVs usually have optional fitted covers that are worth investing in to protect them from the elements when they aren’t in use. The same goes for pools and hot tubs. A protective cover adds to the overall cost, but it will literally protect your investment in the long run.
Take the next step
Ready for a patio makeover? Check out lots of patio furniture, décor, and other outdoor living items at Best Buy Online.