Spruce up Your Outdoor Space for Spring

We asked designer Lauren Clement of Lauren Nicole Designs to share her best tips for creating the ideal patio and outdoor area.
Randy Foulds of D Randolph Foulds Photography
One of Clement's projects.

While we anxiously await the arrival of spring-like weather, visions of outdoor soirees are sure to infiltrate the mind. Spring is one of the best seasons for entertaining outdoors, but if your patio isn't primed for guests, you can say goodbye to that "party of the year" title you've been coveting.

There are quite a few things to keep in mind when either designing, decorating, or arranging your patio, and we got South Charlotte's Lauren Clement of Lauren Nicole Designs to give us the absolute musts of outdoor spaces. Ready to see how yours stacks up?


First ask yourself these questions:

What's the main function of your patio? "Most outdoor spaces require three things," Clement says, "a place to relax, a place to entertain, and a place to play."

Do you have enough privacy? To keep nosy neighbors out of your business, consider placing tall plants or a decorative room divider to create some sort of barrier between your houses. 

Will the sun be in your eyes? Think about where the morning, afternoon, and evening sun will be when mapping out your furniture positions. Depending on when you plan on utilizing your outdoor space the most, you might want to invest in an umbrella or awning to make guests more comfortable in direct-sun spots.

Are you using the right fabrics? Make sure you're using weather-resistant fabrics for your furniture. You might want to get furniture covers for harsh winter months.

Randy Foulds of D Randolph Foulds Photography

One of Clement's projects.


If your outdoor area is intended to entertain…

Designate the cooking area. Whether it's a small corner where the grill sits or an entire outdoor kitchen and bar, it's important that you actually have an area to whip up some garb.

Designate the eating area. What's a place to cook without a place to eat? Choose a bistro table for small spaces and a pub table or dining room table for larger areas.

Have enough seats. Making the environment comfortable includes having enough seating options. Benches and rocking chairs are nice additions.

Separate the play area. If you've got pets or kids (or you're just a kid at heart, no judgment), Clement says the key is to keep the "play area" a little further away from the entertaining space. Add a swing set or play place for young children, while leaving free grass available for teens to play sports and adults to play lawn games.


Outdoor style ideas that get the most bang for your buck

Decorate with a stubborn outdoor rug. Find an outdoor rug that's impervious to just about anything that comes its way. You can use this decor as both a focal point and an easy way to add a pop of color.

Use Sunbrella fabrics. Make sure that whatever furniture you use outside is made with outdoor fabrics that will be able to withstand the elements and therefore last longer. Clement says the one place not to skimp is on furniture because if you buy an inexpensive set, you'll end up paying more in long run replacing it all the time.

Choose double-duty accessories. Clement suggests items such as a chic lantern to hide a citronella candle, a well-placed garden stool that can act as an end table, and stylish but comfortable pillows to accent your patio furniture.

Plant the right flowers. A simple and natural way to infuse character into your patio is to pick flowers that bloom from spring through fall. It wouldn't make sense to have blooms out there during the months you're huddled inside by the fireplace.


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