Setting Up Your Summer Space for Success

The best outdoor accessories and decor for summer gatherings that will last all season long.

There is nothing better than gathering friends and family around the patio for a summer celebration. Whether it’s a graduation, nuptials, birthdays or just a way to enjoy the sun, why entertain indoors when you can be outside?

Outdoor decor and accessories can be used to set the tone and atmosphere for outdoor gatherings. From permanent seasonal pieces to particular themed celebration choices, there is an endless variety of options. That’s why ESTAENVY asked the pros at Chalet Nursery for their top recommendations for the season’s best accessories.

Deck Design

Upon deciding that you want to have a home that’s equipped to entertain, it’s vital to have a space that is conducive to that. If you have a large family, a spacious deck with room for plenty of seating is important. For a young couple planning to entertain close friends, a smaller space may be best.

“Your most important functional piece is going to be the gathering space itself. A well-designed patio or deck is going to provide a designated and attractive area for socializing. It is important to think about the size of the groups you are expecting to entertain,” registered landscape architect Eric Braun said. “This is crucial for designing an adequately sized outdoor space. From there, the gathering space itself can be embellished.”

Ornamental Pots

Colorful pieces are a great way to spruce up an outdoor space prior to a gathering, and can even remain outside for the full season. The key is to use a variety of sizes and also vary the placement—arranging them throughout your space can allow it to feel roomier, while smaller pots can be used as a vibrant decoration on the surface.

“Ornamental pots create splashes of color and movement in outdoor gathering spaces. They make a gathering space experience more interesting to the user,” Braun said. “Smaller pieces can be used as eye-catching centerpieces on dining tables. Larger or rectangular pots can also be used to frame gathering spaces in a visually-pleasing way.”

Bistro Lighting

When asked what the most popular outdoor accessory has been as of late, the answer was easy. “I would have to say illumination; faux outdoor candles, string lights and hanging lanterns. Anything to give the space a festive party atmosphere,” said John Hoerst, merchandising manager and buyer for Chalet Nursery.

Lighting up an outdoor space helps to bring life to it, and is a great way to transition an afternoon party into an evening one. They have become quite the trend piece in recent years, and are even a way to add festivity to a celebration - especially with varying colors.

“Stringing bistro lights has become popular as a way to softly light up outdoor gathering spaces in a fun and attractive way without the expense of permanent fixtures. They can be installed overhead or around the outdoor space,” Braun said. “They can also be easily put up and taken down as needed for parties, and have a welcoming feel that calls guests out to an outdoor patio or deck.”

Mosquito Masking

Bothersome pests can put a damper on even the most fun outdoor gathering. With summer coinciding with the kickoff of mosquito season in many areas, it is inevitable that they will try and join in on any party. Preparing to manage mosquitoes ahead of the gathering is key. Chalet Nursery makes sure to help customers prepare, and has a few recommendations.

“We sell a granular product that can be applied to your garden before the party to keep them at bay. We also have a mosquito abatement program available from our landscape services,” Hoerst said. “In our retail store, we offer a wide array of decorative candles, Incense sticks and a new natural product that you apply to your skin that smells nice for a party or outdoor affair.”

Function First

An outdoor space can be a big investment, so allocating funds towards things that not only work for parties, but across all seasons, is important, too. This way, you are getting a lot of use out your outdoor living accessories and the best bang for your buck. The experts at Chalet say pieces like collapsible solar lighting provide both function and a pleasing design.

“We recommend Luci Solar lights. They can collapse so you can store them or take them anywhere you go. They charge by light-no electric or candle needed. They are fun, festive and functional,” Hoerst said.