A More Perfect Patio this Summer….

by Betty on June 2, 2010

Deck yourself out with these summer ideas from Betty’s June Column for Cville Weekly’s Abode Magazine

There’s nothing better than a relaxing summer evening with friends on the patio enjoying great music and great food. This month, Betty reveals eco-friendly ways to make your deck the in place to party outside.

Invite nature-lovers—like butterflies and birds—to your patio party with strategically planted butterfly bushes and bee balm. Find drought-resistant plants grown locally at the farmer’s market or area nurseries. Recycled glass bird-feeders are decorative and eco-minded, or make your own using a cardboard milk carton covered with a collage of old magazines and newspapers.

Lighting sets the mood. I like to get creative with candles: Mason jars filled with soy candles surrounding the edge of your patio offer a natural glow. Solar-powered lights create enchanting illuminated pathways. Energy-efficient options would be outdoor LED or motion sensor lights.

Of course your guests need comfy places to sit, so how about upcycling a great yard sale find (an old wicker chair or paint-peeling patio set) into a patio treasure with a quick new spray low-VOC paint job? Or you could splurge on a pair of Adirondack chairs made of recycled milk jugs, available at the Blue Ridge Eco Shop in a variety of joyful colors ($275; see p. 10).
If you have a wooden deck, a soy-based, zero-VOC deck stain (Velvet CDF, for example) seals the wood for 10 years’ worth of outdoor fun.

Finally, to avoid pesky mosquitoes, spray your patio area with a natural and locally made insect repellent: St. Gabriel’s, which lasts four weeks. Scented citronella candles are another good solution.


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