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Quick and easy updates for your garden patio

After what seems like an eternity of shovelling snow, staring outside at depressing grey skies and cursing the television meteorologist for his forecast of yet another 25 centimetres of snow, it's no wonder that Canadians anxiously await the arrival of spring.

And once warmer weather does finally make its return, it is also no wonder that Canadians tend to make the most of it by spending a great deal of time outside during the spring and summer months, oftentimes right on their own backyard patio. Whether entertaining friends, enjoying quality time with your children or just relaxing with a good book, an appropriately arranged garden patio can have all the benefits of a living space in the fresh outdoors.

If your garden patio is in need of some quick updates, we've gathered seven easy and affordable solutions that you'll be able to tackle before the warm weather gets into full swing.

Add some colour

Give your outdoor space some new life by adding colourful water-resistant throw pillows to your furniture and an outdoor rug. These additions also help to really make your outdoor space feel like an extension of your house.

Light it up

Just like it adds to a room inside your home, accent lighting can enhance the character of a drab and boring outdoor space. Who doesn't love sitting outside long after the sun has set during warm summer evenings? So, why not add to the experience with some LED or solar lights around your patio and garden.

Clean up

Your patio's surface takes a beating during the winter months, particularly if it tends to be a spot where snow gets piled up. For paver stones, give the surface a cleaning with a high pressure hose and follow that with a cleaning solution suitable for your type of pavers. For wood surfaces, apply a deck cleaning product according to the package directions, followed by a sealant. (Keep in mind that pressure washers can damage the surface of a wood patio.)

Bring the garden to the patio

Integrate your garden and patio spaces to create a cohesive backyard by adding some potted annuals to bare areas around your patio - if you can find some decorative pots that coordinate with your selected accent colour(s) for the throw pillows and rug, even better! Use variety to keep the space interesting with potted flowers (such as petunias, geraniums, begonias, and impatiens), herbs (also very handy to have nearby for outdoor grilling) and succulents (these make for a stunning outdoor table centrepiece). If you don't have room for a vegetable garden, use your patio; many vegetables - when properly cared for - can thrive in container gardens, including tomatoes, peppers, lettuce and eggplant.

Revamp your furniture

If your patio furniture still has a lot of years of use left, but could use a little TLC, pick up some spray paint to give it an updated look. Stop by your local home improvement store where you'll find a variety of spay paints available for just about any outdoor surface. With a little patience, this weekend project will save you from spending thousands of dollars on new furniture and could greatly transform your outdoor space if you choose to go with a new colour.

Heighten your privacy

Privacy screens are virtually an essential component of urban backyard patios and while wooden privacy screens are practical they are also often dull and unattractive. Get creative and utilize this area by training a vine to grow up some lattice or a trellis, which once grown will provide ample privacy. Look for vines that grow quickly and provide full coverage, such as morning glory, honeysuckle or clematis.

Add some warmth

Want to bring the best part of camping right to your backyard? A fire pit (or fire bowl, fireplace, chiminea) can transform your patio into a cosy space you'll never want to leave. Before purchasing one, however, check with your municipality regarding regulations in your area pertaining to outdoor wood burning devices.

By Erin Kelly

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