Deck out your Summit County patio
September 4, 2015
Nothing compares to cracking open a good summer read or sipping a refreshing cocktail spritz amidst the freshness of an open-air patio. If the space is done right, it's equipped with a warm ambiance and welcoming furniture to help extend the leisure experience beyond the walls of a home.
"We've been seeing trends in the patio furniture market focus on 'bringing the inside out,' or making your living space an extension of your home," said Lindsay Lewark, manager for Christy Sports in Dillon. "Summer in the mountains is an ideal time to spend as much time outdoors as possible, and creating an outdoor room is a great way to embrace the season."
Make the space
Before you buy outdoor furniture, think about the type of outdoor space you are looking to create. How do you envision the experience?
Perhaps dining outside is the desire — to enjoy evening sessions swirling rosé amidst colorful summer sunsets. A deep seating area can be inviting for lounge sessions in comfy chairs, love seats or sofas, depending on how much seating is needed.
"Think about buying pieces that are functional, provide additional seating and are comfortable," said Heidi Jarski, co-owner of Mountain Comfort furnishings and design store in Frisco.
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Take note of the allotted space, and determine if meticulous arranging is necessary or if spreading out is an option.
"We recommend at least a dining set with chairs, or benches, and a couple of lounge chairs or a complete living room setting with a sofa and a couple of chairs," added Jarski.
Accessorize outside to make the space your own. Add rugs to create a focal point for a space and to bring in preferred colors and patterns. Rugs can also soften outdoor areas and separate dining spaces from lounge areas. Add an attached or free-standing umbrella for extra shade, dimension and even extra lighting if you choose an umbrella with built-in twinkle lights.
Weather-resistant throw pillows can add contrast or match styles and add that extra pop of plush to dense or durable outdoor furniture. Any hard lines of a patio or deck can be covered with plants, which also add color and texture to any space. Hang them, put them in planters or weave them into a trellis.
"Don't forget about fire pits and outdoor heaters, as they help extend our patio season up here in the mountains," Lewark said.
For more illumination and ambiance, add tiki torches, string lighting or radiant heaters to the scene.
Think "wicker," and it might evoke summertime porch nostalgia, but long-term durability doesn't necessarily come to mind. Synthetic wicker furniture is typically referred to as "woven" or "all-weather wicker," and Lewark said it is the fastest growing trend in the high-quality outdoor furniture industry.
Top companies, she said, are creating synthetic materials which deliver the same "elegant style" without any of the durability concern associated with natural wicker. The materials also do not retain heat, so your skin won't singe when you take a seat, and the materials also include UV inhibitors, which discourage fading.
"Unlike a lot of other textiles, woven furniture can be created into a variety of transitional styles," Lewark explained. "From the classic southern-inspired front porch swing, to a Caribbean-styled sofa or even a modern sectional — woven furniture can truly fit any style."
Jarsk said Mountain Comfort likes to carry brands like O.W. Lee, Old Hickory and smaller artisan companies with unique designs.
"Some popular styles we're seeing are a mix in materials and textures," Jarski said. "We're seeing more upholstered tailoring in the seating. Some of the new seating looks like sofas and chairs that look like indoor seating."
Because the furniture will be living outside, at least for the season, consider the amount of maintenance you are willing to put into it. If you are looking for durability and longevity, buy furniture made from materials that reflect that intention. Avoid lightweight chairs or unattached cushions that will easily get swept away when storms blow through.
"Some materials — cast aluminum or wrought iron — require little to no maintenance," Lewark said, "while other may require a little more elbow grease to keep them looking at their finest."
Jars suggested mixing materials, like porcelain or concrete tabletops and reclaimed oak barrel furniture and wood stumps to add texture and rustic flair.
Keep outdoor furniture nice with diligent maintenance. Use covers; remove the cushions; reapply the proper oils to wood furniture; store the investments in the winter.
"With the proper maintenance and care," Jarski said, "many sets can last up to 20 years, even in this climate."
This story was originally published in Summit County Home magazine. Pick up a copy at the Summit Daily office, 331 W. Main St. in Frisco.
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