Patio Essentials

The key to outdoor entertaining is to ensure your patio meets the needs of you and your guests. This article outlines the patio essentials that will make your backyard a summer hot spot.

Personalizing Your Patio

Entertaining outside is a great way to enjoy the warmth and fresh air of summer. With the right layout and furniture, you can easily create a patio for your home that's stylish, comfortable and functional. A good place to start is by deciding how you'll use your patio and to what extent you want the style of the patio to integrate with the interior of your home. There are so many designs options and accessories available today that your only limitation is your imagination.

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Patio Furniture

The key to getting the most out of your patio is equipping it with the right patio furniture. There are four main types of patio furniture: wood, metal, wicker and resin. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, which in large part relate to environmental factors like exposure to direct sunlight, wind, rain etc. Each patio area is unique, so you'll need to spend some time considering these factors before choosing your furniture. 

Wood Patio Furniture

Wood patio furniture has a natural look and helps create a comfortable, outdoorsy ambiance. Look for wood furniture built with zinc-plated or stainless steel screws, which will resist corrosion and allow you to tighten them if they become loose. Pressure-treated cedar will last for years, as will teak wood. Wood furniture is stylish but is not as durable against the elements as the metal or resin varieties. You should store wood furniture indoors over the winter if possible, or use at least use a protective cover. 

Metal Patio Furniture

Because of its durability, metal is one of the most popular materials used to make patio furniture. Metal furniture is also highly versatility in terms of look, design and comfort. Wrought iron patio furniture is curvy, ornate and holds up well to sunlight and heavy winds. Aluminum furniture is much lighter than wrought iron, making it a good choice if you’ll be moving it around the yard. Aluminum furniture also tends to be stackable for compact storage when not use.

Wicker Patio Furniture

Wicker furniture conveys a sense of elegance and will give your patio a warm and cozy feel. There are two types of wicker furniture: regular and all-weather. Regular wicker is typically made from rattan vine, cane or bamboo. With its natural-fibre construction, regular wicker looks great in outdoor patio settings. However, it's best suited to covered patios that offer protection from extended periods of rain and wetness. To clean regular wicker, remove any loose debris with a vacuum and wipe with a soft brush or damp cloth. All-weather wicker can be exposed to rain and moisture with no ill effects. This hardy patio furniture is made from twisted paper or synthetic fibres woven around a frame and coated with weather-resistant finishes. Because of its durable nature, cleaning is fast and easy. Simply pull out your garden hose and spray it down. 

Resin or Plastic Patio Furniture

Plastic furniture is a budget-friendly patio option. What it lacks in aesthetic appeal is more than made up for in durability, portability and ease of maintenance. Plastic furniture is lightweight, however, and can be blown around quite easily. If your patio is susceptible to gusting wind you may want to store it in a shed or garage when not in use.   

Outdoor Rugs

Rugs are a fantastic way to brighten up a patio and give it a homey feel. Look for materials like olefin that will withstand extended sun exposure and resist mold and mildew. Also, consider the layout of your patio when placing your rug. Look for places away from potential hazards like barbecues and fire pits. To size your rug properly, measure it three inches smaller in each direction than the available floor space.

Patio Heaters

Patio heaters help you extend your patio enjoyment into the cooler summer nights and beyond. Purchase a portable model if you might rearrange your patio furniture layout in the future. Wall- or ceiling-mounted models are great if floor space is limited, or if you have young children who could topple over a standing portable unit.

Patio Lighting

Installing lights on your patio is another way to get more enjoyment from your outdoor space. Start your patio lighting plan by drawing a diagram of your yard and patio. This will help you determine the lighting zones you wish to create and the types of lights you will need. Use stronger, brighter lights for cooking and work areas, and subtle lighting for seating areas and pathways. Wall-mounted lights provide light to a fixed area. Most of these light units can pivot in the base, allowing you to target specific areas such as your barbecue, dining table or seating area. Many wall-mounted lights come equipped with a motion sensor that will only turn on the light when something moves in front of the sensor. 
Garden lights are a great solution for creating a lit perimeter for your patio or to outline a path in your backyard. Many garden lights are solar powered and can be pre-programmed, charging up while the sun shines and automatically lighting when the sun goes down. If you only need extra lighting from time to time, like for reading or barbequing, consider a portable lamp or lantern. One portable lantern can be moved around, giving you light when and where you need it.

Mosquito & Insect Control

Mosquitoes and their various insect kin can quickly turn an enjoyable outdoor occasion into a disaster. Fortunately, there are effective mosquito repellents and insect control solutions available. Personal bug spray is one option, but if you're dealing with mosquitos and want to clear them out of your entire patio area, you could try burning mosquito coils or lighting electric bug lamps. Traps and sprays are also available to rid your patio of ants and wasps.

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Outdoor Fire Pit

Nothing says the outdoors like a campfire. You can enjoy the ambiance and warmth of a campfire in your back yard with a convenient, portable fire pit. Made of metal and raised off the ground, these handy units provide the benefits of a traditional fire pit with less mess and fuss. When using your fire pit, be sure to keep it away from buildings or enclosures. Also, before investing in a fire pit, you should check the local bylaws governing fire pits on your property.

Outdoor Fireplace

Outdoor fireplaces are similar to fire pits in that they create a warm ambiance, making your patio a more attractive and welcoming place. The difference is they're typically larger and provide the added safety feature of enclosing the flame on three sides. Make sure that children don’t touch the hot exterior of the fireplace, and ensure it's positioned at a safe distance from buildings or other structures.

Outdoor Cookers and Fryers

One of the best ways to prepare tender, delicious meals is to use an outdoor cooker or fryer. The hot oil instantly sears the outside of the meat to a beautiful golden brown, while trapping the tasty juices inside. Look for cookers and fryers with heat controls, so that you can adjust the temperature of the cooking oil. Never place your cooker or fryer on a wooden table or other structure as hot oil can burn wood quickly.

BBQs and Accessories

There is no better way to enjoy summer than with fresh summer foods cooked on a barbecue. When purchasing a barbecue, you need to know where it will go and how much space is available. This will dictate your fuel options and the size of the grill. Be sure to place your barbecue a safe distance from buildings and overhangs. Also, pay attention to the number of BTUs (British Thermal Units) the barbecue provides. The more BTUs, the hotter the grill potential and the more temperature control you’ll have.


A gazebo will give your patio an elegant look, while also providing shelter from the elements. There are many styles and shapes available: some are floorless, allowing you to use your lawn, yard surface or patio for the floor. Others have netting on the sides to keep out mosquitos and other pesky insects.  

Green Houses

The cost of owning a home greenhouse has fallen significantly in recent years. It's now much easier for you to extend your garden’s growing season and enjoy fresh, inexpensive vegetables year round. You should keep in mind that greenhouses require lots of sunlight, especially in the morning, so be sure to position your greenhouse accordingly. Once your new greenhouse is up and running, you'll quickly start reaping the benefits and never look back.

Patio Dining Sets

When choosing a patio dining set, you need to consider your family's needs. If you have small children, a durable plastic set could be your best option. If you entertain adults, you may prefer a more sophisticated model made from wicker or wrought iron. Also, be sure to consider your climate and how often your dining set will be exposed to the elements. Another factor to consider is ease of storage in the event you need to put the furniture away when it's not in use.

Patio Decor Tips:

Colour Scheme: Pick a colour scheme and stick with it for all your furniture and fixture purchases. White is a popular colour as it contrasts well with backyard greenery.
Accent Colours: Bright colours work great as accents. Use them sparingly and consider how they will work with other coloured elements in your backyard, such as your lawn, flower garden, bushes and trees.
Your Patio Is Another “Room”: Every home is different, but it often makes sense to approach designing your patio as if it were just another room in your house. Use complementary colours, styles and materials and consider the routes people will take as they move back and forth between house and patio.

Outdoor Entertaining Tips:

Don’t Be Too Elaborate: Outdoor dining is supposed to be rustic. Keep meals simple and enjoy the fresh flavours of simple summer foods, including salads, fresh fruit and cold drinks.
Consider Your Guest’s Comfort: Make sure that your chairs are comfortable enough for longer sitting spells. Provide cushions for metal patio chairs.
Keep Your Guests Cool: Consider where the sun and shade will be when entertaining. A patio table umbrella will protect your guests from extended sun exposure.
Set up Stations: If you have a large backyard area, set up separate stations to encourage your guest to walk around. Have drinks at one table, desserts at another and appetizers at third.
Watch Foods for Spoilage: Make sure to keep your dairy-based dips and sauces on ice and cool, so they don’t go bad in the summer heat.
Beware of Bugs and Food: Keep bugs away from your food by keeping it under wire mesh colanders or plastic wrap.
Mark Meats with Popsicle Sticks: For big parties, you may want to prepare large quantities of differently cooked meats. Use labelled popsicle sticks to tell your guests which burgers are rare, medium and well done.
Keep Your Guests Hydrated: Always make sure that your guests get enough water to stay cool and avoid heat exhaustion.
This article is intended as general information. Always be sure to read and follow the label(s)/instruction(s) that accompany your product(s). Walmart will not be responsible for any injury or damage caused by this activity.



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