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Hot weather is best enjoyed with friends and outside—but if your patio looks drab and uninviting, convincing friends to come over for brats and brews and cornhole can be a challenge. Sweeping up the leaves and power-washing the dirty concrete is the first step to sweet outdoor success. But a complete transformation requires a little more effort. Turn your patio and backyard into a party-friendly paradise with just a few choice buys, like a funky, colorful rug. Or, get your DIY gears grinding and embark on a bigger renovation—with major payoff.
Even in the smallest yards, you can create space for quiet conversation, simplify your grilling process, and make margarita refills a breeze. These 11 ideas will turn your next barbecue into a banger.Continue to 2 of 12 below.
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Section It Out
The best patios require a ton of seating—but fitting seats into a cramped area can be a Tetris-master-worthy challenge. A sectional can be the perfect compromise for many outdoor areas: they're large enough for four or five, but they're cleverly arranged to preserve space. A single sectional turns Pretty in the Pines's small deck into a luxurious conversation pit.Continue to 3 of 12 below.
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Obviously, a grill is required for top-notch barbecues. But pulling the grill out of the garage, setting it up, and then doing the whole thing over again at the end of the night... well, it can be a pain. Instead, build a home base for your grill so it never has to move. Place of My Taste constructed a custom frame for their grill and completed the look with a marble countertop worthy of any indoor kitchen.Continue to 4 of 12 below.
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Consider Alternative Materials
Hauling in pallets of wood isn't the only way to craft a can't-forget entertaining space. Wood patio decks may loom large in our collective imagination, but there are so many more materials to play with. City Farmhouse filled part of their yard with pea gravel—an ingenious solution to the no-deck problem. Plus, the pale pebbles give the space a beach-y vibe, perfect for your next coastal-style soiree.Continue to 5 of 12 below.
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Play With Color
Don't let your porch sink into uniformity by choosing samey gray or brown materials. Just like your indoor decor, building a killer outdoor haven requires a deft hand with color. (And no, you shouldn't let your super-bold clematis do all the color work for you.) Blogger Kelley Nan picked a bold teal-blue to liven up her deck and also wove the shade throughout the scene with pale blue napkins and an aged flower box. As a bonus, this fun burst of color makes fruity cocktails seem more vibrant.Continue to 6 of 12 below.
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Create a Glam Escape
Your picture-perfect party patio doesn't have to be attached to your house. Create a secondary space for quiet conversations. This white-painted pergola from Sunny Side Up blends perfectly with the lush garden greenery, extending the patio space deep into your lawn. Imagine climbing roses crawling along the trellis and thick vines providing afternoon shade: isn't that the perfect escape?Continue to 7 of 12 below.
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Transform an Indoor Space
Outdoor-lovers living in bad-weather areas, don't despair: you can still have the party patio of your dreams—even if it's indoors. Raenovate turned a flat paver patio into a covered escape by adding a stone fireplace, high ceilings, and floor-to-ceiling windows. Because the walls aren't entirely enclosed, guests can still enjoy sunny weather while comfortably chatting. But if the rain turns torrential, you're safe from the downpour.Continue to 8 of 12 below.
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Create a Grown-Up's Playhouse
Every party needs a secret getaway: a hidden place to disappear for a while and chat with your closest friends, completely out of sight of the main event. The Handmade Home took "secret getaway" to a whole new, jealousy inducing level with their DIY'd hideaway. Complete with two floors, a seating area, a patio, and even a hammock, this backyard addition promises to turn your place into the neighborhood's hottest nightspot.Continue to 9 of 12 below.
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Set Up a Drinks Station
Nothing's worse than planning a barbecue blowout, starting up the grill, and then realizing you have nowhere to stick your pitcher of margaritas (complete with hand-squeezed lime!). Cue pulling out a rickety table and hoping nothing spills. A little forethought could save you some trouble. Plus, a super-suave drink table turns any party into a fiesta. Feel free to think out of the box: Emily Henderson used an antique French marble table as her drink station, and the effect is surprisingly chic.Continue to 10 of 12 below.
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Don't Downplay the Power of Light
Want to keep people chatting late into the night? Keep your porch illuminated—but don't let the light get overwhelming. Choose soft, subtle bulbs to give your outdoor space a romantic vibe and spur conversation. Bower Power strung fairy lights on the bottom of the deck to create a secluded, cafe-like seating area perfect for long nighttime heart-to-hearts.Continue to 11 of 12 below.
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Spark a Fire
On balmy summer evenings, there's nothing better than a flickering fire. Perhaps it helps us pretend we're in the mountains. Or maybe it brings back memories of sleepaway camp. Either way, guests flock to fire pits like moths to... well, a flame. Rooms for Rent turned their patio into a destination by giving their fire pit a glam upgrade. All-weather chairs, white river rock, and accessories galore give the pit an ultra-luxe upgrade—without losing the charm of a roaring fire.Continue to 12 of 12 below.
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Think Big With Small Spaces
A tiny plot of patio space doesn't mean you have to give up your entertaining dreams. This itsy patio makeover from Joyfully Growing takes advantage of every inch of space. Four chairs, two side tables, and a small outdoor coffee table—not to mention four overflowing planters—fit into the home's wee concrete patio. You'll never be nervous to invite over new pals again.