A set of 4 white-cushioned patio chairs, available through Blackjack Gardens in Birmingham AL, surround a small white table on a brick patio. The patio is surrounded by a lush green garden. The adjacent home is a rustic cabin with an aged metal overhang and a classic weathervane on roof.

Summer landscapes will soon yield to fall bliss. “Your outdoor living spaces can make the seasonal switch too,” says Tammy Powell, designer at Blackjack Gardens. Chairs: Willow Collection; table: Contempo Collection, both from Lane Venture

1 | Begin with Comfy Furniture

Whether inviting a few guests over for an autumn celebration or sipping your morning coffee on the patio to enjoy the crisp weather, comfort is key for outdoor furniture.

“Go to a showroom and sit in everything. Find what makes you feel good and you’ll enjoy your outdoor space as much as any other room,” says designer Tammy Powell of Blackjack Gardens in Birmingham, Alabama. Other factors to consider, she says, include what you plan to use the space for, the style of your home and garden, and the furniture’s ability to withstand time and Mother Nature. Find more tips for choosing outdoor seating.

Outdoor furniture Birmingham AL, string of outdoor lights, woven through, lantern

Charming lights strung along the garden wall and a Moroccan-inspired metal lantern set the mood for a mild, early fall evening. Loveseat and accent table: Langham Collection from Lane Venture

2 | Feather the Nest

Add a few new itemsor go all outto ready your outdoor spaces for the season.

  • Textured throws to snuggle into. Think waffle weave, chenille, cashmere. However, if you plan to leave it exposed to the elements, go for one made from a mildew-resistant material, such as Lane Venture’s decorative throws made from acrylic.
  • Lanterns for tea lights or pillar candles
  • Outdoor lamps or string lights. Be sure lamps are heavy enough to withstand a windstorm and that they are certified for outside use, which ensures water cannot enter and damage the circuitry. Tammy recommends Kenroy.
  • Throw pillows

“Swap out your spring/summer outdoor pillows for ones with autumn-inspired hues. Or, if you have a year-round neutral palette, simply add an accent pillow or two.” — Designer Tammy Powell, Blackjack Gardens

pillow designs include orange background with a white and navy floral paisley design; a metallic gold, silver, and copper leaf on a white background, and a basketweave pillow in bright orange

Chic meets the all-weather durability of Sunbrella yarn in designer Elaine Smith’s pillow collection. From left: A jacquard fabric flaunts a floral paisley pattern in the Celestina Midnight pillow. Silver and gold tones mingle with rich copper to form a Metallic Leaf motif. The Basketweave Tuscan pillow combines classic texture with autumnal orange.

3 | Add a Fire Pit

A traditional fire pit is always fun and offers the opportunity to hone your fire-building skills. To create the ambiance of a roaring flame at a moment’s notice, explore gas options.

The Oasis 42″ Round Gas Fire Pit from Lane Venture features a propane tank in a slide-out drawer and a lid that sits flush with the surface so that it can function as a table when not in use.

4 | Channel Your Inner Outdoor Chef

Primo Ceramic Grill

As the summer heat begins to ease, outdoor cooking becomes all the more pleasant. Tammy recommends the Primo Oval Ceramic Grill, which—thanks to its shape—creates two distinct areas for direct and indirect heat. In addition to the perfect steak, you can stew, sear, roast (but not char) your vegetable garden harvest, fire off a pizza on a pizza stone, or perform just about any other cooking task you can think of. More reasons to love it: A natural charcoal fire that’s ready in as little as 10 minutes, Primo’s online cooking classes on YouTube, and its distinction as the only ceramic grill made it the USA (the factory is in Atlanta).

 

A silver dish of bagna cauda on a platter of sliced colorful sweet peppers, tomatoes, assorted breads for dipping, and grapes

Bagna Cauda with vegetables (Get recipe)

Seared bone-in rib-eye steak on a cutting board. A bundle of fresh rosemary lies beside it.

Seared Steak La Zaca (Get recipe)

For recipe ideas, Frances Schultz, Flower’s West Coast contributing editor, shared two recipes for an alfresco fall meal from her cookbook, California Cooking and Southern Style (Skyhorse, 2019). Grill veggies, baguette slices, and flatbreads to dunk in Bagna Cauda, a savory Italian dip. Prepare Seared Steak La Zaca on the grill or in a cast iron skillet and top with Frances’s New Orleans-style barbecue sauce.

5 | Set the Table

outdoor furniture available at Blackjack Gardens in Birmingham, AL

A palette of olive green, coral, peach, charcoal, and bronze brings a touch of seasonal color to the table even before the leaves turn. Dining set: Langham Collection from Lane Venture

A simple table with good food is all you ever need. But if you want to make an at-home celebration magical, or just miss dining out, bring your special dishes and serving pieces out of the china cabinet. It’s hard to top a candlelit dinner on the patio on a mild early-fall evening. If you live where the weather stays cool but not cold through Thanksgiving, you might even consider moving the traditional harvest feast outside.

A glass pitcher and tumblers filled with a chilled cider, with cinnamon sticks and star anise, set on a wooden tray painted gold

Libations served in a pretty pitcher and glassware make it memorable. ‘Drop’ pitcher and tumblers and ‘Florentine’ tray from Vietri

autumn tablesetting

A simple magnolia garland complements an autumn setting. ‘Fauna Pheasants’ and ‘Foglia’ dinnerware from Vietri

Outdoor furniture from Lane Venture, pillows from Elaine Smith, Primo Ceramic Grills, and Vietri tableware featured in this story are available from our sponsor, Blackjack Gardens. Visit their Birmingham location or call (205) 836-2933.


By Terri Robertson