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.
2 | Feather the Nest
Add a few new items—or go all out—to 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
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.
4 | Channel Your Inner Outdoor Chef
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).
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
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.
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