Sagan Harborside Logo Black
Sagan Harborside Company Logo

Blog :: 06-2019

Design a Stylish Deck or Patio for Outdoor Entertaining

Is your deck designed for entertaining? Summertime is our favorite time of year to gather with friends and neighbors on the deck or patio. With our beautiful weather, everyone is longing to be outside. And with a fairly short season, we want to make the most of our outdoor spaces. To help you get your deck or patio summer-ready, we’ve gathered some of our favorite decorating ideas.

Of course, if hiring a top interior designer is in your budget, you can have a dream patio like this one, by designer Mark D. Sikes:

Photo by Amy Neunsinger, Design by Mark D. Sikes
 Photo by Amy Neunsinger, Design by Mark D. Sikes

 

What makes this patio so inviting? Aside from the gorgeous color palette, it’s a design that accommodates both dinner parties and relaxed hanging out. If you want to live outdoors like this in summer, you’ll need to create an outdoor living room. Here’s how to make it happen:


Make Your Outdoor Furniture Comfortable

Hard wooden benches or rockers aren’t conducive to hanging out for hours. Add seat cushions and throw pillows from durable outdoor fabrics to make the outside as comfortable as indoors. If you have the space and budget, an outdoor sofa or sectional creates a cozy ambiance.


Outdoor Sectional by Ashley Outdoor Sectional by Ashley

 

Teak or metal frames are best, since they can be left outside all year. Traditional wicker will need to be painted every few years. If you’re shopping for wicker, look for resin wicker – it’s weatherproof and looks just like the real thing.

Outdoor fabrics do vary in quality – from cheap and cheerful pillows that only last a season, to high-end acrylic fabrics that last for years. Look for brands like Sunbrella and Outdura for fabrics that are easy to clean and fade-resistant.

Even a simple bench or porch swing can get the “sofa” treatment, with a comfortable seat cushion and collection of throw pillows:
 

Porch swing by Ballard Designs

Porch swing by Ballard Designs

 

Don’t forget tables – your guests need a spot to set down drinks and snacks. Ceramic garden seats are perfect for smaller spaces. They’re portable, stylish, and just big enough to hold a small plate or two.

Add an outdoor rug to tie your seating area together with color and pattern:


  Outdoor Rug by Jonathan Yaraghi at Eyely.comOutdoor Rug by Jonathan Yaraghi at Eyely.com

Get Your Deck Ready For Fun

Keep your guests cool with ceiling fans, or a standing fan in a corner to create a breeze. Books and old-fashioned games encourage everyone to put down their devices and unplug. Games like checkers and dominoes are durable and easy for everyone to play, and you can have a basket handy with a frisbee or soccer ball for a quick game on the lawn. If your crowd likes old-school games, a croquet set can be a lot of fun.


Create an Outdoor Dining Room

Whether it’s a bistro set for two or a long table for a crowd, a dining set keeps the party going. If you’re blessed with a long deck, set up a permanent dining table at one end and a seating area at the other, and you’ll always be ready if friends drop by.

Outdoor Wicker Dining Set by Frontgate

Outdoor Wicker Dining Set by Frontgate

 

If your patio is small and you long for an elegant dining area, a built-in banquette is a great solution. It’s not an expensive project, and a bench can tuck easily into the end of a deck. Add a table and some extra chairs and you can seat a crowd. Plus, you’ll have a comfy reading nook. Splurge on upholstered seat cushions and some gorgeous throw pillows.

�Photo by David A. Land, Design by Andrew Howard
 Photo by David A. Land, Design by Andrew Howard

 

For extra seating (or a tiny deck where you only entertain occasionally) this folding dining set from Safavieh is really handy. The table folds down and the chairs store inside the base, so you can use it as a console when you’re not dining:

Source: Home Depot

 

For outdoor dining, you’ll probably want to set up a serving area. While a console or buffet is ideal, not every deck has space for a dedicated serving piece. Think creatively; re-purpose a potting bench or plant stand with pretty linens and colorful accessories for a charming buffet.

A bar cart is another handy accessory – you can use it on the patio, or move it into the garden. Keep it stocked with bar tools and glasses, so all you need is your favorite drink. The storage drawers and serving tray on this teak cart from Kingsley Bate make it the perfect summer accessory:


Teak Bar Cart by Kingsley Bate

Teak Bar Cart by Kingsley Bate

Storage For Outdoor Party Supplies

If you entertain often, it’s a good idea to add some storage to your deck for party supplies. Stock a cabinet or shelf with citronella candles, bug spray, a drinks tub, and a few throws for chilly nights.

Outdoor storage boxes or benches make the perfect spot to store cushions and pillows in winter. Larger storage trunks can even be used as extra seating. When the party’s over, they can hold extra pillows, candles, small rugs, and games.

Baker’s racks or etageres make wonderful spots for seasonal displays, and you can use them for storage and serving too. This piece from Ballard Designs has a storage cabinet at the bottom, and open shelves you can set up as a bar or buffet area:


 
Etagere by Ballard Designs

Etagere by Ballard Designs

 

It’s the perfect piece to dress up the deck with a vignette of potted herbs or flowers too.

Set up your deck as an extension of your home, and you’ll enjoy being outside all summer. So gather your supplies, mix some drinks, and invite the neighbors over for dinner on the deck! If you’re looking to buy or sell a deck (with a home attached) on the beautiful North Shore of Massachusetts, we’d love to help – just give Sagan Harborside a call at 781-593-6111.
 

Landscaping Your Backyard For Outdoor Entertaining

Summer is outdoor entertaining season, and it’s time to get the most out of your backyard. It’s easy to get your deck and porch ready for guests with attractive furniture and decor – but a great landscape design will make your backyard into a prime spot for visitors. Well-placed plantings can soften the edges of a deck, screen off unsightly views, and create separate areas for dining, relaxing, or play.

If you’re moving to a new home, layers of green and colorful summer flowers will get your outdoor spaces ready for guests. From fast, budget-friendly solutions to garden renovations, we’ve collected our favorite ideas here.

Patio Flowers for Outdoor Entertaining

Container gardens are a quick, low-cost way to add greenery to your deck or patio. Flowerpots let you put the color exactly where you need it, and you can add new plants during the season to keep the containers fresh and blooming. Mix various pot sizes, and add height to your display for extra impact:

Container gardens and flowerpots

Photo Courtesy of Signature Gardens

 

If your budget has room for a deck upgrade, consider adding a built-in bench. Benches are an easy way to add extra seating, and incorporating planters adds an upscale touch. Since they’re a permanent part of the deck, there’s no need to buy and store extra outdoor furniture for parties.

Planters for a kitchen garden.

Photo Courtesy of Fiberon

 

Planters near the grill area make the perfect spot for a kitchen garden. Plant salad greens and herbs for cooking, or grow cherry tomatoes on a trellis. A deep planter with an attached trellis is a great solution when you need to add privacy to your outdoor seating area. A wall of green helps keep your space cool, and having ready-to-pick produce is perfect for entertaining.

Dress Up A Deck Or Patio With Landscaping

A landscaped border between your deck or patio and the rest of the yard adds a sense of privacy, and softens hard edges. Use low shrubs and flowering plants for layers of color you can admire from the deck.

landscaped border between your deck or patio

Source: Lowe’s

 

If you have the budget for a larger project, building a pergola is a great way to bring landscaping to an outdoor seating area. At night, string outdoor lighting on a pergola for romantic dining. Grapevines, wisteria, and climbing roses are gorgeous climbing plants that provide plenty of shade. They’ll grow just as well in planters, so you can easily cover a pergola that’s close to the house.

pergola over an outdoor seating area

Photo Courtesy of Renoguide

 

This backyard renovation that includes built-in planting beds, a bench, and small trees creates an elegant landscape for entertaining right beside the patio:

backyard renovation with built-in planting beds, a bench, and small trees

Photo Courtesy of Swell Homes

Landscape Design Creates Outdoor Entertaining Zones

Great spaces for outdoor entertaining have areas for both dining and relaxing. Hardscaping, like stone or brick pavers, creates “outdoor rooms” for different activities. Formal planting beds and low walls are attractive landscaping features that separate activity areas.

using Hardscaping, like stone or brick pavers, to create outdoor rooms

Photo Courtesy of Amy Martin Landscape Design

 

Shaded areas are important – carefully placed trees can be as shady as a pergola. Seating areas incorporated into the landscaping let you interact with the garden, while a formal dining area is more practical. This project by Amy Martin Landscape Design has all the features of a great backyard for entertaining:

using shaded areas in your landscaping

Photo Courtesy of Amy Martin Landscape Design

 

A wide border garden makes a beautiful transition between an outdoor dining area and the rest of the yard. Use taller shrubs and small trees to screen off play equipment or a pet run. Small trees like Japanese maples or flowering almonds can be safely planted close to the house for privacy and shade.

using a wide border garden to transition between an outdoor dining area and the rest of the yard

Photo Courtesy of Garden Design

 

Backyard Destinations For Entertaining

If your yard is large enough, create a hidden destination where people can have a quiet drink and chat. Discovering a seating area behind a flowerbed or hedge is a nice surprise for guests, and you’ll enjoy it too.

a pergola that functions as a hidden destination where people can have a quiet drink and chat

Project Source: Lowe’s

 

If you have a large backyard, a dining pavilion or pergola located away from the house makes an elegant destination for entertaining. While a permanent structure can be a big-budget project, an enclosed building isn’t necessary. This pergola by Timothy Lee Landscape Design

dining pavilion or pergola located away from the house makes an elegant destination for entertaining

Design by Timothy Lee Landscape Design

 

If formal dining isn’t your style, turn a corner of your lawn into a spot to relax. Throw in some curves to break up a boring, rectangular yard. Build a deck around a big tree, or incorporate a patio and fire pit into the landscape. This charming round patio has a matching curved pergola and a swing for fun:

Photo Courtesy of Renoguide

 

Even a simple landscaping project can completely transform the way you use your backyard. There’s nothing fancy about these chairs gathered around an open fire, but it’s certainly an inviting spot:

chairs gathered around an open fire pit

Photo Courtesy of Andrew Snow Photography

 

Our balmy summers here on the North Shore make it a wonderful area for summer entertaining. Larger properties are available with landscaped entertainment zones for dining, cocktails or hanging by the fire. Even the smallest cottage is sure to have an outdoor deck for soaking up the sun and relaxing in the evening. If you’re looking to buy or sell a home in Marblehead, Swampscott, Salem, or on the beautiful North Shore waterfront that’s built for entertaining, we’d love to help – just give Sagan Harborside a call at 781-593-6111

Explore The North Shore

bench facing harbor with moored boats

Join Our Team!

We are looking for professional, self-motivated, licensed individuals looking to grow their business for our real estate team. Candidates should be accustomed to performing at a high level, be familiar with a sales environment, self-driven and focused on providing exceptional customer service.

Learn More