By Melissa B
Container garden! This year I discovered "recipes" for planters; from a "Spaghetti" planter with tomato plant and herbs; to colourful combinations and varying heights.
If you are a do-it-yourselfer, you could always trek down to the library to find books on building the furniture you want, maybe see if you could score some reclaimed wood from demolition sites. Another cool place to look is at the Architectural Clearinghouses; where construction materials are recycled. You could maybe find a cool old clawfoot tub for a planter... stuff like that. Craigslist and Kijiji are good too! Have fun!
I use one thing on my deck that is perfect for what I want. I took strings of Christmas lights, the tiny ones that go on the tree or around windows, and use only white lights. I attached them up under the railing around my deck, including going down the steps.
This puts out just enough lights to be nice, without putting out enough to be bright or to attract mosquitos. If it's too much light, I simply remove bulbs here and there, or if they arn't the kind that you can do this, then cover some with black electircal tape. The lights don't get hot so it's safe. I love the way it makes my deck look at nite.
If you don't want to use these lights then rope lights will work too. Again, with these if it's too much light, just put black electrical tape every so often until you get the amount of light you want.
Go to Goodwill. I found some great pots and sconces. The sconses I hung on the house - one on each side of the back window and flower pots line the steps off the deck.
I'm not sure where you live but in my area freecycle.org has many people wanting to give away outdoor tables, planters, chairs etc. check it out.
I agree with the 1st post and pick a theme. Lightning can be done by the tiny solar lites, kmart has a 10 pack for $14 and you can place them anywhere>on ground in flower beds/in pots. Or string up lights in the trees /on your fence/intwined in a flower bush. Use the tiny white (or any color) christmas lights or any theme lights>mine are changed out but now its red peppers for a mexican theme. Ebay has lots of string lights (just put in the key word string lights and look in the home & garden catagory). You could also paint your concrete area. I painted mine all brown then made a river stone look ontop by making a large stencil and using other earth tones in browns to be my stones.
Go with a theme, or color scheme. I'm using some left over paint and fabrics to liven things up. Stones are good for decorating too. I pick them up at the beach.
My favorite tip from a city dwelling friend with a patio: use branches to make barriers. Trim to desired height, fill a planter with cement or plaster of paris, put the branches in (support if necessary), then decorate with real plants like moonflowers or other vine plants and twinkle lights. Really classy and adds privacy where needed. Have fun!
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