"Updating your outdoor area doesn't have to be expensive."
An outdoor entertaining area is one of the smartest upgrades you'll ever make to your home. It will enhance your property—as well as your family life. Studies show that families who eat dinner together have happier, healthier and higher—achieving kids. What could be more pleasant-and budget-friendly-than family meals enjoyed in your own outdoor entertaining space?
Updating your outdoor space doesn't have to be exhausting or expensive. You can divide the project into phases and make changes gradually throughout the season.
Phase 1: Lay the foundation
Start your project with a new deck or patio.
Start your patio off right by adding or repairing pavers.
- Pavers are the most economical option. Best of all, if money's tight, you can start with a small area—it's easy to extend your space later with additional pavers. Start with a smaller area and fill the rest with pebbles or wood chips to begin with.
- For a level, uniform patio surface, opt for interlocking brick or poured-concrete pavers laid in sand.
- With so many styles of pavers to choose from, it's easy to find a look that's right for your décor. This season, rustic Mediterranean styles are on-trend and easy to achieve with a tumbled sandstone.
- Try spacing pavers a couple of inches apart and plant drought-resistant ground cover such as creeping thyme in the cracks.
- Apply a pre-emergent weed treatment such as Roundup concentrate between patio stones for a crisp, clean finish.
It's easy to custom-fit pavers to your space with pro-quality results using the Ryobi WS730 7" tile saw, available in-store.
Phase 2: Set up the dining space
Next, invest in a durable and stylish dining set, perfect for meals and casual gatherings.
Invest in a durable dining set from Thomasville for long-lasting value.
- If you're looking for a solid, sturdy option that lasts and stays put even in high winds, try the wrought-iron Napa collection, constructed of fully welded, all-weather solid steel, with the superior rust protection of a double coat of primer and paint.
- Aluminum-framed sets by Hampton Bay and Thomasville are budget-friendly, rustproof and weather-resistant. Aluminum is also lightweight, making it easier for kids and seniors to maneuver.
- The affordable, clean-lined Amazon Teak collection at The Home Depot comes from sustainably-managed hardwood plantations. Teak is naturally rot- and insect-resistant, so it's a natural choice for the outdoors.
- For more options, check out the Patio Furniture Buying Guide.
If you can't afford a complete dining set, start with a new table and keep your existing chairs. Then, buy new seating over the course of the season.
Phase 3: Add a conversation area
Extending your patio to include a secondary space with additional seating is useful for larger buffet-type gatherings.
A conversation set like this one from Hampton Bay is ideal for casual entertaining.
- Thomasville's Nature's Retreat collection pairs clean lines with with eco-friendly, FSC-certified eucalyptus wood frames and all-weather wicker. The deep-seated armchairs even come with tabletop bridges that fit the armrests—the perfect place to set drinks or snacks.
- For instant plantation style, Hampton Bay's Monticello curvy woven seating set comes with deep all-weather cushions and generous rolled arms.
- For affordable country charm, try the generous proportions of Hampton Bay's Lake Ridge Collection, with deluxe all-weather cushions and lumbar pillows, available in 3 colors to suit any style.
If your conversation area shares deck or patio space with the dining area, use visual cues to separate the space, like planters filled with tall palms or a bloom-filled trellis.
Phase 4: Add the final touches
Once you've invested in a quality foundation for your entertaining area, add accessories gradually as you need them.
Small touches like this ceiling fan by Hampton Bay can keep bugs away while providing extra comfort.
- At The Home Depot, you can coordinate your umbrella fabric with your pillow choices for a unified look. A solid wood-framed market umbrella adds European flair, while crank-and-tilt aluminum models are easy to maneuver.
- Choose from a range of options to increase seating, storage and serving space like folding bars, side tables, ottomans and even outdoor sideboards. Find more patio accessories online.
- Install a pendant light or ceiling fan by Hampton Bay to your pergola or porch to add indoor comfort and luxury to your outdoor space.
For a rich, layered look, don't be afraid to mix outdoor fabrics in stripes, solids, paisleys and florals in the same color range. It's easy to find coordinating fabrics at The Home Depot—start with the Plantation Patterns Marine series. Try pairing solid dining chair seat pads with striped entertaining area seat pads and floral throw pillows.