Good Life

Dress Up Your Deck

Simple ways to transform your outside space for autumn

No bugs. No need for sunscreen. Cooler evening temperatures. These are only a few reasons why fall is the best time of year to spend more time dining or entertaining outside on your patio or deck. But it’s time to put away the tiki torches and summer adornments and add some fall flavor. Here are four easy tips to transform your outside space into a tranquil fall paradise.

1 Think Cozy

“In the fall, you want your deck to be a place where you can enjoy the crisper weather – but you also want to be warm,” says interior decorator Scarlet French. Items like an outdoor heater, fireplace or chiminea are quick additions that will warm up a larger outdoor area in a short amount of time. (Bonus: An outdoor fireplace is great for marshmallow-roasting.)

 If your deck area isn’t enclosed, consider installing an awning or canopy in an autumn hue. Not only will these additions provide you with respite from the cooler weather, but they’ll make your deck homier – “more like an extension of your indoor living space,” French says. 

Push the seating arrangements closer together to up the coziness ante and create a sense of intimacy among guests.

2 Switch out the accessories 

Put away the summer-themed pillows and throw blankets and replace them with fresh pillow covers and seasonal accents like pumpkins, gourds and potted mums. “Select beautiful fall hues like deep yellows, reds and oranges, to match the changing foliage,” she suggests. As the weather cools, consider fleece or cashmere blankets so that everyone stays toasty.

3 Reset the Table

If you’ve got a dining area on your deck or porch, change out the table settings to coordinate with the seasonal accents you’ve added. For a nice touch without the hassle of a large barbecue, consider adding a portable table grill, which is ideal for intimate dining. Since it will be getting darker earlier, add pillar candles to the table or string lighting above it for a soft, festive look. Create a trail of lanterns to light a path from indoors to the gathering area.

4 Add Water

Although you may not be spending as much time in the pool or at the beach this season, you can bring the tranquil sounds of water to your outdoor area with a cascading fountain powered by a recirculating pump – or another water feature. For extra drama, consider adding a fire fountain, which allows you to enjoy both the sights of flickering fire and soothing sounds of flowing water.