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  • Take your entertaining outdoors

  • Summer entertaining is right around the corner, so now is the time to get your outdoor spaces in shape.
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  • Summer entertaining is right around the corner, so now is the time to get your outdoor spaces in shape.
    A few simple tips can go a long way in getting your projects started on the right foot.
    You might have an intimate dinner for four or a party for 20. Either way, people need places to sit. Designers often integrate seat walls into their projects, which are simply the walls of raised masonry planters designed to be comfortable to sit on.
    Seat walls offer a place to sit when furniture isn't out there, or when cushions are put away for rain. They offer plenty of overflow seating when your furniture isn't enough for all your friends and relatives.
    Evening hours are magic in the landscape because everything beyond your yard fades away. All that you perceive are elements that have been artificially illuminated.
    When you consider outdoor entertaining, focus on beautiful ambient lighting that gives your garden an ethereal glow without any overly bright spots.
    Well-done landscape lighting also allows you to enjoy 100 percent of your outdoor space after dark compared to just the patio area itself.
    When folks come over to spend the afternoon outside, they want a cool, shady place to relax.
    This is why using beam arbors for shade is one of the best choices.
    An arbor can be designed with custom shade cloth panels that are put up at the start of the hot season, then may be taken down when things cool in the fall.
    Outdoor entertaining spaces can be extra-special if well-designed. Create a tropical getaway in your own backyard. There is no end to the effects you can create with fog fountains, fire pits, outdoor TVs and other fun options.
    A buffet frees you up for other activities, so be sure to design a credenza flush against a wall for easy meals and hors d'oeuvres. When not used for entertaining, this table can be pressed into service for showing off plants or art.
    Don't forget colorful cushions on seat walls so they're comfy. Gather beautiful hanging lanterns for votive lights to dangle from tree branches and shade structures.
    Add a few well-designed outdoor carpets to create bohemian spots for lounging with short tables and extra-large pillows.
    Select large pots that reflect your personal style and stuff them full of your favorite plants to screen things off or to add foliage.
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