The First Things Guests Notice About Your Patio, According to Experts

Consider these before you host another outdoor gathering.

Your patio is an important space during the warmer seasons—it provides a fun alternative for entertaining on temperate afternoons and evenings. But before you start sending out the invites for those backyard barbecues and dinner parties, there are a few things you may want to consider to ensure your outdoor space leaves a good first impression on your guests.

According to Cameron Johnson, the CEO and founder of Nickson Living, guests probably won't notice the specific brands and placement of furniture or the type of flooring on your patio. So, try not to sweat it if your chairs and tables aren't arranged in a super thoughtful way, or if there's a chip in one of the tiles. On the other hand, here are some of the first things guests will likely notice about your patio.

READ THIS NEXT: 6 Items You Should Always Have in Your Kitchen When Guests Come Over.

1
Whether they can find any shade

Young woman looking deep in thought and smiling while lying back in a deck chair on her patio on a sunny afternoon
iStock

Not everyone enjoys soaking up direct sun—which is why it's so crucial to create a shady area on your patio if you're entertaining during the day.

"On a particularly hot day or a day with inclement weather like rain, your guests will want to make sure they can find some kind of relief," explains Stacy Elmore, co-founder of The Luxury Pergola, SEE Home Improvements, and LouveRoof Luxury Pergolas.

This could mean adding an umbrella to your patio dining set, installing a pergola, attaching an awning, or putting up canopies and sun sails.

2
The lighting

stylish patio with string globe lights
Ground Picture / Shutterstock

If you're entertaining at night, your guests are undoubtedly going to notice whether or not they can see, which makes lighting so important, especially for safety reasons.

Ideally, the lighting should be bright enough that your guests can see each other and their plate without any trouble, but not so harsh that it ruins the vibe.

"Accent lighting can really enhance the patio space in the evenings," says Elmore. "You can use a variety of solar-powered landscape lights or get higher brightness LEDs."

"Installing deck lighting or even strings of holiday lights on a dusk to dawn sensor is a budget-friendly way to add 'custom' lighting to your patio," adds Johnson.

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3
The seating

modern outdoor wicker or rattan furniture set up on patio
Shutterstock/Photographee.eu

Once your guests have said their hellos and grabbed a drink, they're probably going to look for somewhere to sit. And the more comfortable they are, the more likely they are to stay a while—not to mention enjoy themselves.

Keep in mind that ultimately, guests care far more about how your seating feels than how it looks, says Artem Kropovinsky, an interior designer and founder of Arsight.

"Consider adding built-in seating around a firepit or near planters so your guests have a place to relax," suggests Johnson. An outdoor sectional with cushioned seats or a chair with a footrest are also great options.

4
The decor

Happy senior friends having fun eating on patio at BBQ
iStock

Have you ever noticed how a striking vase of flowers or a beautiful piece of art can instantly add life to your living room? They say it's all in the details—and that's certainly true of your outdoor space, too.

That's why Kropovinsky advises adding small pieces of decor that inject personality into your patio. He suggests having plenty of plants throughout the space, which provide lush color and vitality. Lanterns, area rugs, and throw pillows and blankets can also make your patio more visually appealing.

Rebecca Strong
Rebecca Strong is a Boston-based freelance health/wellness, lifestyle, and travel writer. Read more
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