Marianne Binetti

Binetti: Transform your outdoor living areas

Perfect patios and dynamic decks mean summer is here and it is time to celebrate outdoor living.

Step One: Clean it up.

This is the time to power wash, paint or restain your deck or patio and sweep the cobwebs and those tiny bags of spider eggs from your light fixtures and under the eaves. Note: Spiders are good for the garden. Use the broom to collect the spider egg sacs and wipe them onto a tree trunk away from your outdoor seating area.

Step Two: Add instant color with a carpet — and furniture cushions.

Indoor/outdoor carpets are now colorful, inexpensive and weatherproof. There is no quicker way to transform an outdoor space than unrolling a bright carpet over a cracked patio or weathered deck.

Choose from a variety of colors and styles in outdoor rugs and then coordinate the rest of your outdoor accessories to the carpet color that is making the biggest impact.

Adding new cushions to your outdoor furniture doesn’t have to be expensive. Visit a craft or hobby store and buy a few yards of weatherproof fabric, choosing a color that coordinates with your patio carpet.

Now simply wrap your old cushions in new fabric just as you would wrap a gift box. Secure the fabric with duct tape hidden under the cushions. Any left-over fabric scraps can be used as a table runner or to dress up black plastic nursery pots for an instant custom upgrade.

Step Three: Decorate with plants and pots.

Dirt-cheap decorating is as easy as using a can of spray paint that harmonizes with your outdoor carpet and cushion colors. This summer I’m going tropical orange with bright red with yellow blooms from begonias and calibrachoas.

You might like a nautical inspiration with a blue-and-white carpet and containers painted blue to match. Fill navy-blue pots with white petunias and yellow marigolds.

One of the hottest trends right now is a black-and white-color theme with hot pink accents. Imagine a black-and-white print rug, black-and-white awning striped cushions on the furniture and containers painted matte black and brimming with hot pink petunias and deep magenta geraniums.

Now that’s an outdoor space that will wake anyone out of the summer doldrums.

Marianne Binetti has a degree in horticulture from Washington State University and is the author of several books. Reach her at