better homes and gardens | creative spaces 15
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CHAT & DINE “Low, deep seating allows you to kick
back—to really relax,” Stephen says. “Especially when
you pair it with lots of lush cushions.” Adding low end
tables (that accommodate umbrellas) and ceramic stools
gives everyone a place to park plates and drinks. The
conversation area can double as dining space.
FRESH STYLE “Inspiration for a patio palette can come
from anywhere—not just the outdoors,” Stephen says.
“Look to your existing interiors and architecture.” Keep
large surfaces like chair coverings and rugs in neutrals,
then layer in color and patterns. “Maybe start with a
pillow that has multicolor stripes, and build off that.”
ROLLING BUFFET Carts make handy serving stations,
especially when they have removable trays that keep
bottles, glasses, and other items neatly organized. “I
love portable carts because they’re so versatile,” Stephen
says, “but a potting bench would work as a drink station
or buffet too.” Make sure everything is within reach
so guests can help themselves. Portable furniture
and accessories make a living space more flexible.
Carts, stools, and seating can easily be rearranged to
accommodate the needs of the moment.
MOOD MAKERS “Every party needs good tunes,”
Stephen says. A portable docking station lets you and
your friends crank up your playlists anywhere. “And
while you’re at it, satisfy other senses: A tabletop firepot
offers warmth and a soft glow on chilly evenings; potted
lavender by a path scents the air whenever someone
ÀLA CARTE A cart set near the grill
makes it easy to toss a salad and set out
side dishes; roll the food over to the
dining zone when the main course
comes off the grill.
A GREAT PLACE TO COOK “Grilling is so
social. This is an experience you want to
share,” Stephen says. “Keep your grill visible
and connected to the rest of the patio so your
friends feel welcome to get in on the action.”