Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A More Perfect Patio this Summer....

Deck yourself out with these summer ideas from Betty's June Column for Cville Weekly's Abode Magazine

There’s nothing better than a relaxing summer evening with friends on the patio enjoying great music and great food. This month, Betty reveals eco-friendly ways to make your deck the in place to party outside.

Invite nature-lovers—like butterflies and birds—to your patio party with strategically planted butterfly bushes and bee balm. Find drought-resistant plants grown locally at the farmer’s market or area nurseries. Recycled glass bird-feeders are decorative and eco-minded, or make your own using a cardboard milk carton covered with a collage of old magazines and newspapers.

Lighting sets the mood. I like to get creative with candles: Mason jars filled with soy candles surrounding the edge of your patio offer a natural glow. Solar-powered lights create enchanting illuminated pathways. Energy-efficient options would be outdoor LED or motion sensor lights.

Of course your guests need comfy places to sit, so how about upcycling a great yard sale find (an old wicker chair or paint-peeling patio set) into a patio treasure with a quick new spray low-VOC paint job? Or you could splurge on a pair of Adirondack chairs made of recycled milk jugs, available at the Blue Ridge Eco Shop in a variety of joyful colors ($275; see p. 10).
If you have a wooden deck, a soy-based, zero-VOC deck stain (Velvet CDF, for example) seals the wood for 10 years’ worth of outdoor fun.

Finally, to avoid pesky mosquitoes, spray your patio area with a natural and locally made insect repellent: St. Gabriel’s, which lasts four weeks. Scented citronella candles are another good solution.


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