How To Create A Magical Patio for Entertaining | Midwest Living

How To Create A Magical Patio for Entertaining

Gathering outside with friends and family on a Midwest summer evening is one of the season's many pleasures. Here are tips for how to set the scene for enchanting patio entertaining.

Summer evenings in my house mean patio entertaining — good company, lingering conversations, and lots of laughter. Being outside at this time of year seems to make the ordinary gathering a little more magical.

Here are some ideas for welcoming guests into your outdoor space: 

Make it Fresh Flowers—either from your garden or from a favorite florist—are key. Greenery and flowers freshen any space, inside or out. 

Tip: I have found that setting up “shop” in our laundry room works well for flower arranging. Florist wire, vases, and other tools for creativity are all within reach in this small space. 

Make it Simple Consistency is my secret ingredient for decorating. I select up to three colors for flowers, tablecloths and accessories and then base all my decisions on variations of that palette.  It helps take the guesswork out of so many choices!

Make it (a bit) Different There is something magical about the unexpected. Try to add an element to your setting that is just a little different. During a visit to Rose Bredl, my local florist, I was inspired by beautiful long-stemmed greens, fresh herbs, and deep purple flowers. I decided to create simple bouquets to adorn the chairs around our main table. Small gestures like these help guests feel welcome and special. 

How to Make a Chair Bouquet Gather and layer bits of greenery and flowers together. Next, tie them with a ribbon that matches your outside color palette.

Make an Impact with Groupings I like to use different types of vessels to display flowers and greenery. Everything does not need to match. In fact, it's more interesting when they don’t. The key is to stay consistent with colors when choosing your containers and flowers and then group containers to create an impact.   

Make it Light  As evenings turn into night, outdoor lighting adds intimacy to patio gatherings. Consider vintage candlesticks, twinkling string lights or lanterns.  

Melinda McCoy lives in Ohio. She enjoys teaching the “everyday home decorator” how to make decorating decisions. Melinda’s free 5-day e-mail course “Finally Decorate Your Home” is available at You can also follow her on Instagram or her blog

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