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Originally published Friday, July 11, 2014 at 8:01 PM

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Spruce up your patio before your summer get-togethers

It doesn’t take a lot of money to do fix up your patio, and while a gorgeous outdoor space isn’t required to entertain guests, it can definitely set the stage for a memorable event.


McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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Feeling like your patio is a little blah? It doesn’t take a lot of money to do a little sprucing, and while a gorgeous outdoor space isn’t required to entertain guests, it can definitely set the stage for a memorable event.

“Every space in your home matters, from the front porch to the back patio,” says Shaunna West of the design blog and store Perfectly Imperfect and author of the upcoming book “The $50 Home Makeover: 75 Easy Projects to Transform Your Current Space into Your Dream Place,” due out later this month. “These outdoor spaces are an extension of your home and should make a statement.”

West knows all about designing on a budget. She got into the decorating business out of necessity after wanting to personalize her builder-grade home, and she says she’s all about “creating the home you want now with what you’ve got.”

Adding plants and flowers, West says, is the No. 1 way to update your patio on the cheap. “It sounds simplistic, but it’s true.”

She also likes the idea of planting a small herb garden — both with herbs you can use and those that smell great. It’s a great way to entertain guests’ senses, she says, and it often works as a conversational piece.

No need to buy a truckload of expensive ceramic urns to plant them in, either. West suggests sticking with clay pots for an economical, stylish option.

“Outdoor life is messy, so you don’t need to get fussy,” West says. It also happens to come with a built-in view, so the goal is to accentuate what natural beauty you’ve got.

Stringing vintage-inspired outdoor lights can “take your space from ho-hum to magical,” she says. They’re cheap and simple, and you can buy them just about anywhere.

“They provide a subtle amount of light for guests, and provide a romantic setting,” West says. “You can hang them from an awning or put up posts to string them from.”

Want a little more décor? “Stick with items that will showcase the outdoors rather than overpower it,” she says. That could mean a few glass hurricane vases filled with shells, or a piece of wall art that represents you and your home.



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