Recently my husband and I finally bit the bullet (and dropped a few thou’) to build a courtyard in the back of the house. Inspired by Mediterranean-by-way-of-Appalachia, the garden is a beautifully clean space with tonal gravel and a potager with herbs and lettuces and tomatoes to the side of the house. Unfortunately, the furniture doesn’t really have that…comment dit-on…je ne sais quoi. You see, most of what’s out there right now are hand-me-downs (a shelf), from a garage sale up the road (a bench or two), or left in the basement by the previous owner (the picnic table). It’s not cohesive. It’s not very chic, I’m sad to say.
Luckily for you (but perhaps not for my wallet), I’ve been researching some products I think would spruce up any space. I’ve broken it up into a few categories and budget options. Happy decorating – let’s hope you have better luck outdoors than I have!
The Best Outdoor Furniture
Arhaus Hamptons Outdoor Bar Cart
Arhaus has inspired countless Instagram-worthy trends over the years and the Hamptons Bar Cart is another product that shows the design chops of this brand. Inspired by English gardens, it’s a simple design that uses the limited real estate of the cart in new ways – including the three holders for wine bottles (brilliant, if you ask me).
Modloft Netta Sectional Sofa
As the name suggests, Modloft makes modern interpretations of classic pieces. The Netta sectional has a low-profile design with comfortable cushions and a chaise longue for added comfort.
Forest Gate 4-Piece Modular Acacia Wood Patio Sectional Set
Simple and straightforward, this Bed, Bath, & Beyond patio product is a great option for small spaces or for the minimalist in you. Made with warm acacia and set on a comfortable grey cushion, it’s perfect for those looking to fill space and not break the budget.
Floyd Rectangle Table Sets
The spirit of design and ingenuity never left Detroit – it just moved to other industries. Floyd is one such example of this. A brand with clean lines and fantastic matte color options (I love the yellow), Floyd offers various size options for any family and budget. Peruse their whole site – you won’t be disappointed.
Neighbor Dining Set
Just as intriguing to me is the teak dining set from Neighbor. While teak has long been a favorite for outdoor spaces, it’s the clean lines and commitment to simplicity and sustainability that wins some bonus points from me.
The Best Outdoor Dinnerware
Haand’s Cloudware collection is an homage to Wedgwood’s Jasperware collection and it’s a thoroughly modern reinterpretation at that. A marbled white and vibrant blue makes this a perfect summer option for any table.
Pottery Barn Del Sol Dinnerware Collection
If, like me, you’re continuously inspired by the Mediterranean, then you may love the Del Sol collection as much as I do. It’s a vibrant, “mama mia!”-inducing collection. Even better, it’s great for outdoor usage because it’s made from melamine.
West Elm Kaloh Dinnerware Set
These stoneware plates, accompanied with a muted matte finish exterior, are a great option for toppling bowls of pasta, roasted veggies, or fresh fruit. The curved edges keep the food from spilling out while the stoneware is rugged enough for use all season long.
Lekock Bamboo Dinnerware Set
When eating outdoors, why not have dinner on a plate made from natural material? These bamboo sets are fantastic – beautifully designed and rugged as all get out. I love the professional look to them (they don’t look like just any old compostable throwaway plate) and I especially love that they are dishwasher safe. When done, they’re compostable, which is an A+ in my book.
The Best Umbrellas
LL Bean Sunbrella Market Umbrella
As with anything from LL Bean, you can bet your money it’s going to be straightforward, simple, and just what you need. Their umbrella is no exception. With an aluminum frame and bronze finish, you get a lovely colored umbrella that’s easy to set up and handle. It does the job and does it well – you can’t ask for anything better.
Le Papillon Offset Hanging Umbrella
An offset umbrella offers more support and coverage when in use, able to tuck up next to a bench or couch and get the shade right where you want it. Le Papillon’s 10-foot wingspan (papillon is French for butterfly, after all) is big, but on hot summer days, you’ll be glad you got it.
The Best Outdoor Storage Solutions
Frontgate Frances Tall Storage Cabinet
Perfect for a garden on either side of the pond, Frontgate’s storage cabinet is a thing of beauty. What I admire about Frontgate is that they have taken design elements from interiors and applied them to the outdoors, not sacrificing design aesthetics in the process. A perfect accompaniment to a garden, imagine storing your potting tools and perhaps a flask of something strong on its shelves.
Keter Solana Storage Bench
If the above is a little too formal for what you need, there is nothing wrong with the Keter Solana storage bench. It’s utilitarian, sure, but its secret compartment for additional storage might be just what you need when space – or weather – is an issue.
West Elm Portside Outdoor Kitchen
The price point here and the real estate needed for it to work is a little hard to quantify, but to hell with it – I’ve added it anyway! The Portside outdoor kitchen from West Elm is a choose-your-own-adventure, with the ability to combine various cabinets, shelves, and tabletops for making the most of your al fresco dining.
The Best Outdoor Lighting
Tanit LED Table Lamp
Hot summer days bring long summer nights and the Tanit LED Table Lamp is a great companion, combining traditional lantern designs with decidedly modern updates. It’s battery-operated and 54-lumens, perfect for evenings of cocktails and lazy lounging.
Wick by Graypants
Less modern, but very cool is the Wick by Graypants. These LED portable lights are inspired by bygone candles but made for the modern age. Imagine going outdoors with one of these in your hand. You’d feel like you’re in a modern Jane Austen novel. And I think that’s a good thing.
Plug-In Edison Bulb String Lights
Edison lights haven’t lost their popularity, so stringing a few up around your deck might be a better alternative than a few lights here and there. Waterproof and rugged, this option is a budget-friendly pick that I myself recently bought for a friend’s housewarming.
The Best Outdoor Tech & Accessories
Plunge is a new company on the block (perhaps you’ve seen them on Shark Tank recently?), but they’ll be around for some time, I think. Built with the health benefits of cold submersion in mind, Plunge helps regulate blood flow and overall health. You don’t have to be an athlete to enjoy this. Even a simple soak on a hot day might be all you need if you don’t have a pool nearby. They offer a hot-and-cold option, which can generate temperatures up to 103-degrees, so think of it as a hot tub waiting to happen. A bang for your buck, if you ask me.
Crosley Solo Radio
I like the Solo out of many of Crosley’s bluetooth-enabled radios due to the retro design and heft to the silhouette. With its wood body and simple face, it’s a testament that forgoing some of the sleeker designs of technology aren’t always the best.
XGimi MoGo Pro
I love drive-in movies but, sadly, I don’t like staying up late. I get too sleepy. I admit it. So maybe I’ll invest in a MoGo Pro, giving me the opportunity to lounge from the comfort of my courtyard and stream a Summer blockbuster. The MoGo is a great entry-level option that integrates easily into Android, Chromecast, and Google Assist for easy viewing and even easier operating.