How to Transform Your City Patio into an Urban Oasis
Sometimes the apartment gods smile upon you in the form of extra closets, a washer and dryer in-unit, or if you’re really lucky, an outdoor space of your very own. From cozy seating to glowing lights, here are a few easy ways to transform your city patio into a magical urban oasis.
Furnish with Purpose
Before you go crazy with IKEA patio furniture purchases, take some time to think about how you want to use your outdoor space. If you love to cook (and if the landlord/building permits it) you may want to consider a small outdoor grill setup to take those searing skills to the next level. If you host lots of gatherings, prioritize extra seating or a small table and chairs for dining al fresco. Need to get zen? Keep the space more open for yoga or meditation and invest in an outdoor rug or mat. And if it’s especially tiny, consider using what space you do have for a small garden or reading nook.
Once you start furniture shopping, think easy, lightweight, and water-resistant pieces made of plastic, metal, teak, or wicker. Don’t be afraid of pops of color, such as this table and chair set, or a patterned outdoor rug (like this one). Pillows keep it comfy and are perfect for relaxed extra seating options. And if there’s a sturdy place to hang it from, there’s nothing like a hammock for afternoon snoozing.
A patio is like a little break from urban life, and adding greenery is a great way to recreate the feeling of a garden or park. Depending on how much sunlight your patio gets, low-maintenance plants such as succulents and hostas are great for a burst of green, even in the shade. If you have slightly better light and want some blooms, consider potted geraniums, pentas, mini roses, impatiens, or even sunflowers. And herbs like oregano, basil, rosemary, or cilantro grow easily in pots and can be plucked straight from the garden into your summer recipes—plus, they smell amazing.
Once you’ve selected the types of plants you want, it’s time to get creative with the way you arrange them. Buy a mixture of larger potted plants and arrange them with smaller pots for visual interest. To create more privacy, line greenery in planters (fast-growing bamboo works great for this) along the edge of the patio. Hang spider plants or ivy for a more wild, overgrown look. Maximize space—and emulate that whole hanging gardens of Babylon thing—by investing in vertical planters or flower boxes (affix these to the inside of the railing just to be safe).
Whichever plants you decide to use, incorporating them into your space makes a big difference to your health and happiness, and provides soothing and peaceful surroundings.
Light it Up
What better way to build evening ambiance than with twinkling lights? If you have leftover holiday lights, string them along the railing to illuminate the patio at night and make it a bit more festive. Or take a page from your favorite French restaurant and hang a few strands of bistro lights to give things a nice golden glow. For a funkier look, opt for colored string lights instead.
For accent lighting, fill mason jars or colored glass bottles with fairy lights and display them throughout. To reduce your energy bill but still get some nice mood lighting, you can also set up solar or battery-powered lanterns. And of course, candles. You can never have too many candles.
Now that you have your perfect outdoor oasis, there’s only one thing left to do: invite some friends over to share it with.