All-weather furniture for living the life outdoors Are you ready for celebrating summer with family and friends outdoors? Things are heating up and slowly, but surely we're headed outside. To help you get ready for a fun-filled summer I've been checking out all of the latest outdoor furnishings and accessories, and I'm finding that the selection this year is amazing! I don't recall having so many fashionable and functional options to make our patios, decks and balconies company-worthy. Today, creating livable and inviting looks for our outdoor spaces can be just as exciting as decorating our interiors. Sofas, chairs, dining tables, rugs and lighting are available in every type of material imaginable, from traditional weather-resistant wood to eco-friendly plastic and resin wicker to steel and aluminum. From classic to modern it's easy to find outdoor furnishings to suit your personal style. This year, colour is hot, hot, hot! Accessories, tabletops and even furniture come in all the colours of the rainbow, making it fun to create bright and happy outdoor spaces. Here are some of my favourite finds that will make your summertime entertaining fun and carefree. (Click here to read more about buying patio furniture.) Kid-friendly dining The classic picnic table takes on a modern, eco-friendly twist in bright green!
Above: Canadian company Bosman crafts durable, eco-friendly outdoor furniture in classic styles for home and cottage. Bosman has a special line of outdoor furniture made from high-density polyethylene, the safest plastic that is used in the manufacturing of plastic furniture (it's made from recycled plastic milk jugs). UV-stabilized, the furniture won’t rot, warp, crack, splinter, fade or harbour bacteria or mould. Products are available in a wide range of styles and colours, from wood tones to vivid tropical colours. Picnic table, $1,199, bosman.ca. Above: No pool party is complete without a poolside bar. Outdoor bar, $862; and bar stools, $179 each; both bosman.ca. Above: Garden Classic Collection oblong dining table, $1,199; swivel rocker dining chairs, $639 each; both bosman.ca. A patio party must: the classic charcoal gas barbecue Most of us today are barbecuing year round. According to the 24th annual Weber Canadian GrillWatch Survey, hamburgers remain the most-often-grilled food item (89 per cent of grill owners) with beef patties being the top favourite (96 per cent). If you like charcoal grills this is a beauty! [caption id="attachment_1744" align="aligncenter" width="393"] Photo: ©2013 Weber-Stephen Products LLC. Used with permission.[/caption] Above: The Weber Performer Platinum Charcoal Grill's Touch-N-Go gas ignition system takes the work out of starting the fire. Simply stack your coals and push a button without the hassle or the mess of lighter fluid. Available colours include green (shown), black and dark blue, $369. For more sizes and styles visit weber.com. Try these nifty gadgets by Weber to create the perfect Canadian burgers and sliders.
Above: The Weber burger press ($16 each) makes a dimple in the middle of the slider (left) and burger (right) for even cooking from centre to edge. Fine dining al fresco For more formal al fresco dining with friends and family members, consider combining benches with chairs around your dining table.
Above: Ikea's Ängsö series of outdoor furniture is made of solid pine and is painted either white or black/brown. Table, 80.75 inches long x 39 inches wide, $199; bench, 72.5 inches long x 13.75 inches deep, $85; armchairs, $80 each, ikea.com/ca. Bold and beautiful tabletop Melamine dinnerware and outdoor cushions are everywhere this summer, and the patterns and colours are so delicious! Mix and match them up for lots of dinnertime drama.
Above: Melamine tableware, $3 to $13; outdoor pillows, $30 for set of two; homesense.ca. Gather in the gazebo Now there's no excuse to head indoors when a little rain shower threatens the festivities. Gazebos come in all sizes and shapes and create instant outdoor rooms to protect us from the elements.
Above: Canadian Tire's Essex Collection gazebo has a black powder-coated steel frame and a heavy-duty hardtop roof that is suitable for year-round use, $1,000. Also available: curtain walls, $150; and netting, $80; canadiantire.ca. Light it up With a little help from the sun, this solar chandelier will save energy and illuminate the night in a gazebo or under a pergola.
Above: Solar gazebo chandelier, $50, canadiantire.ca.Warm up to fire bowls Stay outside a little longer on a chilly summer night and cosy up by a fire bowl alight with candles or a blazing fire.
Above: For Living Manchester Firebowl in powder-coated steel, $130, canadiantire.ca. Colourful carpets Outdoor carpets add colour, personality and the finishing touch to any outdoor room.
Above: Korhani Balfour outdoor rug in green, 11 x 16 feet, $50; and 16 x 24 feet, $70; canadiantire.ca. Don't forget the florals Grow a garden of cutting flowers and keep the fresh arrangements coming all summer long for indoors and out. [caption id="attachment_1759" align="aligncenter" width="393"] Photo by Natalia Dolan[/caption] Above: Floral designer Sarah Wu of Petite Studio in Toronto suggests placing simply stunning fresh-cut dahlias in a fish bowl vase. All we need now is sun and heat. Enjoy creating your outdoor oasis! Follow me on Twitter: @KKMe123