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Affordable outdoor accessories

Don’t let a limited budget crush your dreams of a stylish outdoor oasis. Whether you’ve got a mini, apartment-sized deck or an expansive, multi-level structure, accessorizing the great outdoors on the cheap can be fun and easy to achieve.

Start from scratch 

Snow, ice, and generally miserable weather can leave your deck looking haggard. Sharon Grech, Benjamin Moore colour design expert says to start with a deep clean. “It’s easy to rent a power washer, but you also may just want to purchase one,” says Grech. “Power-washing your deck is probably something you should do after each winter.” Once the surfaces are scrubbed clean, Grech says the easiest (and most affordable) pick-me-up is to brighten your exterior with a fresh coat of stain or paint.

Perk it up with paint (or stain) 

“I like water-based paint or stain technology because it’s so much easier to use. It’s also much simpler to clean your brushes,” she says. “Water-based solid stains are really great because they tend to disguise any stains or irregularities in the wood itself. They’re also a one-coat deal.” Grech notes that some clients prefer to begin with a basic sanding of their decks prior to re-staining, so the stain adheres better. The sanding trend has become so popular that some Benjamin Moore outlets have begun renting out sanders.

Colour your world

Grech says one big trend this year is to create a pop of colour on the deck or fence itself. “In the design world, we always used to talk about bringing the great outdoors inside, but now it’s the reverse,” she laughs. “And we are bringing the comforts of indoors to the great outside. A big part of that shift is about colour.” A recent deck project on Cityline inspired Grech to paint one section of a fence a shocking teal hue, while the rest was a simple gray. “What I love about it is that you get that tropical colour even during the winter months,” she says.

Pretty pots 

Sara Bendrick, the popular host of the DIY network’s I Hate My Yard, agrees that colour can revive a tired outdoor space. “I’m big on ceramic pots in bold colours,” enthuses Bendrick. “I like the 18” to 24” size in a bold red or canary yellow,” she says. When it comes to planting, Bendrick says you don’t need a green thumb to sustain some hearty herbs. “Mint is one of those plants that are easy to grow and look and smell gorgeous.”

Furniture upgrades 

“We’re seeing a lot of sectionals, similar to what you might imagine in a living room,” says Grech. “Acapulco chairs are also really in.” Crate and Barrel features a series of side tables that match the classic Acapulco lines. Grech also recommends Ikea’s versatile outdoor line, ÄPPLARÖ, which features solid acacia wood in a variety of arrangements. “The trend to modular pieces is great because you can position them however suits you,” she notes. It’s key to have at least one outdoor storage piece too – for toys, dishware or candles.

Outdoor art 

Both Bendrick and Grech recommend viewing empty walls and even fences as opportunities to hang some art. “Places like Ross in the States, Marshall’s, Winner’s and even Canadian Tire sell a lot of interesting iron work or clay design pieces exclusively for this purpose,” says Bendrick. Grech also uses the company Cutting Edge Stencils for interesting wall or floor designs. “Stenciling a floor pattern can even be a rug substitute,” explains Grech.

Purge old pillows 

If buying new furniture is out of the question, a quick outdoor rejuvenator is new outdoor pillows. “It’s not so much the furniture anyways,” says Bendrick. “But how you dress the pieces. New pillows are a great way to do this.” Pier One has a great selection of patio-friendly pillows, as well as most hardware and home decor stores.