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Tips for a Summer-Ready Patio

Although summer doesn’t officially begin until mid-June, Memorial Day marks the unofficial arrival of summer.

Our patio is a favorite spot for relaxing and entertaining and today I’m sharing tips for getting a patio summer-ready.

Patio overlooking a lake with candles and a glass bowl filled with lemons.

Today’s summer-ready patio is part of a monthly Pinterest Challenge hosted by Cindy of County Road 407. Each month Cindy selects a picture from Pinterest and challenges our group to create our own version of the look.

Many thanks to Cindy for hosting this challenge!

If you arrived here from Decor to Adore, welcome!

Our Inspiration for this Challenge

This month we were challenged to create a summer porch inspired by this one decorated by Bria Hammel Interiors.

Summer Front Porch

Isn’t this a beautiful porch?

Things I notice from this inspiration picture are:

  • Loads of plants
  • Comfortable furniture with pillows anchored by a rug
  • A bar cart ready for porch entertaining.

My Version of Our Inspiration

I don’t have a large front or back porch, but I do have a patio that we love to enjoy in spring, summer, and fall.

Like Bria’s gorgeous porch, my patio has a comfortable area to sit with a beautiful view.

Lake house patio with furniture and a sewing table upcycled into an outdoor bar

Our patio overlooks beautiful Smith Mountain Lake and if you don’t want to sit or swing on the patio, you can relax on our deck in one of our handcrafted Adirondack chairs.

Patio and Deck at Smith Mountain Lake house

Tips for a Summer-Ready Patio

We love our patio and often eat dinner on it and then linger until the sun goes down.

Comfortable Furniture

Any outdoor space needs comfortable furniture for relaxing. Our sofa, chairs, and coffee table came as a set from Sam’s.

A very similar set is available this year at Sam’s, either in-store or by ordering on-line.

Our swing is a DIY project made with just eight 2×4 boards.

Lake house patio

A few years ago my mom gave me money for my birthday and I used it to help to purchase this patio set.

Speaking of birthdays, today is my 51st birthday! When you have cancer, every birthday is both a milestone and a gift. I’ll spend my birthday celebrating at the lake.

Like the inspiration photo, our patio has plenty of comfortable places to sit to relax.

Outdoor Rug

An outdoor rug not only anchors a space visually, it feels wonderful underfoot.

Summer ready patio at Smith Mountain Lake

Our rug is three years old and I thought that I would have to replace it this year. After vacuuming it and cleaning it with my carpet cleaner, it’s good enough to use for another season.

When I do replace this rug, I plan to buy one that is a bit larger. This one was an inexpensive one from Walmart.


Pillows make a sofa or chair extra cozy and comfortable.

Pillows and a throw on a sofa on a lake house patio

The blue pillows came with the sofa and the orange ones are $5 pillows found in the outdoor section of Walmart a few years ago.

The pillows on the swing were made from a shower curtain that used to be in our master bathroom.

Pillow cover made using a shower curtain.

Our inspiration picture showed lots of pillows and I love the cozy look that pillows give to an outdoor space.

Cozy Throw

Once the sun goes down, the temperature at the lake can be cool. A cozy throw makes it possible to continue to enjoy being outdoors.

Lake house patio

This throw is from Ikea and is lightweight and incredibly soft.

If you are noticing that my rug isn’t perfectly clean, you are right.

When I started cleaning it, I realized that the container of carpet cleaner that I brought from home was actually drain cleaner.

The drain cleaner didn’t hurt my rug or my carpet but since I didn’t have carpet cleaner with me, the carpet was just cleaned with water. (Lots of water to rinse out the drain cleaner. Oops!)

Tiki Torches and Candles to Keep Insects Away

Once the sun starts to set, biting insects like to make their appearance.

Citronella candles and Tiki torches help to keep the insects at bay.

Citronella candles in Mason jars with a bowl of lemons all with a lake view

I buy Citronella scented candles in bulk and burn them in small Mason jars.

Citronella candles in Mason jars with twine tied around the rim

Tiki torches line our patio and along with repelling insects, they look pretty.

Tiki torches lit besides a patio on Smith Mountain Lake

Our deck is not only enjoyed by humans, it’s enjoyed by dogs. Sherman loves to lie on the cool concrete.

Sherman Skulina relaxing on a patio with Tiki torches

Sherman’s lake girlfriend, Clementine, often comes over to visit him.

Dogs on a patio at Smith Mountain Lake

Plants and Flowers

Our inspiration picture showed a porch filled with plants and flowers.

Since we don’t live at the lake, I don’t add planters to my patio as they wouldn’t get watered when we are not there and the plants would quickly die.

To add interest to our coffee table, I added a vintage oyster can filled with flowering branches cut along the roadside in our neighborhood.

Flowers on a patio in a vintage oyster can with candles and a bowl of lemons

The vintage oyster can used to be on display at my mom’s beach house.

When she sold the house, somehow I ended up with her oyster can collection. You can see more of Mama’s vintage oyster cans here.

Add a Pop of Color

Lemons in one of my grandmother’s cut glass bowls add a pop of color to our coffee table.

Summer ready patio on a lake

Add a Bar for Entertaining

A bar cart or actual bar is great for outdoor entertaining.

We have neither but we do have an outdoor bar that we made using an old sewing machine table.

Outdoor patio with a bar made from an old sewing machine table

A faux fern in a milk glass compote decorates the outdoor bar.

A pitcher of lemonade is ready to be enjoyed.

Lemonade ready to be served on an outdoor bar with glasses and a fern in a milk glass vase.

The pitcher is from my friend’s dad’s basement bar. After he died, my friend passed it on to me.

When we made the bar, we replaced the sewing machine with a dishpan that holds ice and drinks.

Iced down beer in a bar made from an old sewing table.

Final Look

I am looking forward to many summer nights spent on our patio enjoying our pretty view.

Summer ready patio at a lake house

The Evolution of Our Patio

If you want to see more of our patio, you may enjoy these posts:

More Porches and Patios to Enjoy

Many thanks to Cindy for organizing this fun monthly challenge!

Next is Kristin of White Arrows Home who is joining the Pinterest Challenge for the first time. Kristin lives in a gorgeous log cabin on a Wisconsin lake and decorates with incredible vintage style. Be sure to visit her today!

Click on the links below to visit each blogger who is sharing their version of our summer porch inspiration photo.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


  1. Paula, great fresh ideas. I’ve enjoyed going back and following your homes progress. Your lake residence is beautiful and well deserved.
    Happy birthday

    1. Thank you, Laura! I love to sit in that swing, especially in the evening as the sun goes down.

  2. Paula what a gorgeous porch and view! I have to say I also LOVE your bar cart. I currently have an old sewing machine cabinet and it’s about to get a makeover. Thank you for the inspiration!

    1. Thank you, Laura! That bar cart is so useful when we have guests and the guests always have to examine it to see how we made it. I hope your project turns out great!


  3. I wrote a comment on your FB page, but I have to add that the Sewing machine bar is priceless!

    1. Thank you, Joan! Not many people want a sewing table these days and this is a great way to repurpose one.


  4. Paula your view of the lake is awesome. I would be on your cozy porch all day if not out on the water. So relaxing. Love how you have it decorated.

    1. Thank you, Terrie! It is our happy place and we enjoy being out there as much as possible.


  5. I love this porch! I would sit out here all day on this comfy sofa or on the swing and take in those lake views! I love the bar you made! What a great idea!!! Happy Birthday!! So fun to hop with you! I’m always inspired!

    1. Thank you, Kristin! There’s nothing like relaxing while enjoying a water view. I had a great birthday!


  6. Happy Birthday Paula! I adore your patio! I think I’d hang out there ALL DAY LONG! Love the comfy seating and that swing is perfect! Well, not as perfect as handsome Sherman and his girlfriend! So cute! Thank you so much for joining in. I always love what you do. Pinned!

    1. Thank you, Cindy! I couldn’t resist adding a few Sherman pictures to my post. He enjoys our patio as much as we do. It’s the perfect spot to watch his dock for any geese who might dare to land on it. If they do, he takes off like a bandit to chase them away.


  7. Happy B-Day Paula! You have a gorgeous view of the lake and the perfect spot to relax all day. Love the oyster can for flower arrangements and the impromptu fold out bar looks great on your patio. Well actually I just love it all!

    1. Thank you, Michelle! The oyster cans my mom had were perfect for decorating the space above her beach cottage kitchen cabinets. Since this one has a boat on it, I thought that it kind of had a lake vibe, so I decided to try it out and I love how it looks. It’s been in my basement, so I was glad to find a new way to enjoy using it.


    1. Thank you, Katie! We so much enjoy relaxing on our patio while enjoying the lake view.


  8. What an absolutely gorgeous and relaxing place, Paula! You and hubby’s hard work is definitely paying off! You deserve a Birthday at the lake! There’s nothing like looking out at that serene water:) Now I want to head to our cabin!

    1. Thank you, Lora! We love being at the lake. There’s nothing like relaxing while looking at water.


  9. Happy birthday Paula. Hope it is a wonderful day for you. I know how much you treasure every day .You really had a lot of rain . Glad everything didn’t keep flooding and has went down some now. Hope you didn’t loose a lot of food at home when your fridge went out . That happened to me once when we were out of town. What a mess we came home to. Had to throw everything away and buy a new fridge . Your patio is beautiful. Would enjoy many hours out there on that swing enjoying the view. Have a nice day.

    1. Thank you, Yarlette! I had a wonderful birthday! Our refrigerator still isn’t fixed but a repair person is scheduled to come this morning. I hope it can be fixed, but if not, we’ll just bite the bullet and buy a new one. If it is fixed, it gives me a good opportunity to thoroughly clean the inside before I restock it. Just to be safe, I’m throwing most everything that was in it away. Luckily, it wasn’t too full.


    1. Thank you, Marty! It is a pleasure to sit on that patio to enjoy the lake view. It is definitely our happy place.


  10. Hi Paula

    Everything is pretty and the oyster tin is amazing! You have many family treasures which I have said before.


  11. So much I love about this–the view, of course, but the swing is gorgeous and your dad’s pitcher, now that’s awesome!! Hope you are having a wonderful birthday. I read your cancer post and had a pit in my stomach because as you were being diagnosed with lung cancer, I was going through chemotherapy for breast cancer. I know first hand about being appreciative for every birthday! So celebrate!!!!

    1. I had a wonderful birthday, Pamela! You know exactly how meaningful each one is once cancer has invaded your body. I am sorry that you had to go through breast cancer treatment and I hope and pray that your health is good now.


  12. That view of the lake looks so incredibly relaxing and just dreamy, Paula! I’d love to stay at a place like that. I love the photo overlooking the lake with the citronella candles. You did an incredible job on this post. I had about 5 things I wanted to mention, from Sherman’s lakeside girlfriend to the amazing DIY swing and that sewing table I still love. Beautiful job on everything, and Happy, Happy Birthday to you, my friend! Each year is a blessing indeed!

    1. Thank you, Crissy! The lake is my happy place and being there is good for my mental health. Sherman also loves being there and when it is time to go home, he pouts like a child as we tell him to get into the car.


  13. Paula, this is my first visit to Virginia Sweet Pea, thanks to #CharmingHomesAndGardens linkup. Came for the name, stayed for the style! I would feel so at-home and content on your gorgeous patio. I feel so inspired, maybe this will be the year I give our patio a makeover.

  14. Paula, you’ve put A LOT of work into your lake house and it shows!!! The back porch is wonderful and you can’t beat the view… I’m glad your pup has a friend who comes over to visit. That sure makes our dogs happy, doesn’t it? Knowing they have someone else to play with. <3

    Sams does have nice patio furniture and I look at their selections every spring…

    Enjoy your wonderful patio and happiest of birthdays!!! Each year is a gift, so true. <3 I hope you'll read through my Memorial Day post…

    Many hugs,
    Barb 🙂

  15. Happy Birthday, Paula!!! May God bless your year and bless you with many more! I would love to come visit you on your porch! It is as beautiful as the view my friend! Your DIY swing is amazing! What a great project and that is where I’d be sitting from morning to evening!!!!
    Much love to you on our 51st birthday!

  16. Happy Birthday, sweet friend! I hope it was fabulous. Your lakeside porch is so pretty and cheery. I love the cozy outdoor wicker. We bought an outdoor set at Sam’s this year and love it. Sherman sure has a cute girlfriend. Too funny on the drain cleaner. It sounds like something that I’d do!

  17. Happy belated birthday Paula, and blessing for many more to come.

    I’m most definitely sitting in the swing and just staring out at the water. I feel calm just thinking about it.


  18. Hi, Paula! Happy belated birthday! Such a beautiful place to spend the summer! So sorry to learn about your cancer diagnosis – I went through treatment for breast cancer in 2017 (when I was 50). Wishing you all the best as you go through your treatment.

  19. Paula, love your lake patio. I so miss visiting my daughter’s in~law’ lake home in north Georgia this year. You have done a great job of making your outdoor space comfortable and pleasant for humans and dogs alike. And Happy Birthday sweet friend. I hope that you had a wonderful day.

  20. That view is breathtaking, Paula! You’ve created the perfect spot to take it all in. The seating area looks so cozy and inviting. I love the bar that you made from a vintage sewing table…that is so clever! It all must look amazing at night with the candles and tiki torches burning. That’s so cute that Sherman has a lake girlfriend! She looks like a friendly dog. Happy Birthday, my friend. I hope you had a wonderful day!

  21. Happy Birthday, Paula! I hope you were able to enjoy some time on your beautiful patio! It looks like it is ready for summertime! Pinned!

  22. What an absolutely beautiful patio. I feel relaxed just looking at it. I’ve featured it today at the TFT party. Congrats!

  23. My wife and I have been planning to get an outdoor patio area installed in our house and we want to know what kind of design choices there are for them. I loved your example of using a rug on the patio for comfortable walking spaces and a touch of style because my aunt recently gifted us with a lot of antique rugs that I think would be perfect for this application. I’ll be sure to keep all your tips in mind while looking for building materials like patio covers so we can have a successful project. Thank you!

  24. Hi, Paula. I am new here tonight. I found you while searching Pinterest for Porch to Indoor Space transformations. I love what you did with your porch. So I took a peek through your blog and found a lot of other things I love. Your porch at the lake house looks so relaxing. It’s been a few years since I’ve been to Smith Mountain Lake, but I have many fond memories. My hubby and I are both VA Tech grads and our daughters went to Lynchburg and VA Tech. Virginia is so beautiful! Ok, sorry; I got chatty. It’s the Valentine’s Day chocolate making its way through my blood! Anyway… we do a lot of outdoor living up here in Clifton and I’m always redoing our patio to make it as cozy and comfortable as possible. Love that you use Mason jars for the citronella candles. Do you mind telling me what size those are? They seem just perfect. I’m going to look you up on FB. Hope that you’re doing well. I look forward to getting to know you better. Cheers, Anabell

    1. I am so glad that you discovered my blog, Anabell, and I hope you will keep visiting. I’m also a VT grad and we live in Lynchburg, so you and I have some things in common. The Mason jars are tiny, I’m not sure of their exact size, but they hold a votive candle perfectly.

      Here is a link to my blog’s Facebook page:

      If you care to subscribe to my blog which means you’ll receive an email every time I post, you can sign up here:

      Thank you so much for commenting. You made my day!


  25. I always love the post you share from the lake. I relax just looking through the pictures!
    Thanks for adding this touch of calm to the FWF link party!

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