Let’s Get Your Outdoor Space Ready for Summer

From a projector to an effective mosquito management system, here's what you’ll need for all activities al fresco.

Welcome to Someone Buy This!, a monthly shopping column featuring the fun, the frivolous, and the practical from a very discerning shopper.

We’ve finally reached that time of year where the ratio of time spent indoors to outdoors starts to even out (at least in places with seasons). It’s time to rinse off whatever slice of the outdoors you’re able to call your own and prepare it for drinks, lounging, or even a movie night. After tending to a little backyard in Brooklyn for the last five years, I’ve learned a thing or two about outdoor decor and little game-changing gadgets to make your precious sun time stress free.

An outdoor sectional that works in any size space

The thing no one tells you about outdoor sofas is that, the nicer and more expensive it is, the more you’ll lose sleep over it. The stress of the upkeep begins to outweigh the actual enjoyment you get from lounging on your outdoor sofa on a sunny day. Outdoor furniture should be reasonably priced, easy on the eyes, comfortable and flexible.

Ikea JUTHOLMEN 3-seat Modular Sofa


Stretch out and relax in this modular sofa combination where the stool creates a chaise on one side. Maintenance-free plastic rattan and fade-resistant cushions with anti-slip make life easier.

This Ikea modular sofa checks all those boxes, and I’m writing so enthusiastically about it because I owned it for a few years while I had outdoor space in Brooklyn. I worried about how this sofa would stand up to the elements but it really impressed me. All it needed was springtime hose-down and an occasional cushion cover wash. The soda is modular, so it’s perfect for any size space. One to two pieces would be great on a balcony, or you could build out a full conversation pit in a larger yard. The pieces are light and easy to move, giving you the flexibility to change up the layout whenever you want.

Outdoor rugs are a scam, unless…

Listen to me very closely: outdoor rugs are a scam unless they are waterproof (ie: made of rubber or plastic). I often see retailers list fabric and jute rugs as outdoor rugs and it’s upsetting. Unless you have some sort of enclosure, they’re going to get wet and will be impossible to clean. There are lots of waterproof options but I will sort them into two basic categories: Astroturf and woven plastic. I’m personally fond of the former and used it on my patio for years.

AYOHA 4' x 6' (24 Square ft) Artificial Grass


This healthy solution to dying, messy natural grass is perfect for any type of yard! New flooring inside your new gym? No problem! New turf for your high school football field? No need for an installation crew! This versatile turf can solve any flooring eye sores or issues. It can be installed by you, at home with no help necessary! Either glue or artificial turf seam tape can used for application of your landscape. Pile height is 35mm, 75 oz/Sq Yard. 4 tone patterns are soft, lush and looks just like natural grass, providing you with year-round green and turf enjoyment. Two-layer backing, anti-aged PP weave cloth with net non- woven cloth (PP cloth produced by DUBAI). PE "U" model straight yarn with PP curly yarn design. Our back coating uses styrene-butadiene rubber latex (imported from Belgium) prevents leaking and provides drainage during the rainy seasons.

 I recommend this brand, which sells a variety of sizes on Amazon. The "blades" of "grass" are longer and they use different shades of green and brown, making it look more realistic. Clean it with a deck brush and your favorite cleaner (I’m a Krud Kutter girlie) and you’re good to go. Apartment-dwellers can even cut a little piece to fit their fire escape.

If you prefer a rug that looks more like, well, a rug, woven plastic is the move. There’s a lot out there but I think Fab Habitats has the best selection for most design aesthetics. I love this reversible one with abstract shapes and this blue one that resembles something you’d see inside. These woven plastic rugs work in indoor, high-traffic areas, too!

Fab Habitat Serowe Black & White Tribal Outdoor Rug


Add interest and intrigue to any outdoor space with this Serowe Tribal Double-Sided Outdoor Rug! Made from premium recycled plastic, this Fab Habitat outdoor rug is adorned with a distinct tribal pattern in black and white hues. Its texture and dimension make it perfect for everyday living. Plus, this design is double-sided, so you can flip it over to reveal the same design with a white pattern and subtle black background. Its versatile design allows it to work well in any space, especially your patio, deck, porch, or balcony. You could even bring it indoors to high-traffic areas like your laundry room. For a simple clean-up, simply rinse off the rug with a hose and mild detergent to keep it looking its best.

Fab Habitat Brooklyn Blue Abstract Outdoor Rug


Made from premium recycled plastic, this Brooklyn Blue Abstract Outdoor Rug is the classic, durable piece that’s exactly what your outdoor space is missing! Shades of navy and beige come together to create an abstract design that’s equal parts bold and beautiful—making it an elegant choice for any patio, deck, porch, balcony, and beyond. But why leave all the fun outside? You can even bring it indoors to a laundry room or mudroom for a family-friendly addition that’s super easy to clean. The waterproof, fade resistant, and crease-free Fab Habitat outdoor rug can be rinsed off with a hose to remove dirt or stains.

Hit the lights

Outdoor String Lights, 50 ft


RTTY outdoor lights are made of high-quality material and advanced waterproof & shatterproof technology, which is safe, durable, practical and flexible, and can meet the needs of various occasions.

I don’t know if there’s a better outdoor lighting option than shatter-proof globe lights. They provide a nice glow and are really flexible. My last apartment had an outdoor outlet but it was not connected to a switch, meaning I had to plug and unplug the lights every time I wanted to use them. I did, however, have a wall mounted light fixture on a switch. I found this little adapter that turns a light bulb socket into a plug and bam, my globe lights were switch-operated and my life was changed.

 Do not get eaten alive! 

Thermacell Mosquito Repellent Lantern


Thermacell Mosquito Repellent Patio Shield Lantern creates a 15-foot zone of protection against mosquitoes. With a functional light feature, it’s ideal for nighttime recreation on the deck, by the firepit, and more. No cords or hassle. Powered by a safe and compact 12-hour fuel cartridge (included). Emits scent-free repellent that drives away mosquitoes. Independent light feature uses 4 AAA batteries (not included).

Summer nights are beautiful until the mosquitoes come out to feast on your blood. Aside from DEET-heavy bug spray, this Thermacell mosquito lamp is the only thing that actually keeps those annoying little freaks away. They cover a 15-foot radius and are portable, so you can move them wherever you need protection. This makes them great additions to your camping gear if that’s something you like to do for fun.

Speaking of eating…

Lancaster Table & Seating Outdoor Table with Chairs


Allow your guests to enjoy the breezy summer weather with this Lancaster Table & Seating 32" x 60" yellow powder-coated aluminum standard height outdoor table with umbrella hole and 4 side chairs! Designed specifically for outdoor use, this combo makes an excellent addition to restaurants, bar patios, and other outdoor entertainment areas such as banquets and luaus. Their lightweight construction allows you to easily move them around your outdoor setting for the best possible view. Your guests will love the opportunity to enjoy the temperate weather with the convenience and comfort of this table!

Christopher Knight Home Santa Monica Outdoor 3-Piece Oval Bistro Chat Set


Dine in style and have an enjoyable experience outside with this 3-piece bistro set from Christopher Knight Home. Each piece is constructed with a durable iron frame and polished with a protective coating to hold up to the elements. This set has handcrafted detailing and includes two chairs and a table for immediate use upon arrival.

One of my favorite things about spring and summer is outdoor drinking and dining. I think outdoor dining sets are a must if you have the space. I love this matte pink bistro set and its little pill-shaped table. It’s compact-enough for a smaller space, like a balcony, but roomy enough for two people to have a nice meal. If you have more room PLEASE get this bright yellow dining set so I can live vicariously through you.

What’re we putting on the table? Shatter-proof drink and dinnerware, obviously. Anthropologie is my favorite place to shop for outdoor drinkware. I love these acrylic mini goblets and their matching highball glasses. They’re dishwasher safe and stackable for easy storage. For larger gatherings and parties, I recommend getting an acrylic drink dispenser. They’re great for boozy and none-boozy punches or just plain old water.

Lucia Acrylic Goblet Wine Glasses


Perfect for patio and pool, these glasses are made of a durable acrylic for worry-free use indoors and outdoors.

Claro Acrylic Drink Dispenser


Crafted of worry-free acrylic, this drink dispenser is a festive necessity for outdoor occasions and casual gatherings. The clear dispenser shows off infused water, lemonade, punch and wine, while allowing you to easily spot when a refill is needed. A spigot ensures a perfect pour every time, and when it's time to add more liquid or ice, simply lift the lid. Elevate the Claro dispenser with any of our bases for extra elegance and accessibility.

This enamel tray, part of a new collaboration between Poketo and Crow Canyon Home, is great for holding outdoor snacks. And when it’s time for the main meal, whip out these melamine plates that look like real ceramic dishes.

Poketo Rectangle Tray


Serve in style or add a statement piece to your space with this fun, versatile serveware. We’ve created the ultimate multifunctional piece in collaboration with Crow Canyon Home. Go from serving drinks and snacks to baking cookies or showing off trinkets without missing a beat. Poketo patterns bring a pop of modern to elegant enamelware that’s art in its own right. Dimensions: 11.25 in. x 9 in. Dishwasher- and oven-safe Porcelain enamel on steel base

Throw a movie night

Now that I’ve shown the way to cozy and mosquito-free outdoor evenings, you’re ready to host a movie night. This little projector is one of my all-time favorite purchases. It’s so easy to set up—plug in a Chromecast or Fire Stick, point the projector towards a wall, fence or big sheet and you’ve got your own outdoor theater.

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