Perfecting your patio for your summer staycation.

The summer season is almost upon us, and in the past, that would have meant holiday weekend getaways or maybe a family vacation. But with coronavirus sticking around like that sunburn you got last Labor Day weekend, summer 2020 will require us all to get a little more creative.

And while cities are beginning to reopen parks, trails and beaches, many of us are now looking for some less-crowded alternatives that are closer to home. Fortunately, many of us have a small balcony or patio. Sometimes an afterthought because it can’t be or isn’t used all year long, the space offers plenty of possibilities thanks to clever balcony decoration ideas.

If you’re looking for somewhere relaxing to unwind at night or sip coffee on a Sunday morning, these ideas for balcony decorations will help transform your outdoor area into the perfect summer staycation destination.

What are the possibilities?

OK, right off the top, check your lease or with your landlord so you know what you can — and what you can’t — have on your patio. Many buildings ban things like small fire pits or grills because of fire hazards.

Also, make sure you measure your space. And for those days when you want the breeze to come in, but not the bugs, consider picking up a removable screen door. You find one online or from the hardware store for about $20 and you’ll add a breezy flow to your living room.

1. Less is more

You don’t need much to make your balcony a peaceful place to relax. Whatever you’re thinking, keep it simple. Make sure any furniture you put out there can be stacked up and moved away safely either in an exterior storage closet or inside your home.

Some buildings will ask tenants to move their outdoor furniture inside during tornado warnings, etc. You don’t want things like window boxes or end tables flying off your balcony in bad weather.

This summer may not be the year to drop a few hundred bucks on a conversation set for your outdoor space since no one will be entertaining a whole lot this summer. So, consider a small bistro set and some of your favorite potted plants for a calm and relaxing space.

2. Tailor your space to your likes

What makes you feel relaxed? Does the sight of fresh colorful flowers calm you? Or do you prefer a beach or mountain scene? You can re-create almost any aesthetic you want on your patio.

If you like a remote mountain cabin vibe, consider some low wooden Adirondack chairs and a fire pit. If you’re going for more of an urban oasis vibe, consider one big comfy chair and a small table surrounded by plants and flowers. Is the beach more your scene? Consider a small outdoor rug, turf tiles or outdoor bamboo tiles to mimic the look of sand. Word of warning about those bamboo tiles, though. They may not be a great idea if the summers are especially humid where you live. Sustained, intense, direct heat and high humidity could cause those tiles to buckle or warp.

3. Keeping it green

We’ve already touched on this, but let’s get more into your newly-discovered green thumb. If you’ve never been a plant parent before (or if you’ve killed every fern you’ve had), you should just keep this simple.

Start with a window box of some cooking staples: Rosemary, basil and thyme. Take a trip to a garden center and pick up some low maintenance plants that work best for your summer climate. If your patio gets lots of direct sunlight, consider sunflowers or coreopsis. Plants like hibiscus and lavender also do well in high sunlight.

If you want something more colorful, consider some great perennial flowers like peonies, Russian sage, painted daisies or lilies.

Shop around and see what your garden center offers and ask their experts how best to care for your new garden. Some will need more watering and shade than others.

4. Make it a screen-free zone

Like everyone else these days, you’re probably working from home. And part of the problem of working from home is sometimes your work leaves your workspace and starts to encroach on your personal living space. You start working at your desk and move to the couch. Then maybe you do a little bit of work in bed.

It may seem convenient, but it’s definitely not healthy. This space is supposed to serve as your oasis, so make it a rule: Unless you’re using it to listen to music or do something else relaxing, leave your devices inside.

5. Get outside!

After you’ve made your outdoor space your own, the last thing (and perhaps most important) is to actually use it!

It can be easy to improve your patio and then tell yourself, “There’s plenty of time, it’s not even officially summer yet.” Don’t save this space for a special occasion. Make the occasion special by spending it outdoors at home.

Read a book or flip through a magazine in the evenings when it’s not too hot. Sunlight is the best light for selfies, so why not take that Zoom happy hour call to the patio and get some Vitamin D while you’re being social?

Don’t let coronavirus ruin your summer

We were all looking forward to summer. After a long, hard, gray winter, we wanted to spend more time outside with friends, socializing in the sun. And you can still do some of those things — responsibly and safely.

You don’t have to lock yourself away all summer and stay indoors. You can (and should) spend some time outside while keeping your distance and staying close to home. And sprucing up your outdoor space with some balcony decorations is a great way to start.

Stop by The Addison on Long Bayou for a tour!