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25 Thrifty Ways to Dine Outdoors This Summer
With barbecue season upon us it's all about eating al fresco! This Old House shares several ways you can spruce up your garden or patio on a budget. READ: Read This Before You Put in an Outdoor Kitchen See how creative design and clever re-purposing can transform a sliver of the outdoors into a comfortable — and affordable — area for open-air entertaining.
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Perk Up a Picnic: Easy Canopy

Drape fabric between four poles sunk in the ground for a DIY sunshade. Use tent pins to anchor lines that run from the pole tops to the lawn. Similar to shown: Taiwan bamboo poles, about $9 each; Bamboo Fencer. Instead of a custom shade, use a drop cloth. The rectangular Workforce canvas drop cloth has a water-resistant backing in case of rain, about $20; The Home Depot
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Carve Out a Courtyard: Flagstone Floor

Convert an unused portion of driveway into an inviting patio. Here, stone pavers with living green "mortar" replace a concrete parking pad. Similar to shown: MS International Santa Barbara Gold meshed flagstone, about $5.75 per square foot; The Home Depot. Foot-traffic-tough woolly thyme, about $5.50 per plant; High Country Gardens  READ: 39 Budget-Wise Ways to Create Outdoor Rooms
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Build a Backyard Retreat: Airy Gazebo

Create an instant "room" with a garden structure. This filigreed wrought-iron gazebo defines the dining space without blocking the sunset, the stars, or the breeze. Similar to shown: Iron Domed Gazebo, about $1,200; Home Garden and Patio Outlet
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Add Drama to a Simple Deck: Candle Wall

Add a trellislike backdrop on a raised platform of decking, then fill its grid with candles. Here, beefy 4x4 posts are notched where they intersect: in the front for horizontal members, in the back for vertical ones. Similar to shown: 10-foot pressure-treated pine 4x4s, about $14 each; Lowe's. Safe and windproof battery-powered, 8-inch-tall Outdoor Flameless Candles, about $15 each; Flameless Candles READ: How to Build a Fire Pit
(ThisOldHouse.com)

Accessorize Your Entertaining Area: Colorful Cushions

Add plush comfort to outdoor furniture with mildew-resistant cushions that are easy to wipe clean after meals around the coffee table. Similar to shown: 54-inch Sunbrella fabric bench cushions in Air Blue, about $75 each; Cushion Connection. 20-inch square Valencia Woodcut and Medallion pillows in assorted colors, about $32 each; Restoration Hardware
(ThisOldHouse.com)

25 Thrifty Ways to Dine Outdoors This Summer

With barbecue season upon us it's all about eating al fresco! This Old House shares several ways you can spruce up your garden or patio on a budget. READ: Read This Before You Put in an Outdoor Kitchen See how creative design and clever re-purposing can transform a sliver of the outdoors into a comfortable — and affordable — area for open-air entertaining.

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