How to create the perfect patio for entertaining outdoors

High end outdoor furniture

Don't be afraid to spend a little money on luxury furniture for your patio or deck. It not only looks beautiful, but lasts a lot longer than discount brands.

Here are a few of the best quality outdoor furniture manufacturers. See which brands inspire you and compare the materials and warrantees to find what works for you.

Take the time to consider the climate and environmental requirements of your space. Outdoor materials not only look different, but woods, metals and plastics each have their strengths and weaknesses in dealing with sun, rain and other weather factors. For example, synthetic all-weather wicker is a new durable alternative to traditional plant-based weaves - it looks great and requires very little upkeep. Taking care of your patio furniture also helps it last longer.

Luxury patio umbrella

Relaxing outdoors is difficult when the sun is too hot or the glare is unbearable. More importantly, you need something that will protect you from ultraviolet rays. There are a variety of sun shades out there, made from materials with varying degrees of sun protection, such as cabanas, shade sails and pavilions. However, buying a high end patio umbrella is a great investment that can last years.

But which outdoor umbrella is right for your patio, deck or pool area? Here's an insightful resource to help you evaluate the physical, environmental and aesthetic considerations for buying a patio umbrella.

Premium outdoor fireplace

A great fireplace goes a long way toward creating a warm and welcoming outdoor entertainment space. Even in the summer, the evenings can get a little chilly and who doesn't like the glow of a warm fire at night? There are many great fire pits or fireplaces to consider. One of the best brands is EcoSmart Fire. Their bio-ethanol fireplaces are smokeless, odorless and provide a beautiful accent to your outdoor area.

Party planning

Once you've got your lounge furniture, shade and heating taken care of, you should take a some time to plan out the festivities. A little planning helps to ensure that your event goes off without a hitch. Here are some helpful ideas from Cafe Mom.

Protect your yard and guests

In order to fully enjoy your time outdoors, be sure to take the necessary steps to ensure that your home (including patio furniture, deck, etc.) and yard are safeguarded against damage, disease and discoloration from unwanted pests. Keep everything clean and well-maintained, so that bugs and rodents aren't attracted to your backyard or pool area.