As evenings in Orange County grow long and warm, and the coastal mood relaxes into summer, it’s time to take the fun outdoors. There’s no better way to spruce up your backyard, deck or patio entertaining space than with bold, playful or themed accessories.

This year’s hot outdoor design trends are about easy-care, nautical colors, such as navy or indigo blue, mixed with crisp whites or neutrals, says Roger’s Gardens’ Lifestyle and Production Manager Christopher Nichols. Entertaining spaces start with simple beige, white or gray are accented with “pops” of color and bold graphics.

“For being so near the water and ocean here in Orange County, a lot of homeowners are constantly near the beach,” Nichols said. “They have pools and boats and love the nautical feel. My goal is to help them give their outdoor patio space a twist by not just using plain blue and white, but help them update the nautical look with graphic pillow prints that make a stronger, more modern statement.”

Here are Nichols’ tips for creating that “Wow!” factor in your outdoor patio area:

  1. Introduce color and create excitement with outdoor pillows. Stunning outdoor pillows, which can withstand the elements, food and pets for years at a time, are available at Roger’s Gardens in chevron, mitered and floral patterns, as well as solids. “Pillows from Elaine-Smith are made for real living since she combines unique styles and patterns and you can mix and match them and get a one-of-a-kind look,” he said.
  2. Always include mood lighting, for evenings on the patio use string lights, recessed lighting, hurricane lamps, or candles. Nichols’ word of caution: “I think sometimes people try to overdo. I always advise everyone to go back after you set a space and edit at least one thing. You want it to be comfortable and inviting; you don’t want it to be blinding to people.”
  3. Never underestimate your place settings and stemware. Melamine, made with composite acrylics that mimic ceramic and come in a variety of color and style combinations, is the perfect outdoor dinnerware. Nichols believes it’s fine to use some of your indoor tableware to augment your outdoor accouterments, which also creates a more personal feel. “Don’t be afraid to mix it up, as long as you stick to similar color tones,” he says.
  1. Create a theme with decorative accessories. For a classic summer look, bring out your some of your interior collections to the outdoors, things such as vases, candles, and vintage bottles, etc… “You are trying to create a theme that looks casual, but tells a cohesive story,” Nichols said. Cluster your home décor pieces on tabletops and other surfaces into themed vignettes, which serve as mood-setting focal points that spark conversation.
  1. Include accessories in your decorating budget.When it comes to your accessories, don’t be afraid to invest in some timeless home décor pieces you can use season after season. “You always want to pick a classic style, even for accessories,” he said. “For example, clusters of two or three hurricane lamps will always look amazing around a pool or on the patio.”
  2. Never forget the perfect accent to provide flair and finish to your outdoor space—fresh cut flowers. Whether they are from your garden or Roger’s Gardens Floral Studio, bouquets of summer flowers, such as hydrangeas, viburnum and roses, add that personal touch.