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Uncommon opinion: Fall is just as ideal, if not better, for lounging on the deck as summer is. Hear us out. When it gets crisp outside, you can kick back on the patio wrapped in a cozy throw with a good book or host an impromptu dinner party in the warm glow of the firepit. Not so much when it’s 80 degrees and humid.

With a few thoughtful swaps—and one clever DIY—you can easily transform your backyard into the ultimate spot for autumn hangouts. Read on for our foolproof guide to squeezing out every last bit of your time outdoors.

A Warm Welcome

First things first: You need maximum comfort, whether your space is big or small. Pair your weatherproof sofa and coffee table with lots of soft goods—think patterned area rugs and textured pillows that can do double duty as floor seating in a pinch.

Chilled-Out Planters

Mix and match your summer vessels with a few newcomers for a lineup that highlights the signature hues of the season, such as earthy terracotta pots and minimalist planters in cooler tones.

Beverage Dispenser, Pitcher and Glasses Photography by Heather Moore

A Libation Station That’s So Much More

Is your current setup working hard enough for you? Take a cue from this inspired scene and transform a large rectangular planter into a living bar cart. Place two cutting boards, side by side, on one half of the container, reserving the other half for your greenery. Use it for herbs so you can cut some and drop them directly into your neighboring cocktail. Spicy margs with a freshly picked garnish, anyone? Top the surface with a compartmentalized basket to keep linens and flatware organized and within easy reach.

Outdoor Furniture photo
Better Homes & Gardens Outdoor Melamine Anda Salad Serving Set, Walmart ($16)

A Mellow Tablescape

Let the naturally rich colors of fall favorites like butternut squash salad and cranberry-infused refreshments—we’re making this gin-forward Cape Cod Royale punch—shine with lightly textured linens and simple tableware in soft shades of gray and blue.

String globe lights Photography by Heather Moore

The Finishing Touch

String a set of globe lights around the seating area for a glow that makes everyone look good—and ready to relish in the spirit of the season.

Steel Chiminea Photography by Heather Moore

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