No greenery in your backyard? No problem. Cluster potted tropical plants in an array of heights to add verdant appeal. Look for plants that will thrive outdoors all summer long, such as fiddle-leaf fig trees and dramatic elephant ear plants.
When it comes to arranging your flowers, “don’t be afraid—just go for it,” says floral designer Caitlin Bolton of Northern Blush Floral in Alliston, Ont. Bolton, who works with local Ontario flower growers to create unexpected combinations—such as mixing hand-dyed palm fans with delicate anemones and roses—encourages people to celebrate the unusual.
Flickering candlelight is an inexpensive way to add atmosphere to an outdoor patio. There’s no such thing as too many candles; mix and match different styles of candle holders. A simple scattering of tea lights in small jars on table surfaces also works wonders.
As tempting as it may be to use paper napkins, fabric cocktail napkins are a sustainable and elegant choice. Look for prewashed napkins in a linen and cotton blend—they can be screen-printed with a logo or any message you want, and the slightly rumpled look doesn’t require ironing.