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The Victoria Day long weekend is almost here, and depending on what Mother Nature decides, we could be spending it indoors or out. Regardless of what happens, I’ll likely still be dreaming of picturesque outdoor settings. (I blame Pinterest and galleries like this one.) These photos show idyllic entertaining environments, but they still feature elements that many of us can try at home, too.

Okay, so we don’t all have backyards looking onto rolling hills in the countryside, but you can create a similar look with any picnic table. A tablecloth and freshly cut blooms from your own garden will give a park table a homey feel.

Scroll-like chairs make for a very pretty setting. Anthropologie’s La Versha chairs have similar, whimsical styles, but come in bright colours.

Now, how many of you have a classic parasol over your outdoor table? I do, and it’s not as nice as this one, but I can make it more chic by hanging lightweight votives from the supporting bars (on a day free of wind, please!). Would look so lovely on a summer’s eve. Also, don’t let the umbrella stop you from using a tablecloth. Crate & Barrel carries tablecloths with snaps that fit around the pole — sort of like a Christmas tree skirt. Clever!

For the super handy, stick wood poles into the ground to form a tent-shape above the table. Hang lanterns from the centre or leave as is. I’m thinking about using two of my family's fold-away work tables (you know the kind) to create a similar look. Once covered with fabric, no one will notice what's underneath. Spray mismatched chairs in a solid colour for unity.

Where did that hutch come from? And who lugged all this furniture outside? I’m not sure myself, but what I really like here are the lanterns. They are super cheap and can be hung from tree branches with or without lights inside. Mix different sizes, shapes or colours, and hang with wide ribbon.

Yellow can be so cheerful. Bold bistro chairs, a crisp white tablecloth, fresh blooms and a vase of lemons brighten up this patio. Seed packets hung with clothespins add more hits of the sunny hue.

Using floor cushions on top of a blanket is great if you’re low on chairs. Plus, they look quite comfy.

Layering flat woven rugs has an artsy feel to it. You can find cheaper used ones at flea markets and online through sites like Craigslist.

Fabrics like burlap or linen combined with mismatched vases and containers are charming and rustic. Cut fabric to the size you need and fray the ends by pulling off individual strands for a cheap no-sew alternative.

Now, let’s hope it doesn’t rain this weekend! For more inspiring outdoor settings, visit our Gorgeous Gardens photo gallery and take a look at these patios.

Photo credits:
1. The Style Files blog
2. Architectural Digest
3. Martha Stewart Living, August 2007
4. The Style Files blog, photography by Olfa Szcepaniak
5. The Style Files blog
6. The Style Files blog
7. The Style Files blog
8. Rue Magazine
9. Lucas Allen, photography by Lucas Allen

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