Nothing jolts you into taking a fresh look at your outdoor living area faster than inviting guests over for your first patio party of the season. As usual, the get-together was my bright idea.
“We can sit outside and light the firepit,” I blurt to several business colleagues that I was inviting over for dinner. Because they had come to Orlando for a conference from colder places, including Montana, Illinois, New Jersey and Massachusetts, I thought I would treat them to a spring evening al fresco in Florida.
Me and my big fat mouth, I think as I survey my outdoor living area and notice all that I’d been conveniently ignoring: The furniture cushions wore a layer of dust and pollen. Cobwebs hung in the candle lanterns like vestiges of Halloween. Mold and algae blossomed on the wood trim. A deserted bird nest clung in the eaves. And when