At Home: Get your outdoor scene war-weather ready (part 1) | Lifestyle

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.

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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

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