Summer by the Yard: 6 Ways to Transform Your Favorite Outdoor Spaces with Performance Fabrics
Highly durable and divinely low-maintenance, performance fabrics are a natural choice for outfitting your al fresco spaces in both style and comfort. Embrace the material's softness, strength, and seemingly limitless patterns—and do everything outdoors for the next three months. Take this dream outdoor space, for example: A second-story porch becomes a dreamy extra room, thanks to UV-shielding curtains that diffuse light without obscuring views. A tension rod between support beams is all you need to get the hang of it.
Shop Now: Ballard Design Indoor/Outdoor Curtain in White, from $159, ballarddesigns.com.
Nothing stretches out a Saturday like grabbing a cold drink and a good book and plopping down on a portable throw bed. These weatherproof loungers, which you can stitch up yourself with performance fabric and a cot mattress, will keep you dry, even on a damp deck or dewy grass. Add a few quick-sew pillows in coordinating prints, and get ready to unroll.
Shop Now (bedroll and pillows at left, top to bottom): Peter Dunham Nawab Fabric in Indigo/Natural, $200 a yd., peterdunhamtextiles.com. Sunbrella Fusion Upholstery Fabric in Kindle Blush, $48 a yd., sunbrella.com. Perennials Good Vibrations Fabric in Salt & Pepper and Breezy Fabric in Mouse, price upon request, perennialsfabrics.com. Bedroll and pillows at right, top to bottom: Maresca Textiles Pisa Inverse Outdoor Fabric in Deep Indigo, $125 a yd., fritzporter.com. Sunbrella Upholstery Fabric in Midori Stone, $55 a yd., sunbrella.com. Maresca Textiles Shipibo Outdoor Fabric in Deep Indigo, $125 a yd., fritzporter.com. Perennials Primrose Fabric in Sunset, to the trade, perennialsfabrics.com.
Picnic Seats and a Reliable Runner
"Going out to eat" takes on a whole different meaning when you set up a bucolic dining spot out back. For the totable picnic seats, we removed the bottoms and backs from old director's chairs and used them as templates to sew new panels. Slip them onto the wooden frames, and the covers will withstand everything from rain to rosé spills. While you're at it, whip up a runner: Just measure the length and width of your table, cut the material to the desired size, and hem the edges.
Shop Now (Tabletop): Pindler & Pindler Olander Fabric in Ruby (used for runner), $126 a yd.; and Schumacher Soleil Indienne Fabric in Coral (used for pillows), $110 a yd., decoratorsbest.com. Chair Fabrics (clockwise from top right): Serena & Lily Perennials Classic Gingham in Coastal Blue; Deauville in Coastal Blue; Perennials Lake Stripe in Coastal/Sky; and Perennials Dock Stripe in White/Navy, each $78 a yd., serenaandlily.com.
When temps are sizzling, throw some welcome shade with a soaring canopy. Expansive as a ship's sail, this protective awning can block up to 98 percent of UV rays. Anchor it to support poles using the kit's included tensile hardware—it's designed to keep the fabric taut—and create a chic shelter from the swelter for waterfront chairs in striped outdoor fabric
Shop Now: Tenshon SS-13 Shade Sail, 13' by 13', in Khaki, $850 (includes either turnbuckle or pulley kit hardware), tenshon.com. Business & Pleasure Co. Tommy Chairs in Lauren's Navy Stripe, $299 each, businessandpleasureco.com. Byer of Maine Wooden Folding Stool, $60, byerofmaine.com.
Is loading a dinghy with piles of pillows going a little overboard? Not when the cushions can weather all the elements. A mix of ready-made and bespoke, these covers resist moisture, mildew, and fading, and are comfy enough for a leisurely spin on the lake. We went for an aquatic vibe with assorted navy and cobalt prints, but pick whatever colors and motifs float your boat.
Shop Now (clockwise from top right): Ballard Designs Outdoor Fashion Throw Pillow, 20" by 20", in Ikat Cornflower, $69, ballarddesigns.com. Peter Dunham Textiles Nawab Fabric in Indigo/Natural, $200 a yd., peterdunhamtextiles.com. Serena & Lily Perennials Classic Gingham Bolster in Navy, $168, serenaandlily.com. Peter Dunham Textiles Zanzibar Fabric, in Lapis, $200 a yd., peterdunhamtextiles.com. Sunbrella Katana Fabric in Midnight, $124 a yd., philomelasweb.com. Ballard Designs Outdoor Fashion Throw Pillow, 20" by 20", in Floral Cornflower, $59, ballarddesigns.com. Peter Dunham Textiles Carmania Fabric in Indigo on Natural, $200 a yd., peterdunhamtextiles.com. Ralph Lauren California Sur Fabric in Indigo, $30 a yd., overstockupholsteryfabric.com.
Morning coffee and evening cocktails feel like a vacation when you're sipping them on low vintage chairs padded with weatherproof pillows. Pair easy-sew covers in graphic dots with store-bought cushions in bright white, and escape to the coolest destination: your back patio.
Shop Now: Kelly Wearstler Solstice Outdoor Fabric in Rust Dove, $198 a yd., kellywearstler.com. The Company Store Sunbrella Contoured Chair Cushions in White, $69 each, thecompanystore.com. Rejuvenation Prineville Armchairs in Matte Bright White (similar to shown), $469 each, rejuvenation.com.
Outdoor Shower Curtain
It's hard to beat an outdoor shower, but easy to elevate a basic backyard setup: Hang a custom curtain in a crisp swirl print. The fadeproof acrylic twill will stay vibrant for years to come, and because it repels mildew, there's no need for a liner. Just hem the fabric using a basic running stitch, attach grommets along the top, and slide it onto a tension rod.