Whether you have a patio, balcony or backyard, the outside area of your home should be your sanctuary, a private retreat from outside daily stresses. With that in mind the last thing you want it to be is a headache to get it looking—and feeling—just right.

“People are discovering that they need to bring balance, wholeness, and serenity into their lives, and a garden is one of the best ways to do that,” says Linda Wiggen Kraft, an artist, garden designer and writer based in St. Louis. Her work focuses on creating garden spaces to cut down on stress in people’s lives.

Instead of creating your dream space from scratch, use what you already have at your disposal. Begin to imagine how you can spruce up your patio, balcony, porch or backyard to create a nature-inspired space that’s both inviting and eye pleasing. Remember that sometimes an old, familiar space just needs a little TLC.

Steam cleaning is one of the best ways to ready your outdoor space for change. Think of steam as preparing your canvas for a new set of artistic ideas. Steam is 100 percent non-toxic as it uses only pure water, and will help you clean tile, vinyl, metal, plastic, and wood. You can even clean the grout between your tiles by applying steam and then wiping with a clean, dry cloth. Using toxic chemicals for your ‘happy place’ seems like a contradiction in terms, don’t you think?

Steam clean your patio furniture including your chair cushions. Rid your umbrella, table, and chairs of grime, dirt, mildew, and bird droppings by using steam—either from a handheld portable or floor model. Top quality steam cleaners come with an array of attachments such as brushes, nozzles, covers, and scrapers tailored to whatever you’re cleaning. Highly rated hand-held and floor model steam cleaners are lightweight and have constant high volume steam flow, making them efficient and effective for outdoor use. Also, you can use steam throughout the good weather too, as it will keep your cushions and surfaces lasting fresher for longer.

Here are some considerations before adding design accents to your outdoor space:

Decide what you’d like to do in your natural oasis. Will you use it to read a good book, have a siesta or entertain friends? Create a focal point in your space such as a fountain, chaise longue, living wall, planter or outdoor rug. Make sure the rug is weatherproof. One hundred per cent polypropylene or recycled PVC plastic stands up to rain and may last longer than other materials. Choose bright colours or neutral tones depending on the style you want to evoke.
Decide how you’d like the space to feel. What kind of atmosphere do you want to create?
If you’re unsure where to start, why not pick a theme such as Tuscan, Boho-Chic or Coastal. This will make it easier for you to narrow down what you’ll bring into the space.

Rather than buying a whole new patio set, consider instead adding a dash of colour with some cushions and luxurious throws. String some pretty lights and decorate your oasis with richly coloured flowers in glazed ceramic pots.
“Right now the world hungers deeply for creativity and its expression,” says Wiggen Kraft.

Cleaning with steam gives you peace of mind that you’re creating a healthy, inspired haven to recharge and unwind during those cool summer evenings.

At Reliable, we do what we love, and we take pride in doing it right. Quality, functionality, design and customer service play an equally important part in delivering what’s right for you. From irons to steam cleaners to sewing machines, you can count on us to be right there with you. That’s the Reliable Way.