Alfresco meals, twinkly lights, verdant gardens—Italians know how to do summer nights right. But living la dolce vita can be yours for less than the cost of a ticket to Rome. Take this patio, which designer and fervent DIYer Heather Chadduck, the style director at Southern Living magazine, put together in back of a house in Birmingham, Alabama. Using an overgrown pergola from the movie Under the Tuscan Sun
as muse, she added a simple iron structure and let wisteria grow wild. A long copper-topped trestle table edged by a medley of metal and woven chairs begs guests to sit and stay awhile under the glow of lights she fashioned from pickle and okra jars. Wicker-wrapped bottles act as vases and wine decanters; a fireplace supplies needed warmth on cooler evenings.