Photo Captured Nuance
Summer is here
…and outdoor activity is at its peak. Traditionally, this is the time of year to hit the road and head out on vacation. But with gas prices as high as they are this year, many have curtailed their travel plans and are spending their vacations closer to home. Now is a great time to spruce up your outdoor living spaces and create your own piece of paradise right in your own backyard, ready to enjoy all year ’round.
Creating an outdoor living area that you will love to use and enjoy entertaining in is very much like designing other public areas in your home. Comfortable seating, tables that suit your needs, shade for those hot afternoons, soft lighting for those peaceful evenings, a delightful focal point to give the room special meaning are all elements of a successful space.
Choose outdoor furniture pieces to reflect the style of your home and are in scale with the area you are working with. You can use a rug to anchor the seating area and to define the space. You can find some great pieces that do double duty, like a storage bench that is an ice chest and an extra place to sit. If you have a large space, treat it as you would a great room in your home-divide it into smaller rooms so that each area feels cozy, intimate and inviting. If you have a very small space, you can still create your own bit of nature by adding a small chair and accent table, a small potted tree, a wall fountain and a lovely chime to complete setting.
There are great fabrics available for curtains that can be tied back to let the sun in, and let down when it is blazing. Coordinating pillows will add polish and just the right punches of color. Use plants that will thrive in your environment as accent items for your outdoor room. A water feature not only sounds fabulous, but it has a cooling effect just listening to it.
The right accessories are as important here as they are inside your home. Cloth placemats, napkins, and beautiful serveware all make your outdoor dining much more special. If you have a pool or children and are concerned about glass, there are many great acrylic options available. You can even find insulated servers to keep your foods fresh.
For chilly evenings, you might consider adding a copper firepit to gather around. These copper bowls are safety tested with a wrought iron base. They have spark-guard covers available and you can even get some roasting tools for toasting your marshmallows in style. No missing out on those late night fireside tales with this baby in your backyard!
So if staying home is part of your vacation plans this summer, turn your backyard into your own bit of paradise. Choose furniture that is comfortable, in scale with your space and coordinates with the style of your home. Add shade and use curtains as needed to control the sunlight. Use potted plants in your design and add lighting that will allow you to enjoy your outdoor room in the evenings. A focal point like a water feature or firepit will make your private holiday destination distinctive and memorable.
August 2, 2008 at 11:50 pm
Nickie; In Pennsylvania, we only get a portion of the year to enjoy the outside, and your point is as important (or possibly more important ) then it might be in areas where you get the pleasure all year round. The enjoyment of that space is enhanced by thought and design – providing music, planning the space, and making the most of space that you might otherwise take for granted.
August 4, 2008 at 11:08 am
Absolutely! I’m in sunny So Cal now, but we had the opportunity to live in the mountains of Colorado for a year and a half and with those long winters, you really need to be able to enjoy the outside too. We had so much fun BBQ’ing surrounded by snow!