Our outdoor spaces have become extensions of our homes. In general, basic design principles hold true for outdoor areas, but there are a few important difference to keep in mind as you plan your space.
Function first! Whether it’s the harsh rays of the afternoon sun or a gentle rain in the evening, you’ll want to protect yourself and your furnishings from the elements. If your outdoor space isn’t already covered, no worries, there are a variety of architectural structures available that offer protection and privacy such as canopies, pergolas, retractable awnings and freestanding gazebos. Be sure to secure them safely to your yard, deck, or patio to prevent a strong wind from propelling your outdoor retreat into your neighbor’s yard!
Light It Up
Lighting is an often overlooked element of outdoor décor, but not all entertaining happens during the daytime, so you’ll want to provide adequate lighting for night-time gatherings. Decorative lights along footpaths and gardens keeps guest safe after the sun goes down and adds a charming touch to the landscape. Weather -resistant lighting suspended from an awning, trellis, or gazebo can truly create the ambiance of an indoor room.
I absolutely love the idea of a mirror outdoors. The reflection of the landscape can make a small space feel larger and create instant artwork. Try leaning a large mirror against a wall or mounting a small decorative mirror on a fence or other permanent structure.
One of the most exciting additions to the outdoor décor market is the wide array of gorgeous, weather-proof rugs. Coming in all styles and colors, these rugs are not the old fashioned “grass” looking outdoor carpets of years past. These lovely additions introduce color and pattern, add softness underfoot, and create definition to anchor your dining or seating area.
Just about any outdoor space can be transformed into a functional and stylish living area. Embrace your surrounding landscape, use colors that you love, and think beyond the traditional furnishing to create an outdoor retreat where you can entertain guests or unwind after a long day.
Just as you need a focal point indoors to anchor a room, a well-designed outdoor space should have an eye-catching focus. Furnishings such as a weathered sculpture, a soothing water feature, or a dramatic overhead light can do the trick. Your focal point could also be inspired by nature in the way of a trellised vine, small ornamental tree, or collection of potted plants.
Just living is not enough… one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.
— Hans Christian Anderson