The weather is warm-er and things are starting to look a little greener. Spring is in the air, finally, and after months of being inside, it feels so good to get outdoors again.
When we get that first +10-degree (Fahrenheit) day I instinctively start thinking about the summers – barbecues with friends and neighbors, relaxing with a good book in the backyard and enjoying a morning coffee on the porch. Do I have you dreaming now?
As you start to look around your yard, planning your outdoor space(s), consider these 5 things:
1. The Spot
The very first thing you need is a space. This space will depend on what you what to do in there. If you are dreaming about barbecues with friends, you will need an area that’s big enough for a barbecue and likely some kind of dining set. On the other hand, if you are dreaming about a spot to read or have your morning coffee, you don’t an area nearly as big but possibly close to the home.
Think about how you are using the space and what the space must provide. Things like, do you need shade in the afternoons and sun in the mornings? Do you need quiet, away from road noise?
2. The Seating
While thinking about the above, think about the type of furniture you will need. Again, think about what you plan to do here – Do you need seating for multiple people? Do you need a barbecues? Do you need a table or just comfy chairs? How many chairs?
Having the right furniture will create the stress-free environment you are looking for in your outdoor haven.
3. The Scenery
When you think of the outdoors, you probably think of greenery. Grass, trees, flowers…nature.
Greenery and flowers are an element of nature that has a calming effect on the sole. It makes a space feel welcoming and comforting. In turn, it tends to calm and de-stress the body.
If you have a home with a backyard, you probably already have some greenery or at the very least a good starting point. Build on this. Add different heights (trees vs bushes), add layers with hedges behind gardens with planters…Add colour with planters and through the garden.
If you are in a condo or have a smaller yard, you may have to get a little more creative. Greenery isn’t restricted to grass and trees. After all, your space might not allow for it. Try bringing in greenery through potted flowers or ferns plants. Tall grass, potted, can give you a backyard feel without the maintenance. You could also bring greenery in through faux greenery items like wall covers.
4. Using Natural Materials
Natural elements like wood and stone will bring your new outdoor haven together. These elements are great materials to use to define your space and separate it from the rest of your yard. Try defining your barbeque and dining area with flagstone, defining the area separate from the grassed area, for example. Because flagstone is still a natural element, it fits into the surrounding while still defining the space.
If you have a condo or small backyard, using a wood decking may be more practical for the space. Wood can be layered over top of concrete balcony floors to make the balcony feel more like a backyard than industrial landing. A wood deck in a small backyard is a great alternative to grass. It is low maintenance but because of the wood is a natural element, it still feels like it is part of the outdoors.
5. Finish off with Colour and Textiles
Just like in your home, colour and textiles will allow you to personalize your new space. There are a lot of different things on the market now that allows you to add that pop of colour or element of comfort while still being outdoor friendly. Meaning, they can withstand the elements. Everything from fun patterns on cushions for chairs, accent pillows, lanterns, platters, and even outdoor carpets.
Outdoor carpets, like inside your home, can be used to create a zone. Just like inside your home, choosing the correct size is important – You want at least 2 feet of the furniture to sit on the carpet. A carpet against a hard material will make the space feel welcoming and help create that relaxing vibe you are looking for.
Accent pillows will have the same effect as a carpet. They are that extra layer on a chair that make them look inviting. Plus, they are a great way to change-up the look whenever you get creative.
Don’t forget to accessorize your outdoor haven. Treat it like you would treat that room in your home. Look for planters or accessories or even artwork that you can add to really make it feel like home. Just remember to think of the elements and make sure anything you add could withstand an unannounced rainstorm.
Your outdoor space should be an extension of your home. Afterall, you use the space the same why you use your interior space. The only difference is your outdoor space is seasonal. Have fun with the design and get outside for some much need vitamin D.
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