I’ve been spending every spare moment I have outside creating our outside ‘rooms’ and loving every moment of it. I think we all have a little bit of a grin on our faces now that it’s feeling like summer is actually going to arrive. Who doesn’t love the sunshine, warm summer breezes, home-made lemonade, flowers, bees, baby birds (except for the wood peckers that have bought up prime lake front real estate by hollowing out the wooden posts that hold up our dock) and all the that summer fun. So let’s get started and make this summer fabulous by creating amazing outdoor rooms for our homes.
The best way to get started is by defining your spaces. Just as we have designated rooms inside our home we need to create designated spaces for our outdoor rooms. At our home, we have created a lounge by the water area, an intimate morning coffee sitting area, a dining area and ‘let’s have a party’ living room area. Of course, we are all limited by the amount of outdoor space we have available but plan to make the most of all your available spaces. The other limitation is the position of the house in relation to the sun, areas of activity should coordinate with the position of the sun, I like sun with my morning coffee but shade for a patio dinner party. If the position of the sun in relation to the space and desired activity are not all in full cooperation we can then plan to override the sun by using umbrellas and/or awnings. So start laying out your rooms, you may create a small area on the front porch (one or two chairs) to sit and have your morning coffee or afternoon ice tea with a girlfriend. In the back yard we have a large seating area for more friends and a separate dining and cooking space- think 360 degrees around the house, you may discover some very special spaces. The secret to great outdoor spaces is this separation of activity. Some or even all of your spaces may overlap, which is fine we will then actually divide the spaces using planted containers-how fabulous would a row of potted boxwoods, a trellis with grape vines growing up it or citrus trees look defining the living-room from the dining room. Outdoor area carpet are also useful when it comes to defining space-its amazing what proper furniture placement, potted plants, area rugs and fun accessories can create. Bottom line, get creative and define those spaces. It’s also a great idea to use white string lights to wrap the trees or the trellis with for fabulous ambience at night. Alternatively, use solar lights in the plant pots.
Position furniture just as you would for your inside rooms and ensure that the seats are comfortable and conversation is easy. Today we are blessed with a lot of affordable and readily available options when it comes to shopping for patio furniture. Sam and I also like to think ‘outside the store’. Recycle and pick up an old metal or wooden coffee table at an estate sale. Paint the wooden table a bright red with exterior paint and use it as your coffee table outside. Strip a discarded chandelier of its electrical elements and replace the bulbs with candles and hang it from an umbrella stand for a stunning effect. Turn an old tree trunk into a base for a glass topped dining table. Be creative, define your spaces, light them and accessorize with small potted plants, lanterns and even concrete or metal sculptures.
THIS AND THAT
On our exterior tables we like to plant ceramic bowls and chrome trays filled with succulent plants or simply moss. We are always on the hunt for fabulous indoor finds to bring outside.