This past week I met with a new client in her home.  One of my favorite spaces she had lovingly created is a small and charming garden space off her master bedroom.  It got me thinking about what it takes to create a lovely outdoor room.

In many ways it’s the same attention to detail and the mix of textures and colors and lighting that makes an interior space come together that also makes for a wonderful outdoor experience.

Here are a few ideas I’m considering as I’m getting ready this month to make some improvements in my own garden:

Update Your Lighting:  Just as lighting makes such a profound difference in the experience of our interior spaces, so it can in the garden.  Home Depot has a few decent lighting options for our exterior walls and ceilings – but if you don’t find what you are looking for there, know that there are so many more viable options out there to fit any type of architecture and scale.

Just as I say it’s important to think about optimally lighting our interior rooms at various levels (up high, at eye level and down low), consider doing this outdoors as well.  A hanging fixture or electrified wall sconces at your patio area are great – but consider also adding well placed landscape lighting as well as some candle lighting closer to eye level via lanterns on the dining table or tiki torches around the perimeter.  

Entertainment Value:  I know some people are installing TV’s outdoors these days – but I’d rather enjoy a different type of entertainment on the outside.  Nature can provide a great show with only a small amount of production money and effort on our part.  These days there are terrific and beautiful bird feeders to fit into any garden space.  In years past I’ve also considered butterfly friendly plants as I fill in my flower beds with beautiful plants that will draw quiet and graceful showgirls.

Accessorize with Fabric:  No longer is there only a choice between three shades of beige and two shades of green for your exterior furniture!  

If your neutral outdoor furniture cushions are still in great condition, consider just refreshing the space with some fabulous punches of color in the form of pillows made in the wonderful dark blues and citrus oranges and even fuchsia that are now readily available.  

And it’s no longer just color!  There are playful animal prints, ikats and a wide variety of stripes and splashy versions of traditionally interior prints to choose from.

Also consider adding some privacy and glamour with outdoor drapery to frame a patio area.  Doing this actually extends the feeling of the size of your home.  It’s like one doesn’t know for sure if they are enjoying the inside or the outside of the home – but it feels so delightful who cares!

Textiles for The Floor:  And don’t forget that patio floor!  If you really want to blur the lines between your indoor and outdoor spaces, consider one of the fabulous area rugs being produced in fibers that are easily sustained despite the water and sunshine they’ll come in contact with.

Rearrange the Furniture:  It works indoors, so why not do the same thing outdoors!  Try a new position for the different outdoor pieces you already enjoy and then consider adding just one or two new items – Perhaps an Asian garden stool in a bright expressive color that can boldly hold your cocktail as you lounge with style!

Mix It Up:  Just as eclectic sensibilities bring life to an interior space, so they can in the garden.  Along with natural textures such as woven wicker, consider porcelain garden stools and metal based tile tables as you come up with a combination that doesn’t look like the expected matching set of outdoor furniture.  More than likely you wouldn’t have all your living room furniture pieces be exactly the same!!

Be Playful:  Lanterns whimsically hanging from trees, large “clam” shells filled with succulents, the statuesque mossy green head of a woman with wandering vines trailing down like a wild hair day…  There are so many ways to add a little touch of magic to the space.

Use It!!  Spring and summer will be with us for only a few delightful months.  Whether its tea and a good book below a tree, or sangria with friends on the patio – I’m hoping to enjoy my garden more this year than ever before and hope you will be too!

Sasha Witte

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