7 key things that make an outdoor space inviting

May 7, 2013

Spring is here and summer is coming!  Is your outdoor space ready for you, the kids, summer BBQs, outdoor movie nights…? Is your outdoor space everything it could be? Do you have a space for reading, lounging, playing a game, eating, relaxing, a sunny spot, a shady spot…? If not, include as many of the below as you can to make your backyard special.  Want help or know someone who does? Call me and together we will get your yard or deck ready for a summer of outdoor fun.

#1: Good quality furniture – it is worth the money! Anyone who has bought inexpensive outdoor furniture knows, it rusts, it cracks, it splinters, it wears out fast.  The elements are harsh on outdoor furniture and buying high quality is worth it. Be smart, invest in furniture that will last.  I have clients who have had their brand name outdoor furniture for over 20 years, and they only recently had them re-strapped and powder coated – something you can’t do with the bargain furnishings.

#2: A water feature. Nothing beats the sound of a beautiful fountain or pool water feature.  I think it taps into something primal in us, like sitting near a babbling brook – only with a nice beverage and a comfortable seat.

contemporary-water-fountain-and-bench

#3: Lighting. The outdoors isn’t only for daytime use.  With proper lighting your back yard can be used day or night. Plus, isn’t there something romantic about a night garden with soft lighting? The kids love it, the adults love it, and even the pets love spending an evening around a fire pit making s’mores and connecting. In my back yard we project movies on a movie screen we hang from our pergola and snuggle on the couch for an outdoor movie – everyone loves it.

#4: Gorgeous fabrics. Whether modern and bold, or traditional and delicate, fabrics can bring your outdoor to life. The outdoor fabrics today can look as good as their indoor counterparts plus face the elements. Look for solution-dyed acrylic, it wears like iron, and is washable. Chella has a great outdoor line available through your design professional.

#5: Shading. Whether a pergola, umbrella or spanned fabric, shade protects us from the sun’s powerful rays.  Shading also helps to create a defined space creating a cozy feeling without being enclosed. Shading can be traditional or modern like this modern spin on a pergola:

 

#6: Plants.  Nothing makes a garden better than the right plants.  Select plants based on your zone and watch them flourish while softening the harsh lines of your hard-scape.

#7: Fire pit. It’s like making a campfire without having to sleep on the ground afterwards. Fire pits are great for warmth, making s’mores, and generally creating a place to gather in the dark.

While you don’t need all of these elements to have a welcoming back yard if you can incorporate 4-5 you will be well on your way. It can be a little tricky to not overdo or under-do it but, with a plan that considers scale, proportion and visual balance in place, you can create a yard that transitions from day to night or from a boisterous game of kick-the-can to an adult soiree.