Monday, April 22, 2013

Outdoor Living - Creating an Outdoor Seating Area

Think beyond a picnic table and umbrella. Now that the days are finally getting longer, it’s time to explore one of the latest trends in home decorating: the great outdoors. Whether it’s just a charming chair under a tree or a full-blown outdoor kitchen and family room complete with lamps, rugs, a sound system and TV, the boundaries of your home’s walls are getting thinner.

 An outdoor room is a metaphor for an indoor room. We still want walls, a roof and windows to make us feel safe and comfortable, even though we are outside. When creating an outdoor room, no matter how big or small, keep these things in mind.

1. Provide or build around a major focal feature to anchor the space, just like any other indoor room. A fireplace or fire pit, a fountain or water feature, a beautiful specimen plant, a large stone arrangement or a sculpture are all suitable outdoor focal features.

2. Add a sense of enclosure. Just because it’s outdoors, doesn’t mean you don’t need walls or a roof. But when the enclosure is outdoors, it shouldn't necessarily be solid, or even complete. A large shade tree, for example, provides both a “roof” and a “wall.”

One wall (a fence or a building) and a hedge in an “L” shape provides a corner to anchor a seating arrangement. A trellis, gazebo, porch ceiling, large umbrella or foliage can all feel like a roof. And it doesn’t even need to cover the entire seating arrangement.

3. Provide views into other parts of the yard or beyond. This relates to windows and doors, but can actually be a break in a fence, an open gate or less dense foliage. Pairs of matched plants or pots frame a view or give a sense of a doorway, for example.

4. Change the ground to help identify the space as different from the yard. Like an area rug, a different material than the lawn, such as stone pavers, gravel or brick, defines the extent of an outdoor room.

5. Outdoor rooms should be accessible from indoor rooms. Think of how a party flows from the kitchen into the great room, the outdoor room should be similar. If space does not allow an outdoor room to be physically adjacent, then it should be very visible. Or if you have a large yard, and want several outdoor rooms, they should all link with visual “hallways” or paths, so people can stay connected.

Have fun planning and shopping for your next great outdoor space!

Until next time,
--Elaine Bothe

Photos courtesy of the Decorating Gallery at the Better Homes and Gardens website. You may need to register to view, but the information is well worth your time.

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posted by Jennifer Adams Design Group Blog @ 8:38 AM 


Anonymous Castlerock Xeriscape said...

If properly chosen, with careful consideration, deck lights can convert the garden or backyard into a second living space, literally! You will be amazed at what innovative placement and the very presence of lighting can do for the home. The effect enables you to flaunt the space to its best advantage, especially at night, highlighting the bonsai or regular garden, fountains and statues.

May 1, 2013 at 5:31 PM  

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