Monthly Archives: June 2014

Creating Beautiful Outdoor Rooms

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Anyone who knows me, knows how I love the outdoors! Years ago I embarked on a mission to create a number of outdoor living spaces that were both functional and inviting. As a result we have a beautiful yard for entertaining. 

Designing outdoor spaces requires a consideration of sun/shade requirements for the space. For example, a swimming pool is best when it has sun a majority of the day. This extends the usage on the days when the temperature may not be as warm (as does a poll heating source)! It’s as much about the function as it is visual appeal. Then we need to plan seating for adequate people in the space. So we have a table and chairs, with an umbrella to provide protection from the sun. We also have some lounge chairs for relaxing with a book while others are swimming. In addition, cleaning the pool had to be taken into consideration. Our yard is not level. It slopes down towards the river so the different elevations came into consideration when planning out the space. We have the main deck area with the furniture and the fun space for “living”. We also have a small deck on the opposite side where we can access all areas of the pool for cleaning. There are plans to join the two areas with a walkway in the rear and build a gazebo looking over the pool. We have also re-done some electrical to provide lighting for later evening swims. As a bonus; we even planned some significant storage areas below the pool decks for winter and off season storage of patio furniture and lawn ornaments. The space works wonderfully, all year long!

We also have a 2 tier patio/deck area for simply entertaining. We keep our BBQ on the lower level and have comfortable seating both up and down to entertain and enjoy the outdoors. It is surrounded by potted flowers and yard ornaments to create a warm and inviting “outdoor room”. It’s where my daughter has her glider swing that she can spend hours on listening to music! I even have some wall décor to add just the right touch, and wind chimes for the light breezy sound I love. The lower patio is positioned around a raised planter that has tall growing vines as well as annuals overflowing and spilling over the edges. It is a favorite of humming birds and butterflies all summer long. This is where I sit and look out over the yard and down to the pool area and the rear rose garden. This is where we often sit while cooking dinner on the BBQ while we enjoy a beer or glass of wine. This area has seating in both sun and shade for which ever our guests prefer. My Mom and I usually enjoy sitting in the sun and my Dad and husband usually prefer sitting in the shade! It works for everyone and was planned to do so!

We have sweeping perennial beds around our house on 3 sides, as well as along one side of the fence back to my rose garden and the fire pit. This is the area I plan on renovating this year. Some perennials have overgrown and need splitting; others I just want to remove and start fresh. I have a cute bistro seating area set up under a metal gazebo. Perfect for a nice escape in the afternoon with a nice pitcher of lemonade or iced tea. With lilacs; roses; peonies and a host of other perennials and potted plants; this is the “room” you see from the windows looking out of the back of our house. It is the focal point and is a fun whimsical space with fairies; wind chimes an arch/trellis made by my Dad that leads you down a short walkway and into the metal gazebo with the “tea room”. This area provides early morning and afternoon shade and sunshine later in the evening. It provides a beautiful view of the house and yard with its multiple gardens; decks; pool; and my little sanctuary, the deck off our master bedroom. 

My master bedroom deck is where my husband and I spend our times quietly sipping coffee in the morning, or enjoying a glass of wine later in the day. It has another nice seating area and is surrounded with multiple potted plants. This is where I thank my Grandmother for teaching me the love of the outdoors and the beauty of a garden. My shade garden wraps around this side of the house and is bursting with ferns; hostas and astilbes. I even have a hardy clematis climbing a trellis in this area. It’s one of my favorite places in the yard.

We built a new garage and workshop off on this side of the yard. I plan on moving my potting shed behind the new garage and building a sidewalk along the garage in this area. Think it will need some flowers to brighten it up too! Guess I have some more planning to do … 

Outdoor spaces should be beautiful and functional. Think about who will use the space and how. Remember to take into account sun and shade patterns throughout the day. Don’t build a deck in an area with afternoon sun – if you want a shady spot to relax after work! Imagine what your “dream space” would look like.  Then set about making it a reality, one “room” at a time!

Refresh your Space with the Beautiful Colors of Spring

accessory P1080464 P1080466We’ve been so busy with staging the last few weeks that we actually have had to go shopping to top off our stock selections. This is rare as I carry quite a wide range of stock in many different colors. I’ve so enjoyed the beautiful colors available for décor accents. The hues are so lovely, bright and reminiscent of our beautiful spring colors. Just perfect for clients who wish to give their space a quick inexpensive “refreshed look”.

Red is always one of my favorites and can be found everywhere. Touches of red can be found in anything from artwork, to small accent pieces to area rugs and even furniture. Red is a strong color. It makes a strong statement. It can be quite classy, when used in just the right amounts. If overwhelming, it can make small space feel almost angry. Red is color of energy. Red is most often paired with greys and blacks and whites. However, it also works well with brown and gold tones. If used modestly, your space will look fabulous!

A new color is yellow. Yellow is a wonderful soft accent color. It’s full of vitality, like the sunshine! However, it is a much softer color than red. Where red is strong and bold, yellow is soft and pretty. It’s also a perfect complement color for greys, blacks and whites. I usually choose a bit of whimsy in my accents for yellow. Yellow is fun and playful to decorate with.

Purple is still quite a popular color for décor. There are a multitude of hues. One of my favorites is violet in the blue – purple side of the spectrum. Then everything to a vibrant orchid at the other end of the purple spectrum. As long as you stay with similar hues when selecting your accent colors – the room will always look stunning. Purple is a majestic color. It makes any space look elegant and regal.

Green is a newer color that has been around for a few years now and its beginning to grow on me more and more. It’s a lime green. It’s very similar to the grass and trees of spring. You can have so much fun with green! It’s a carefree color and suggests playfulness and the outdoors. The number and selection of décor items I’ve recently seen in this color has been staggering! All suggest whimsy and playful nature in the rooms they adorn.

Blacks, greys, and whites are our base colors. Decorating in a monochromatic color scheme (hues of the same color) is quite common and lends a very clean feeling to a room. Just the right shades mixed together can make for a very interesting space. It can be quite elegant; or casual and welcoming, it depends on the items selected and the range of hues in the design scheme. 

Before you head out to the store and get overwhelmed with the selections, select an accent color you really like. Then pick up some beautiful accessories to give your space a whole new personality! It’s so cost effective to change just accent pieces. If you replace artwork, area rug, throw pillows and some beautiful accent pieces, you can change the whole personality of a space! Your costs – maybe $400 – $1000, depending on your budget and much you “want” to spend. Freshening up a space can be really cost effective! So decide what colors will make you feel the best about your space and have some fun! The results may just surprise you.