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!