Saturday, June 12, 2010

Making Your Patio Special

When decorating your home you probably thought of it as a whole entity rather than isolating each room creating a flow of colors and unity throughout the home. Think of your porch, patio or deck as an another room of your home. it just happens to be exposed to outside elements. Because the area is outside you need to create boundaries and special areas to create a feeling of intimacy.
It's easier than ever to "decorate" your outdoor space. Just browse lawn and garden centers to see the endless choices of furniture and accessories.

Photo courtesy of sponsored by Target

Coordinate the furniture. It doesn't have to match, but, should have some cohesive element such as style or color. You'll also want to have adequate seating. How big your patio is and how many people, on average, will be using it. Try grouping several small areas if the space is large.
What colors are in your home, particularly in the room adjacent to your outdoor space. Use these colors outside in a lighter, brighter shade or use a bold contrasting color. Have custom pillows made to help coordinate the look. Every year more and more patterns are being introduced for outdoor use and now there are even trims and fringes that are weather resistant.
When purchasing pillows from a retail store make sure the tags specify they're for outdoor use.

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I love using garden accessories around the patio. Also, rugs are being see more and more outdoors. Why use a boring trash can when you can use an interesting looking trash recepticle.

Another one of my favorite looks is a climbing vine. I love the look of a vine growing up and extending to the eves of a house and around windows, but, it's a lot of work keeping those vines under control. Instead I opt for a clematis vine which comes in several sizes. Planting in a large pot keeps the growth under control. A clematis vine doesn't have "fingers" to attach to surfaces so you need to provide some type of trellis for it to grow on. Since it won't attach to the column, when sections of the vine get long enough I wrap them around the column and intertwine them.

Plant shrubs to create a natural boundary and give a feeling of intimacy to make your outdoor space feel like an outdoor room.

Photo courtesy of hgtv

I love creating moods and using themes for dining and being outside is not an excuse for abandoning that practice. In a recent blog post I talked about how I change my table settings according to the season.

And, of course, you have to have a centerpiece. Instead of the usual flower, use a bowl of fresh tomatoes from your garden, a lantern or several small pots of herbs.

Photo courtesy of hgtv Linda Applewhite

Even the smallest spaces can be inviting with carefully selected items. A small table with a couple of great looking chairs is a nice spot for an intimate dinner with a loved one or a casual lunch with a special friend.

Mosaic topped tables are a decorative and beautiful addition to your outdoor space. They come in all sizes from small accent tables to large dining sized ones.

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Torches and fire pits are yet another element and can be used in all kinds of weather. In the winter we bundle up and have "weiner & marshmallow roasts" over our firepit. Fire pits come in all sizes and cost from hundreds to thousands of dollars, but, if you have some bricks and a half hour of time, you can construct your own.

Did you know that you can now buy TVs that are water proof and specified for outdoor use?

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Photo courtesy of

Balance the furniture, colors, textures, flowers and any accessories you may use. Think of it as a room and use the same guidelines as you would if you were decorating an interior room.
I love being outside when the weather is warm. My day just seems to feel better when it's started outside drinking my first cup of coffee in the warm morning sun. I hope you enjoy your outdoor space even if it's just a blanket placed on the ground under your favorite tree.

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