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  • Stacey Martin

DESIGNING YOUR OUTDOOR SPACE // How to prep that patio for stylish enjoyment


If you’re lucky enough to have an outdoor space, it has most likely become THE number one spot for meals, games, and general hang-out sessions. Full disclosure, my backyard wasn’t always sunshine and roses, and turning an outdoor space into an inviting oasis can sometimes take a little elbow grease. So today we're sharing some easy things you can do to create the patio (or yard, deck) of your outdoor dreams.


When decorating your outdoor space, think about it as you would an indoor room - with floors, walls, and a ceiling.


Doing this helps create different zones throughout your backyard, porch, or patio that feel intimate and inviting. And even though you're outside, design rules still apply! When choosing your furniture and accessories, consider the scale, color palette, focal point, and lighting! All of these things together will help ensure a cozy, beautiful, and relaxing retreat that feels perfectly pulled together.


HIT THE FLOOR


First, let’s talk about the floor. Having something that anchors the furniture will define each area and create a series of "rooms" or zones. This is especially important if you have a larger space that needs warming up. Outdoor "rooms" are inviting! Fun to be in! The image in the center, however, is not, and dinner out there would feel just a little bit sad. If they had put a rug under that table, it would be a completely different space. Don't get sad, get glad and use outdoor rugs, or a change in materials, to designate different areas for different purposes.


CREATE A WALL

Now let’s talk about the walls. Having walls (or the illusion of them) around your outdoor space helps create privacy and a cozy atmosphere. But they don’t have to be walls in the traditional sense! Tall plants / planters, sticks and DIY walls, or even just a tapestry can all help create the feeling of having walls around you. This is the place to create a box by thinking outside the box! (Hopefully I didn't confuse you there). This is where you can put your DIY hat on and have some fun.


You can also use the side of the house or deck to create a little outdoor nook. Using an existing wall is another great way to make an unused area feel more purposeful and inviting.


GET FOCUSED

As you would in an indoor living room, your outdoor living room should also have a focal point and points of interest. Ask yourself - what is the first thing I want people to see when they enter that space? Outdoor-friendly objects are a great choice here! Baskets, surfboards, even metal mirrors (mirrors look GORGEOUS in an outdoor space, btw) move the eye and make an area feel more considered. Anything that can withstand the elements in some fashion can be great art pieces for an outdoor patio, including my favorite - deer antlers!


HIT THE LIGHTS

Just as a variety of lighting at various heights makes an indoor space feel inviting, the same is true for your outdoor space.


Lighting is the single, most affordable must-have in any outdoor space.


Imagine – you’re dining alfresco with your closest friends. The crickets are chirping. The stars are shining. Someone gets up to pour the wine and suddenly your flood lights kick on, blinding everyone and killing the vibe! Or, perhaps there’s no light at all and Aunt Edna trips over the garden gnome. Investing in at least one strand of café lights will increase your outdoor ambiance by 1000%.


Most of us are familiar with the the traditional solutions like café or Christmas lights, but hanging lanterns, a fire pit, or a giant bowl of candles are also great choices. This is another fun spot to harness your DIY talents! You can create your own outdoor chandeliers by using defunct light fixtures or grape vine orbs. Additionally, having things hanging overhead adds some much needed height to your space, while creating a little whimsy. Pro Tip: Re-use glass jars or old oil lamp tops to keep real candles aflame outside.


THROW SOME SHADE

Hanging out outside is a lot of fun, but it can be too hot to handle if you don’t have a place to beat the heat. If a covered area isn't in the cards, throw some shade of your own with old tapestries or blankets tied above. You can also use things like bamboo shades or a trellis. And of course there’s always the go-to patio umbrella, but don’t feel afraid to get creative!


FRANKIE SAYS RELAX

Relaxation and conversation are the name of the game if you’re trying to make your outdoor space feel like an oasis. My favorite way to encourage conversation? A fire pit! Whether it’s rustic or modern, a fire pit in the evening is a fun way to gather with friends and family. And who doesn't love some artisanal s'mores?!



If you've been following me for a while, you've heard me tell you to pull your furniture away from the wall. Your outdoor space is no different! Pulling that furniture closer together will create cozy conversation areas and open up other spaces for games and dining.


Pro Tip: Invest in at least one piece of comfy furniture and an outdoor pillow for that ultimate lounge vibe.


DON'T BUG ME

Outside fun can be a real drag if the bugs aren’t under control. Besides citronella candles and torches, my pro tip for keeping bugs at bay? A cool fan! Did you know that mosquitoes can’t land if it’s too windy? It’s true! Having a fan in your outdoor space is a sure fire way to make sure you can spend all evening outside without getting bugged.


Do you have some great DIY tricks or design tips from your own outdoor space? Share them in the comments! Or if you’re really struggling, drop us a line! We’d love to help you take your outdoor space from basic to bomb!



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