Outdoor spaces fascinate me. I’ve been in love with the garden since I was old enough to walk. The greenery, the hard scape’s, the overhangs: tamed and planned but still uncontrollable.
All photos from House Beautiful. Designer credits at the end of this post.
For all the fuss people make over interior design, I find garden design much more of a challenge. I can visualize a home I’m decorating but in the garden so much more comes into play such as issues of sun, rain, soil quality, elevation, appearance, suitability to the architecture and location.
The plants and items I’ve found to work in most patio settings are evergreen plants, iron furniture, cement fountains and statues, and a variety of pots like rolled rim clay pots, glazed ceramic pots, urns made from a mixture of cement and light weight fillers, iron trellis and etagere, and a nice collection of topiary and lanterns.
Plants I’ve had particularly good luck with are:
The new water proof wickers are not only gorgeous but also hugely convenient. No moving furniture when the good weather goes south. I’ve had very good results with pillows in sun resistant fabrics too like the ones above.
Determine a general idea of your outdoor space before you begin planning. Is it casual, formal, what activities will take place there. Will it be a space mostly for you or for entertaining. Is your style contemporary, traditional, or country.
Next determine the exposure to hot and cold. If you are in a warmer climate, potted plants will be easier. But if you’re like me and get a mixture of temperatures you’ll need plants that are adaptable. I like putting in the furniture first, nothing too commercial or matchy matchy. Then I add the potted plants around the perimeter of the seating areas. Then I like to do the hanging plants and trellis. Lastly I add the accessories like lanterns, candelabra, and throw pillows and blankets.
I like to have at least one “signature” piece like the wicker daybed above. It could be a carved or iron daybed as well, but something that adds a custom look. Not cookie cutter like a catalog.
Patio’s are an extension of your indoor living spaces so a bit of continuity should tie them together. My patio and garden will be hosting David’s and my wedding and reception late September. Wish me luck.
Designers: Kathryn Ireland, Joe Nye, Fern Santini, Thom Filicia, Ty Larkins, Kristen Ewart. House Beautiful didn’t provide photo credits for some of these images.