Vacation at Home
A wonderful retreat can be created regardless of space or budget!
Vacation at Home in Your Garden
Summertime… it’s time to relax and enjoy the weather, to fire up the BBQ or lounge in the garden. Let’s look at our gardens and develop a space that provides comfort and style for as long as our seasons will allow! Nothing is more inviting than an outdoor room. It can become a cozy inviting space that makes you want to sit and enjoy your environment.
A wonderful retreat can be created regardless of space or budget. Some thoughtful planning and creative thinking will pay off in the long run. Start with a space and begin to bring in the elements and touches that will make everyone want to spend time there. Define how you want to use the space. This determines the location, the size, and style. The elements of your favourite interior spaces can be incorporated into the outside, thanks largely to a wide selection of new products designed for outdoor entertaining.
What are your needs?
Define your outdoor room by the activity that will take place in it. The space needs to be functional but also engaging or it’ll never be used. For example; family dining areas require more space for extra chairs and tables, grilling areas need to be close to the kitchen for easy access, fireplaces gatherings need extra room to move around safely.
The form of the outdoor room can be a porch or balcony, deck or patio, gazebo or terrace. Look to your home to find the relationship to create your outdoor extension of living space. Is there a favourite view or vista to enhance? Orient your room to take full advantage of such a focal point. If not, create one by planting a decorative tree, dramatic piece of sculpture, or a bubbling fountain.
Creating your Outdoor Room
To give your space some definition, create a floor using natural stone, patterned concrete, decorative gravel, or outdoor carpet or any artful combination of these. Some well-placed planters of different sizes, or vertical planter screens can create walls and give your space a feeling of protection and coziness. Wooden screens, bamboo mats or outdoor canvas can give your space extra privacy when you need it. The ceiling could be the clear blue sky, tree limbs from a mature shade tree, a retractable awning, or a wooden pergola over all or part of the space.
Planting for Year-Long Interest
Plants are more than just a functional element to your outdoor room. They are important to soften the hard edges and add a sense of life, warmth, and comfort to any space. Choose your plants based upon your hardiness zone, light requirements, and soil conditions. Also, keep in mind the feelings you want to evoke in the space. Foliage plants provide colour, textures, and fragrance. Perennials, ornamental grasses, and annuals provide the splashes of colour that makes your room always changing, never static. Feature plants form the focal points and have a distinctive quality to stand out as a sculptural feature. For smaller corners of your room or balconies and terraces, containers full of plants and flowers can go a long way.
Engaging all the Senses
Water is an important element in an outdoor room. The soothing sound really creates a serene setting. Don’t have room for a pond or waterfall? Consider a container water garden or a concrete water fountain. Other elements to consider are windchimes, birdfeeders to attract the songbirds or specific flowering plants that give off wonderful fragrances.
Furnishing the Outdoor Room
The selection of outdoor furniture is considerable with plenty of choices for beautiful stylish products that can be customized for any personal style. Regular dining furniture groups will seat a crowd, low-seating conversation groups are ideal for casual gatherings and elevated dining and bar groups make the most of a view. Look for comfortable chairs and sofas with stylish stain and mildew resistant fabrics. It’s best not to overload your space with too many objects; you can always keep a supply of portable chairs nearby. A cozy fire or fireplace can extend the season of your outdoor room by several months (always check with local fire regulations).
Connecting with Nature
It’s the little things like incorporating an element, such as a sculpture or a special rock that reminds you of a favourite vacation getaway. This memory transforms your outdoor living space into a personal sanctuary. You will have surrounded yourself with furnishings and outdoor elements that make for a pleasing and functional gathering place.
Enjoy your summer months in your oasis at home!