With warmer weather, everyone at one point or another desires to be poolside under an umbrella, or in a balcony or terrace on a chaise lounge with a refreshing beverage in hand. There is a whole lot of outdoor furniture in the market, and tons of stylish toys that can make your backyard the place to be this summer.
First, consider any space you have outside as thoroughly as any interior space. Create rooms within the space. Make sure to designate distinct areas for adults, children, cooking and lounging, as well as space for activities such as a place for kickball, a game of horseshoe or croquet. Spaces can be separated with decorative fencing such as picket fencing, hedges or rows of architecturally spaced potted plants.
Design and build a custom shed, which can double on one side to store garden equipment and the front side as a kid-size clubhouse. Make them architecturally daring or design them to match the architecture of your home. Get your children involved in the process, so they can take away lessons learned from the design-build process. Surely, if the design contains elements from their input, it will be used for years to come. In addition, create mini-size furniture to complement the design of their clubhouse. Later this furniture can be used as risers for potted plants.
If you are going to plant, you might as well make the most out of your efforts, and plant something you can eat. Planting herbs and small vegetables into your decorative containers is quite the trend. This is much in keeping with the farm to table concepts soaring throughout the U.S. and the world. Because these can be planted in small containers as well, you can uses herbs to decorate tabletops as well. It just takes a little creativity. Rosemary topiaries make great plants for a front porch or by the front door.
Even the smallest area of a backyard, an oddly shaped corner of a yard or small alleyway between buildings can be used if creatively laid out. Small spaces can sometimes even be the feature of your outdoor space. Imagine a small water fountain cascading down several layers of stacked stones or pavers, which continue in front of it as a walkway or a 3-foot space between a 5-foot site wall and a building and the wall is staggered with orchids in terra cotta pots. What an absolutely breathtaking use of an overlooked space.
Comfortable outdoor furniture is the crowning glory of your outdoor space, and will make your area as usable as your home's interiors. Great indoor/outdoor fabrics are available in many prints and colors to complement and decorating style. A mix of lounging furniture such as sofas, chairs and loungers will make seating area more inviting. Dining furniture usually comprised of tables and chairs are useful for dining and playing table games. Bar-height tables are also popular around pools, balconies and terraces. The only caveat is that they are on adult-friendly because of the height, and easy to tip over by playful toddlers and young children.
Joseph Pubillones is the owner of Joseph Pubillones Interiors, an award-winning interior design firm based in Palm Beach, Fla. To find out more about Joseph Pubillones, or to read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.