Great designs when space is limited
Welcome back to the second installment of our blog on being one with the great outdoors. In our first part of the blog we talked about designing for a larger space, but what if your outside area is short of...well area? Then you've come to the right place as this time we are covering fabulous ideas for the size challenged area.
While it may be easier to create a design for a larger outdoor space, it's sometimes a much more interesting design if you are working with a limited amount of area. Small spaces don't have to be boring...in fact they have the ability to be even more creative than their "bigger' counterparts. So how do you accomplish a stunning scene in your little area of the great outdoors? Read on and let us help you create your Nirvana.
Generally when someone tells you there are rules for design, you might think that they are more like guidelines. With small spaces you might want to stick to the rules as they will help you create not only a great space, but help you feel less stressed during the design phase. These few concepts will help you from start to feet up, wine in hand finish.
Look out and dream
Let's start at the beginning, look outside to your space. What are you dreaming of? A relaxing spot with twinkling lights neutral colors and comfy chairs, or are you thinking about a space full of fun with bright colors and crazy personality?
The first rule which is looking at the view from inside is particularly important. Your outside area should not only be an extension of your inner space's style, but it should continue to reflect who you are in your relaxed and comfortable moments. Do you want to sit upright at a table or lay comfortably on lounge type furnishings?
Plus think about this...what time of day will you get the sun? The time of day where the sun will hit your space plays a big factor in how you use the space. If you have mostly shade, you may choose a different style of decor based on lighting.
Also, depending on your climate, you might be relegated to looking at your space from inside, like on a rainy day or in winter months and you don't want to stare out at a less than perfect spot.
Keeping it simple (not boring) and the rule of 3s
Decorating a smaller space can seem daunting and your fear may be that it won't have the area to add those touches that keep it from becoming boring. Not so! By keeping your furnishings simple in style like rod iron chairs, wicker sofas, or clean lined benches you can create a clean palette to add bold geometric shapes or colorful accents to. Often people think that adding curves on furniture can add softness, but outdoor areas soften their look pretty easily with the right details.
As you keep it simple, also remember the rule of 3s. Use a maximum of three types of a material at a time. For example, use gravel, sandstone and grass for flooring. This rule helps add a consistency and coherence to your overall garden feel.
The rule of 3 applies to your color palette too. This means that when you are painting fences, adding plants, or furniture don't keep bringing in "a touch of this color or that color" pick the 3 colors you want to use and stay in shades of those colors.
You can choose to incorporate more colors or items, but it becomes much harder to maintain a cohesive look, and who needs life to be any harder than necessary?
Details, details, details and don't forget the shade
Wondering what details you need to think about? Well lighting, fabrics, accessories, and your personal style all constitute those little things that make the space inviting, but distinctly yours at the same time.
Lighting matters not just for when you're sitting out there, but for the view from inside. You always want to look out and get that "wow" factor at anytime of day. To accomplish this try layering your lighting.
The first layer is is for practical use, then the next is ambient lighting, and finally you want to layer at ankle height.
That first layer is lighting things like steps or sitting areas. The second layer is for things like water features and small trees or wall surfaces that have unique art or structure. Lastly, placing ankle height lights will make the whole area glow. You can try putting each set of lights on a different circuit, and then you can really create lighting as you need it.
When choosing plants try picking plants like lavender that perform year round or try winter bulbs like crocus, or roses which can be perfect for their scent and beauty.
Another detail to consider is privacy. Do you want to sit and relax while your neighbor next door peers at you from her second story window? Use tall shrubs to block ground level views, and think curtains or a covered pergola for that pesky neighbor. You want to enjoy your space without prying eyes.
Next to privacy shade is a necessity in outdoor living, and not just to stay comfortable on sunny days, but to also add ambience to the area. While a bright sunny area is lovely to look at, that's all it is...a bright sunny spot. To create a real space that defines your style, you need to plan for the overall look of the area, and that means making sure to have the proper amount of shade. to best figure out the right way to shade your outdoor area, spend a day or so getting to know how your outdoor area receives sun. Does it stay mainly at the back edge, or are you full tilt thrown into the glare? Making sure your space is shaded to your needs will help make a wonderfully usable and liveable space. Don't forget this is a room so treat it like you would an indoor space.
Below is a few ideas to create some amazing wall displays which can either hang on your fencing or house, check it out!
Pretty cool huh?
Hopefully this blog gave you the inspiration to start planning for the your time in the great outdoors (or your little corner of it) and be sure to visit us again for our last installment on how to make your front porch and door area summer inviting.
As always we would love for you to drop us a comment and tell us what you think.
Until next time...
Have a stylin' day!!