Summer may have come to an end, but that doesn't mean your backyard is off limits. Enjoying outdoor spaces should be a year round activity….especially for Californians. Making sure your outdoor space has comfortable seating, seasonal plantings, pops of color and some heat lamps will keep you coming outside regardless of seasons.
On this particular project I was working with a beautifully landscaped backyard space. There was even some existing furniture (cast iron dining set and a bar top table). Despite this, they found they weren't spending as much time out there as they thought. The problem was that there was no space to sit and lounge. It’s much like having a dining table in your home, but no sofa. By adding a comfy sofa, arm chair, and some extra lumbar pillows to give both comfort and color the the table seating.
No matter how big or small, creating seating in your outdoor space allows you to enjoy it that much more. There are so many options now for outdoor furniture. In this particular space we chose wood framed sofa and chair. Wicker, metal, treated wood….finishes for outdoor furniture are vast! One thing I look for when choosing outdoor furniture is something that will look good when the cushions are taken off. It’s also important to see that the cushion covers are washable. At the end of the day, outdoor furniture is meant to be outdoors, so don't worry about wind, rain, even snow! It can withstand it all. Just take the time to clean it annually as a part of your home maintenance. If you know El Nino is coming, it would be good to move your cushions into the garage or at the very least invest in furniture covers.
The soft orange sofa and chair from Restoration Hardware added some much needed color to this space. Since my clients had an existing dining set, it was important to find a way to make the old mix with the new. Their old seat cushions for the dining set was a taupe print that they stopped making a few years ago. Luckily Restoration Hardware had a similar color with a slightly different pattern. Adding touches of taupe to the orange sofa and chair and placing a few orange lumbar pillows to the dining set makes all the pieces work well together. We also replaced their old umbrella which was forest green and a bit tattered with this new Sunbrella taupe garden umbrella.
Add A Heat Source
Adding a heat source is a key to making your space pleasant all year long. In this space we chose a large round gas fire pit. The beauty of a gas heat source is that you can get it started with a flick of a switch. Running the gas line is easier than you think. Luckily in this yard there was very little hardscaping. After removing a few planks from the decking we ran an extension of the gas line from the house. We then dug a trench to where I wanted the fire pit and recovered the area once the pipe was run.
What’s the point of a beautiful space if you cant see it? The fire pit sets the mood and gives warmth but does not provide enough light for the entire space. The home is surrounded by outdoor sconces, which helps, but doesn't solve the whole problem. We added a pendant light to the gazebo. Not only does it add the perfect finishing touch to the dining space but it also adds light to a corner of the yard that was left in the dark. We also added string lights above the whole sofa and hot tub area.
Outdoor Dining = Outdoor Dinnerware
There is a time and a place for red solo cups, your backyard oasis is not one of them. Consider investing in melamine plates and acrylic cups. No need to waste paper plates anymore. These products are tumble proof, reusable, and attractive…what more can you ask for!
No matter how big or small your outdoor space is, make the most of it...all year long!