Outdoor Living Spaces
The interest in outdoor living spaces is swiftly on the rise. Each year as the weather gets warmer, homeowners gravitate to the outdoors to extend their living space and maximize their square footage. Some opt to create a visually appealing space with potted plants and garden decor while others create intimate living rooms, only outdoors. During the summer months it is not uncommon for homeowners to move all their cooking and meals outdoors.
Today I am taking part in a BLOG HOP, where a few of my friends in the blogging community have also written about the same topic. This is a great way to see different points of view on the same subject matter so when I was asked, of course I agreed!
So let’s get on with some inspiration and some great tips. I’ll be using some great outdoor living spaces I’ve encountered over the last few years as examples.
Things to Consider when Creating an Outdoor Living Space
There are several things to consider when planning out an outdoor living space. Any variable of a number of elements can be can be added to create an outdoor living space. There are also so many style and material options for outdoor furniture that you will have to think about your style and aesthetic as well as what your priorities are and how you would like to use the space.
How will the space be used?
The first thing to ask yourself is how do you intend the space to be used. Knowing how you will use the space will determine what type of furnishings to consider.
The Outdoor Lounge
Will you be using the outdoor space as a place to simply relax and read a good book? If so, then a quiet space with a chaise lounge or two and a small side table would suffice. The best place for a chaise lounge is under shade to eliminate glare when reading. Under a tree would be the perfect spot for such a set up. But if that isn’t available, under an umbrella or a roof overhang would be ideal.
For this outdoor vignette below, designer Linda Allen opted to add a cordless floor lamp, which is perfect as the sun starts to set in the evening.
We carry a similar cordless floor lamp from Seasonal Living , which is available through our showroom. They offer a variety of concrete and vibrant ceramic finishes, which can blend in with any decor.
The LED bulb will stay illuminated for 6 1/2 hours and takes about 5 hours to charge. It is a pretty handy thing to have around if you entertain outside.
The Outdoor Living Room
If you prefer to sit around for a relaxing conversation with friends, an outdoor living room might be the way to go. This outdoor space celebrates the outdoors with a concrete garden table and chairs in the shape of tree branches. What a great way to incorporate concrete furniture in a more organic way so that it blends in with the surroundings. This intimate seating area was designed by my friends, Justina and Trevor Freel for the Pasadena Showcase House back in 2017.
For an entirely different feel, this outdoor living room is situated right outside the master bedroom in Christopher Kennedy’s show house last year. Instead of using more organic shapes, this space plays up to the Palm Springs mid century aesthetic.
In both instances, incorporating an indoor outdoor rug is the perfect way to define the space and create a more intimate seating area.
The Outdoor Dining Room
Will you be creating a space to eat meals and entertain? If so, consider adding a colorful table cloth or runner to completely transform the space. This space below, an outdoor dinner party set up by my uber stylish friend and superstar sales rep, Carey Yount really set the tone for the evening. The outdoor lantern, hand-picked flowers, and thoughtful rosemary garnish from the garden adds a special touch, and when entertaining, those details mean everything. Her skilled eye transformed a simple teak outdoor dining set into a colorful stage. By the way – the meal and conversation over dinner was out of this world, too!
What type of furniture do you use IN a pool?
If your pool has a baja shelf, as many do these days, I recommend using a chaise made of polyethylene resin or similar. A baja shelf means that your chaise will be submerged in water -usually about 8-12 inches deep. Do not use a metal frame or it will corrode.
For this particular project we used a formed polyethylene chaise in a translucent material. You can opt for a LED light kit that will change the chair into any color after the sun goes down. Or in the case of this project above , we positioned the chaises in front of the pool lights, which illuminated the chaises without the need for a light kit. It is also available in a variety of opaque colors. The baja shelf sits underneath a large oak tree so there is no need for an umbrella.
This pool, above also has a pair of chaise lounges but also incorporates a spot for an umbrella and side table.
Can I use any type of fabric to upholster the cushions outside?
NO! Always use fabric that is indoor outdoor specific. Look for a solution dyed acrylic such as Crypton, Inside Out, or Perennials. These manufacturers test each fabric for lightfastness. They will hold up to the sun and elements for an extended period of time and each fabric should have a lightfastness rating. With a solution dyed fabric, the color extends through to the core of the filament, so the fabric will not fade the way a traditionally dyed fabric will.
The Radish or the Carrot?
I like to use the analogy of the radish and the carrot to best convey the difference between traditional dyed fabrics and a solution dyed fabric. With a traditionally dyed fabric, the color sits on the outside of the fiber. Over time, the sun will cause the dye to fade. This is the radish. A solution dyed fabric has a different process. The dye is added to the liquid which is then extruded into filament yarns. The color runs all the way throughout and doesn’t just sit on the surface. A solution dyed fabric is just like a carrot, where the color is consistent throughout. Does that help you to understand the difference?
We have a comprehensive selection of indoor/outdoor fabrics in our showroom, both available to the public and design trade.
How do you create more intimate outdoor spaces?
There are certain elements that can be added to create more intimate spaces for conversation, a place for reflection, or just a quiet place to hang out.
Some people respond to the soothing sound of running water. Built in streams and ponds are a great way to add visual and audible interest in a garden. They are surprisingly not too hard to maintain, as well.
The hillside stream below is set in a more natural setting – a mix of California native plants and perennials.
Drought tolerant plants make for easier maintenance and less watering and help blend the yard into the scenery in the background.
Art and Lighting
Add color and interest on exterior walls by introducing art. Again, cordless lamps are a great way of illuminating outdoor living areas that otherwise might not get much light when the sun goes down.
Add potted plants. The pots will add some color and if you choose the right plants, you can add texture to the space. I live in Southern California, where it tends to be really hot and dry during the summer months, as it hardly rains from May to October. You have to remember to water your plans or have an irrigation system set up for your potted plants. Add a soil moist extender f you don’t have a drip irrigation system. This will keep your potted plants moist for twice the amount of time.
Plant succulents – they store water, which allows them to survive longer. They are low maintenance and will not die off if you forget to water them for a couple of days.
A Fire Pit
For chilly summer evenings, a fire pit is always a nice addition.
I love the use of the concrete in this space. From the heated lounge chairs to the decorative vases, they really complement the texture of the succulents and native plants.
While we are on the topic of concrete,here are some of my favorite concrete pieces from our favorite vendor, Seasonal Living:
How do you create the perfect outdoor space for entertaining?
One way to create a dramatic space for evening entertaining is by utilizing colored LED lighting in the pool.
An outdoor movie screen is always a great addition to the backyard. My mom recently hosted a birthday party for my 16 year old niece. They rented a blow up outdoor screen, played the movie Better Off Dead, and it was a hit. Any movie with John Cusack is always a hit in my book!
Interested in achieving these looks in your own home? Give us a call and we can help you put together your outdoor living space. If you are interested in any of the products shown, feel free to contact us, as we are a dealer for most of the lines. For all inquiries, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for joining along on this BLOG HOP. Now for the fun! Each blog has a very different and unique point of view on outdoor living spaces. Visit their blogs and follow along!
A huge thank you to my friend, Leslie Carothers of Savour Partnership for organizing this BLOG HOP – the first I’ve ever done. Leslie is a mover and shaker in the industry. She also writes the magazine for Seasonal Living, whose product is also featured in this post so check out her website and follow her on Instagram to keep up with all that is going on in the industry.
Here’s a great pin for Pinterest:
Be well and stay healthy!