TGI (Almost) S
Thank God It's (Almost) Spring!
I know I am one of many who look forward to those first signs of spring; daffodils, forsythia, birds building nests, grass turning green, and, of course, the prospect of getting my outdoor living space into shape for the season. Not being one of those who are able to enjoy temperate or hot weather all year round, getting ready for spring is always a process. There are flower beds to clear, seeds and seedlings to plant, and patio furniture to clean, repair and assess. Although it is still officially "winter" as dictated by those pagans of old, it feels like spring to me. I have been outdoors several times this week, just taking a look at my covered porch and patio area and imagining what I want it to look like this year. I think it is time for the furniture, at least the deep seating, to go away. I've had it for years and it is finally starting to show some age, and besides, I'm tired of looking at it. My dining furniture is neutral, which means bringing in new deep seating this year will open up a whole new world of color and style for me.
One of the first things I will do is take a look at what is out there; obviously, Familyleisure.com is a good place to see what is new, to see what is in my budget, to get an idea of what direction I will take. There are other ways to draw in inspiration as well; I like to check out what has become trendy and popular, to see the newest design "themes" as well as the new color stories that are featured in indoor furnishings, accessories, clothing. I don't jump onto all the trends, but I do like to see what is fresh for inspiration, and to revive what can become a tired, uninspiring decor.
Whether you are in the market to replace your patio furniture or just want to freshen up your outdoor decor, here are some suggestions.
1. What's the point?
Think about how you use your outdoor space. If it is all about beer pong and yard darts, you will not want anything too fussy or formal in your outdoor space. If you use your patio as a place to escape and curl up with a good book, you may want to focus on cozy comfort. If you are the neighborhood hostess with the mostess, your backyard may be all about having the right stuff to throw a party for a crowd; to provide adequate seating and places to accommodate your guests.
My backyard is all about peace and quiet; I like to have a space for outdoor barbeques and for people to hang, but I am mostly about creating my own little oasis, where I can sit and listen to the birds and watch the frogs and fish in my little pond. So what I will look for is furniture that will add to that calm, quiet, meditative space; thick cushions, soft pillows, natural colors; I will surround myself with melodic wind-chimes, potted plants, and yes, probably a fairy garden. I just think I need one.
Most of the time it will be me and my dogs on the covered porch, so I will look for a settee or sofa that will accommodate both me and my pups; I am not allowed to sit by myself in a chair. I will look for something that is deep and comfortable; it also needs to also be easy to clean and compatible with rain and sun. I like the look of wicker; I find it to be inviting and organic, so I will probably narrow my search to something that is synthetic, easy to maintain, weather-friendly but has a natural look.
I just discovered the new Palm Cay Collection by NorthCape International. It's got a nice, no-fuss modern look with a woven arm and back design detail that I really like. It's a definite possibility. I also like the finish, which is a gun metal gray; a nice neutral that isn't beige, taupe or brown.
2. What's new?
I like to see what the trends are in decor and color to give me a direction before I start shopping. Not that I am up for every new trend that comes along, but I know how easy it is to get in a rut. Outdoors, in particular, is a space we can take a few risks that we might not venture into indoors. Pantone's color of the year for 2018 is ultra-violet. I don't see that making an appearance inside my house, but on my back porch; maybe! Blues, berries, gold, black and grays are all big colors in design and fashion right now. Don't be afraid to add some color to your life; if you are uneasy about what "goes" add a few multi-color patterns to take away the guesswork.
Some new Sunbrella outdoor fabric colors for 2018:
3. Pulling it all together.
Once I have picked my furniture and have an idea where I am headed with color, I can really begin to make it my own. I look for essentials to atmosphere and enjoyment like lighting, water or fire features, rugs, throw pillows, art (which can be anything from a pretty rock to an outdoor sculpture) and potted plants. This is the part that is the most fun; it can also last all season long as I stumble over a flea market find or see something my neighbor has that I need too. One thing he has is a "beer garden" - he sticks empty beer cans on a shrub and thinks its funny. I don't need this.
I have a funky outdoor lamp that I never turn on; this year I would like to investigate some other options for outdoor lighting that I would actually use and would add to my enjoyment of this essential space. I am thinking overhead lighting; not the porch light that I usually rely on, but strings of fairy lights or lanterns to add atmosphere and beauty to the night. There are so many options, from tea candles in mason jars to outdoor chandeliers.
I love to surround my patio with potted plants; I know, I'm outdoors, what's the point? I like the variety, the colors, the textures of pottery and its fun and practical to plant citronella, lavender, rosemary, and mint; they all repel creepy crawlers and citronella does a number on mosquitoes. Marigolds and chrysanthemums, who are cousins, I believe, also repel insects. I also like to plant some of veggies that are suitable for pots like peppers, lettuce and tomatoes. (I know, they are fruits, whatevs.)
A rug is a must for me; I think it gives an outdoor space an indoor feel that I appreciate. Outdoor rugs are easy to come by and are available in a wide variety of price points. Look for something that will hold up to outdoor feet and shoes; the best rug I have ever had is made of polypropylene; it can be sprayed down with the hose when it gets dirty and dries quickly.
If you have never had a water or fire feature in your outdoor space I highly recommend it. I have a very small pond near my patio; I can hear the water gurgling through the filter, frogs splashing as my dog chases them into the water. I have a bunch of goldfish, ranging in size from an inch to about a foot long; they all started out as 29 cent feeder fish. You don't have to dig a pond, of course; look for small fountains or visit Pinterest for some ideas about tub sized ponds you can put right on your patio.
The same goes for fire features; you don't have to have a built-in fireplace or fire pit if you don't have the room or the budget. There are tons of portable fire pit and fire table options; there are also small table top fire features that still produce a mesmerizing and atmospheric flame. When all else fails, candles! Lots and lots of candles.
Just a few more days and winter will be behind us (its literally - in every sense of the word - snowing right now - but I am staying positive) and life can move outdoors for a few blessed months. Start shopping and planning now to make the most of it!
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