Winter melding into spring . . . well, it is in the northern hemisphere; that is, some north eastern parts of the U.S. Not convinced? Here in Wilmington, NC, the daffodils are up; eastern red-bud trees are in full bloom; and the dogwood buds are on their way. About 5 hours north, in Washington, D.C. the cherry blossoms are budding and predicted to peak bloom April 8-12. It's a gorgeous flowering show to experience!
We can hardly contain ourselves. Our long wait through a winter that seemingly wouldn't go away now fills us with anticipation of spring and summer days and nights: ball games, cycling, more running, swimming, beaching, fishing and a host of other activities that ends only with the imagination. We caress ourselves in the warmth and heat of the sun, blue skies and cumulus clouds. Then we cool ourselves with water, simple or exotic named drinks accompanied with copious salads of every kind and light meals packed with rich flavors. At the end of the day, we often fold, sometimes collapse into an evening on a patio, a deck, a porch or a balcony.
So may I recommend making your outdoor space a garden room, your special place. It would be wonderful to have a budget that will allow you to build an elaborately, comfortable garden room. But you really don't need a large space or budget. Some key elements to creating a comfortable, alluring garden room are an enclosed space (or the sense of enclosure) and soft and hard furnishing. If your space is exposed to overhead weather and sun, be sure to select outdoor fabric for your soft furnishings, such as pillows and seat cushions. Of course, you will need a garden. But gardening and garden spaces are pretty big topics. I love both and so will try to give you some ideas in more than just one post.
Small backyards are definitely great places for adding small structures that mark a garden space. There are all sorts of structures easily made into garden spaces, from the DIY example below to sheds to garages to just a space under a tree. Other areas include patios just off the backdoor and structures added to the house.
The backyard of a townhouse gives you the benefits of having less space to maintain and yet it offers all the wonderful advantages of outdoor space living. I love these classy examples below. They are two different home locations but image it in the same town home backyard location. On one side the dining area is accented with an outdoor mirror which would make it appear larger. On the other end would be the sitting area. Placing the mirror to avoid the bright reflective light of the sun is the only serious caveat I can see.
I don't know how permanent this glamorous tent outdoor room would be. But it so sexy and romantic, does the how long it last really matter?
In this example, just a little space off a back porch is enough to provide a cozy lounging area. Here, it looks like an old day bed with posts has been adorned with colorful cushions and pillows, then draped in lots and lots of neutral drapes on sides and top. Lovely setting.
This is a perfect example of using bright spring and summer colors in your soft furnishings that can be added to any size space for comfort and presence. The wicker furniture can often be purchased at garage sales and second life stores, then painted. Or of course, furniture can be purchased new. Don't you just love that rug and the mix of patterns!
In a small space, starting with where you want to locate your garden room will most likely be determined for you. Still, you'll need something to give it a feeling of enclosure and a boundary, such as a wall, a fence, hedges or even a bench and this is true even for a balcony or deck. You'll need a floor. Add color and comfort to the floor of your patio, deck or balcony with an outdoor rug. There are many of them on the market designed especially for outdoor use. They're durable and color fast. If your location is out in the garden, then a lush turf, gravel, mulch, and pine needles allows for easy maintenance. You'll also need a ceiling. Some examples of materials are shade trees, a pergola or a roof over the patio or deck.
If you only have an apartment porch, balcony or just a window with good light or view, even these spaces can be transformed to a garden room. Once you have your basic structural space defined and furnishings placed, the fun really starts with shopping and adding the garden and accessories. But let's talk about apartment balconies and accessorizing later in another post.
In the meantime, HAPPY SPRING
I'm ready, how about you!