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Porches, Patios, Decks, Oh My! | A Guide to Outdoor Living

Brooke Cleaver     July 21, 2023

Summer is finally here, and it's time to shed those winter coats and embrace the warmth of the sun. As the days grow longer and the temperatures soar, there's no better place to be than your own backyard. It's a sanctuary where you can escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and indulge in the simple pleasures of summer. But how can you make your backyard truly special? How can you transform it into a haven that caters to all your summertime needs? Let's explore some exciting ideas that will turn your outdoor space into a captivating oasis where relaxation, fun, and natural beauty harmoniously come together.

Design for Double Duty

Summer is the perfect time to maximize your garden’s potential. If COVID has taught us anything, it’s that we’re masters at adapting. Remember when our kitchen islands effortlessly morphed into makeshift classrooms? Or when our humble closets magically evolved into temporary offices? So who’s to say we can’t do the same with our outdoor courtyards and gardens? Just because the pandemic is coming to a close doesn’t mean we need to abandon our newfound love for multifunctional spaces.

More and more, people are taking to the great outdoors by turning their yards into open-air kitchens, gyms, and offices. This summer, make the most of your garden by transforming your space into a multifunctional oasis full of luxury and charm. Imagine stepping outside with a cup of coffee in hand to a tree-covered yoga studio, complete with blue skies, warm air, and the gentle chirps of birds.

OpenAirOfficGeorgiaDeLotzPhoto: Courtesy of Georgia de Lotz

The secret to a successful outdoor addition lies in artful zoning and clever furniture placement. If you’ve ever lived in an open-concept home, you might be familiar with the concept. Determine what you want your space to be used for, and create boundaries through rugs, furniture, plants, and décor.

Let’s say you wanted to build an outdoor kitchen with a sitting area. Choose one area of your patio for dining and another for cooking. Further separate the two through natural boundaries like your furniture and rugs. Both of these tools are great for dividing your space and giving the appearance of separation. Complete the look with thoughtful design elements and décor options, such as outdoor pillows, lighting, and signs.

Lose the Lawn

Another way to maximize your garden is by losing the lawn. For many of us, summers are usually defined by hot weather and hours of yard work. Conventional lawns, while stunning, demand an overwhelming amount of care and upkeep. Between watering, fertilizing, mowing, and weed eating, we often spend more time caring for our lawns than we do enjoying them. It’s for that reason that practical designs like edible landscapes, gravel walkways, and meadow-like gardens are replacing the once beloved yard with the white picket fence. Many homeowners are abandoning their verdant, green lawns for mixed landscapes that intermarry function and style.

One of the easiest ways to toss your lawn care routine is through the use of grass alternatives, such as gravel, artificial turf, and micro clover – yes, you read that right – micro clover. Now for many of you, the idea of planting clover might seem blasphemous. After all, why would anyone want to put what many consider a weed in their yard? But for a growing number of people, micro clover has become a welcomed addition to their lawns.

CloverVaivirgaPhoto: Courtesy of vaivirga

Picture this: Instead of a vast expanse of green, you walk outside to find yourself surrounded by a symphony of wildflowers. Leading the way are gravel, mulch, and stone pathways that weave around raised garden beds. Visualize meadow-like nurseries, a tapestry of natural beauty, effortlessly blurring the boundaries between art and utility.

Sit in Style

Looking for more ways to optimize your garden this summer? Consider adding a sitooterie (Sih-too-duh-ree) to your backyard arsenal. A sit-what-erie: you ask? Scottish in origin, this fun-to-say word is used to describe a gazebo-like structure meant for relaxing in nature. It stems from the Scottish pronunciation of the phrase ‘to sit out’—or ‘oot,’ as they like to say, and has quickly become one of the biggest outdoor trends of 2023.

Most traditional sitooteries are made of wood or stone and are typically covered. Some have windows, while others have railings or screens to evoke a sense of privacy. However, backyard adaptations can be more relaxed than their Scottish counterpart. You can easily build a sitooterie at home using only a few chairs and a fire pit. The main point of a sitooterie is to have a nice, quiet place to escape and enjoy nature. As long as it’s somewhat private and peaceful, you have the makings of a Scottish-inspired sanctuary.

For the purist who wishes to stay true to the Scottish tradition and build a freestanding shelter pact with charm and privacy, fret not. With the help of a pergola, patio cover, or even a greenhouse, you can craft a cozy little corner for you and your loved ones. However, if you’re not a fan of having a permanent structure nestled in your backyard, you can always opt for a temporary solution like an umbrella or cabana.

genesis_cable_guideFeatured: Season-Vue Patio Shades with Cable Guide

Weather-resistant patio shades are also an excellent solution for creating a sitooterie. A good patio shade can shield you from the elements and offer you a sense of privacy that otherwise couldn’t be achieved with a traditional porch, patio, or pergola. Imagine leading your guests outside to a shaded patio on a hot summer’s day.

No Patio? No Problem

Designing the perfect patio is great and all, but what do you do if you don’t have a patio to speak of? To all the urban dwellers in the back (if you’re still with us), rest assured—we hear you. We understand the appeal of a yard-free existence; no lawn to mow, no weeds to pluck. But we also recognize the yearning to escape the confines of city living. When you live in an urban setting, it can sometimes be hard to escape the great indoors. Because of this, we’ve designed a few solutions to bridge the gap between your inner world and your outer one.

Nothing quite compares to waking up and walking out to your living room, only to find tiny slivers of sunlight peeking through your windows. Greeting the sun at the break of dawn can be a truly magical experience, but only if you have the right lens to view it through. If you’re looking to bring a little more of the outdoors in, you can’t go wrong with sheer shading or seamless draperies. Both options allow for tons of natural light and help blur the lines between the outside world and your home. The only downside to this option is that it may hinder your privacy.

If you’re looking to bridge the gap further, consider adding more natural elements to your summer rotation. Fresh flowers and plants can help boost your mood and give off the illusion that you’re sitting on a shaded patio rather than in a cozy kitchen nook. Alternatively, consider adding grass floor and window coverings for a tactile experience that is both stunning to the eyes and pleasant to the touch. Bamboo, reed, sisal, and jute are great options for adding natural charm.

Final Thoughts

We hope you feel a little more inspired and ready to take on your backyard. Whether you opt to embrace practical designs like an edible landscape and meadow-like garden or envision a multifunctional space that seamlessly integrates your outdoor activities, the possibilities are limitless

Share your thoughts and creations with us on social media. We’d love to see the gems you come up with.

Lafayette Interior Fashions is a family-owned, to-the-trade manufacturer of blinds, shades, shutters, draperies, and other custom-crafted interior fashion products. To learn more about our products, find a local dealer near you.

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