Choosing Outdoor Living Style and Decor
How is Your Outdoor Decor?
By Dena Davis
A beautiful yard is like a fabulously decorated home: well
thought out, purposefully designed and carefully put together.
If the impression your yard gives is as important to you as the
interior of your home, you’ll want to invest time and thought
into this outdoor extension of your living space. You’ll enjoy
the rewards of your efforts for many years – and receive many
compliments along the way!
Okay, to start: you’re the landscape architect – pull up a chair
and let’s get to work! Let’s start by deciding:
What you want to use the space for?
This can be single or multi-purpose. Talk to everyone in the
house and brainstorm together. You may want to keep the entire
space in thick, green grass just for putting practice
(single-purpose). Or you may want to have a space for the kids
and another for adults (multi-purpose). Do you cook outdoors?
Want a flower bed? How about an area for your pets?
The other thing that goes hand-in-hand with this is considering
what you’re working with.
Is your land flat, hilly, rocky or full of trees?
How much sun/shade does each area get at different times of the
day – and will it make a difference for that area’s purpose?
Do you have a noisy neighbor? You probably wouldn’t want to put
a meditation corner near them.
Safety should be the first consideration for children’s play
areas. Place them away from streets and alleys, don’t position
the slide to end in the pond (unless that’s what you want) and
keep Fido’s pooh-pooh area far away from their little feet!
Now get out a pencil and paper – or landscaping software – and
map out the spaces, keeping in mind the “lay of the land” and
other pertinent factors. For now just make general circles or
squares to mark the space for each purpose.
What style you want to use?
Is it formal, informal, country, eclectic? And don’t forget to
consider what’s already there, like the architecture of the
house or the style of existing fencing. Consider the style of
existing structures that will stay and how those styles will fit
in your plan.
What color palate will you use?
Of course you must consider other existing colors: siding and
trim on existing buildings and fences, landscaping colors, maybe
even the color of a neighbor’s garage if it’s butted up to your
My house is blue with white trim, and that’s what I chose to use
for the outdoor decor: my chair cushions are a great blue
floral, the stone deck is colored blue-gray and I just planted
one of those gorgeous blue hyacinths next to the neighbor’s
white fence. Now, I could have gone with a green palate because
there’s so much green in the yard already (grass, trees), but
that’s just me.
Now comes the fun – uh, I mean the hard part: shopping for
everything you need. And color coordinating it. And making sure
the styles coordinate. And having friends over to analyze the
work (over food and drinks of course). And somehow, somehow
managing to hold up under the enormous amount of praise and
compliments you’ll receive for your labors.
It’s a tough job. But someone’s got to do it. Might as well be