Designer Chris Barrett approaches an outdoor space the same way she would an indoor space – determining the functions of the area first, and making sure the decor, lighting and extras unique to her clients follow suit. Before we dive into summer, we checked in with Chris to get a few tips on creating the best possible outdoor space.
Designate Your Spaces
When creating a sitting area, make sure the seating is comfortable, and there are enough surfaces for guests to place drinks or food. There are now so many fabrics that are constructed for exterior use that have such a beautiful texture and look that you would never suspect they are so durable. It’s also important to always consider the view from all perspectives.
If you’re thinking of a fire pit, it goes without saying that you place it in an open area. The seating should surround the fire. A lot of fire pits have space to set down your drinks but it’s still a good idea to have small side tables for items you don’t want near the fire.
A barbecue area can be big or small, or even a full-on kitchen depending on your space. No matter the size, it’s important to have enough counter space to set things down. If you have the room, consider splurging on extras like a pizza oven, that make the space unique and exciting. I have one client who’s putting in a beer tap in their own backyard space!
Personally, I like a designated dining area. In a perfect world, there is shade here. Adding a pergola goes a long way for making this a destination, and the pergola gives you the opportunity to grow plants over the space.
Let There Be Light
Lighting is really important in an outdoor space, and every area needs to be considered. Just like the interior, if the lighting is great, so goes the space.
In a barbeque area, enough light is needed so your chef can see what they’re doing, while a dining area is better suited for soft lights – string lights and/or hanging fixtures.
The landscaping should also be lit. Not so much that it looks like Disneyland but enough to expand the garden. Trying to achieve a moonlight effect is ideal.
Photography courtesy of Chris Barrett Design.
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