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As temperatures rise, it’s worth sprucing up your outdoor space to guarantee a summer of easy lounging and al fresco entertaining
Kick back and relax with this year’s most carefree outdoor decor trend: bohemian. “I love that boho is back,” says Mango Design Co.’s Tanya McLean. “There’s a trend toward less structured and more playful design.”
Look for hammocks, swinging basket chairs, beanbags, Moroccan poufs, and lounge cushions to achieve the free-spirited, laid-back look outside.
Beaded Jute Hammock from Anthropologie, $148
When it comes to the outdoors, Moe’s Home Collection stylist, Michelle Shantz, says that it’s all about bringing the indoors out: “The patio is a chance to extend your living space, so why not take advantage of it?”
Key to this is furniture that’s not only comfortable, but also fits in a variety of Vancouver’s more spatially challenged outdoor spaces. “It’s great to have smaller pieces that can be easily moved, mixed, and matched,” continues Shantz. “And, of course, are weatherproof so that they can be stored outdoors when needed.”
Slipper Chair from Moe’s Galati Line, $425
In addition to outdoor furniture, local designer Sarah Gallop says Vancouverites are also looking for accessories such as pillows and rugs in order to create a complete, cohesive look.
“A lot of our clients are really interested in creating full outdoor rooms,” says Gallop. “Many of them have a full outdoor dining rooms, living rooms, and even kitchens.”
Whether you add in throw pillows or bright tableware, Gallop says the goal is to create an inviting space that gets people outside: “Any space that gets families and friends enjoying the fresh air works for me!”
Paisley Jacquard Indoor/Outdoor Rug in Neutral from Pottery Barn, from $75
According to certified landscape designer Kari Renaud, synthetic grass – typically made from a durable nylon or polypropylene – is another trend slated to take the patio by storm this season.
“More and more, we’re seeing a demand for homes that offer all the modern conveniences and then some,” notes Renaud. “For the kids, that means creating a sports or bocce court. Artificial turfs are a fantastic, low maintenance way to get that.”
Artificial Turf from SYNLawn
From bold prints to soft pastels, playing with colour continues to be an easy way to brighten up any outdoor space. But if you have to pick one this season, it’s time to go Greek. “I have a long-standing love affair with Greece, so it’s fun to see that Greek blue is hot for summer,” says Mango Design Co.’s Tanya McLean.
Achieve a Mediterranean cool vibe by forgoing kitschy Greek patterns in favour of calm blues that are reminiscent of the dream-like roofs and waters of the Cycladic islands.
Convivial Link Outdoor Blanket in Turquoise from West Elm, $114
Of course, no outdoor setting is complete without a little bit of light. Channel evenings spent roasting marshmallows fireside and opt for a natural glow with an outdoor fire pit – a trend that, according to McLean, continues to be a popular pick among Vancouverites.
“I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love spending hours around a campfire,” says McLean. She recommends concrete firebowls and cubes, which can be hooked up to natural gas, propane or used with clean burning ethanol.
Hemi 36 Fire Pit from Solus, from $3,195
Not keen on the commitment of a full fire pit? Don’t fret – landscape designer Kari Renaud predicts that tiki torches will be just as hot this summer.
“Tiki torches are a cool decor piece that are inexpensive and easy to install,” says Renaud. “Whether you prefer a modern or more rustic style, they offer an element of fire that doesn’t require a huge investment or a large space to work.”
LED landscape lighting is another option for small-space dwellers looking to add some light. “They brighten the way from the patio to the house and they let you use your space for a longer period of time,” Renaud says.
Tri-Colour Bamboo Garden Torch from Lowe’s, $5.99 each
With the surge in small-space living, plants are increasingly coming to play double duty outside.
“Everyone’s always looking to create more privacy, especially in the city,” notes landscape designer Kari Renaud. “Greenery – whether it’s espalier plants or a few lined up in a trough – act as both privacy walls and artwork for the outdoors.”
Plants also offer a clever way to hide less attractive sights, such as a garage wall or compost area. “It doesn’t have to take up a lot of ground space,” says Renaud. “As long as you have height, it works.”