Houzz

Deckscaping – are you ready for summer?

Chapman 7

Textiles and plants share a color scheme of orange and chartreuse

It’s that time of year when we can finally switch fleece for flip-flops (except in Seattle where the combination is de rigeur for most of the year). Meals can be enjoyed outside, entertaining is easier and life generally seems more relaxed. But is your patio up to the task?

I am often asked for help decorating patios, balconies and decks when I visit clients to discuss container garden design. Small spaces seem to preclude doing anything much at all while large, open patios can be daunting. Where to start?

Just as with landscape design, the first question should always be about function. How do you want to use the space? Do you need to create a cozy lunch spot for two or be able to host an elegant candlelight dinner party for ten? Do you plan to sit and enjoy a view or do you need to hide it?

Here are some ideas get you thinking.

1. Bring out your personality!

Getz 2

This homeowner is just as much fun as her rooftop patio suggests!

 

Don’t be afraid to bring out the party animal in you! The patio above may not be for everyone but it is the perfect representation of the homeowners fun-loving style. Bold color choices, whimsical art and over-sized pots combine to create a zany space which exudes attitude.

2. A cozy space to sit with morning coffee.

Notice how the fabric and paint colors tie in to the choice of container plants

Notice how the fabric and paint colors tie in to the choice of container plants

 

Not every seating area on the patio has to include a dining table. The photo above shows how a simple entry courtyard takes advantage of a deep step leading to the front door; it’s a perfect spot for a comfy chair or two. The color palette for the container garden designs was taken from the front door and textiles to create a cohesive look to the entire space.

 

Bistro sets take up very little space and many can be folded for storage so offer a great solution for tiny spaces as seen above. The raised beds give a sense of enclosure, making the little nook seem more intimate.

3. Consider built-in seating

Fabulous use of rich, saturated colors

Fabulous use of rich, saturated colors

Custom, built-in seating can take advantage of awkward corners, bringing function to an otherwise unusable space. In the Tucson garden shown above a concrete chaise makes a strong design statement with its interesting lines and rich colors.

 

This corner lives large thanks to the use of built in pieces. Planter boxes and bench seating create a perfect eating nook while trellising provides a degree of privacy.

4. Break up a large patio into different functional outdoor rooms

Look closely and you will see there are three distinct seating areas in this small garden, each serving a unique purpose

Look closely and you will see there are three distinct seating areas in this small garden, each serving a unique purpose

This garden originally consisted of one long expanse of deck , a section of constantly wet grass and a steep garden with just a couple of trees. By breaking up the garden into separate outdoor rooms, (slight changes in elevation helped define this) and building retaining walls to act as terracing for the garden we were able to create a large deck for dining, a more intimate flagstone patio for evening wine and a fun viewing deck from which to enjoy an elevated view of the garden as well as a partially obscured water feature.

Notice also how shades of yellow and chartreuse help connect the spaces, leading the eye throughout the garden, helping it to seem much larger than it really is.

5. Create a dining room, not just a place to eat

Red is the connecting color in this space - tuberous red begonias will soon festoon down the sides of the containers

Red is the connecting color in this space – tuberous red begonias will soon festoon down the sides of the containers

The chances are that if you have a dining room at home you have selected some items to personalize it. A table runner perhaps, a favorite vase to be filled with seasonal flowers, art work for the walls and maybe a potted plant or two. Our outdoor dining rooms can be accessorized in exactly the same way. The beautiful patio above uses red to connect the chair cushions to the container gardens.

 

Notice the details in the patio featured above. An eclectic mix of chairs and benches are united by a quick coat of paint. Table decorations and textiles continue the theme while keeping the focus on the stunning view.

6. The lure of water

 

A simple path from one patio to another becomes an adventure as it traverses a shallow pool

A simple path from one patio to another becomes an adventure as it traverses a shallow pool

 

Fountains, waterfalls,  ponds and pools – the sound and sight of water adds another element to our deckscaping. Wall fountains are ideal where there is limited floor space.

The elegant patio shown above takes advantage of the park like setting yet includes a fountain as a focal point to bring a more human scale to the space.

7. Remember the details

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I’m a very detail oriented person – I can’t help myself! So when I saw the color of these chaise cushions at a clients home I knew exactly which plant I wanted to add to the little container. This tropical looking Anthurrium will be happy in this semi-shaded spot until fall.

I have been known to carry photographs and fabric swatches to nurseries before now to get exactly the right shade of million bells or geranium for a client! I’m not suggesting that this is necessary to have a good looking patio, but it may help you at least stay on track to actually think of your overall color scheme when shopping for plants.

So grab your flip flops and head outside. Does your patio need a little TLC to be party ready?

 

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Houzz – fresh design inspiration

Inspiration for fall color - Sumac 'Tiger Eyes'

I need to choose tile for our bathroom. Selecting a color palette was easy – soft earth tones. I could even make a quick decision on the material – either porcelain or ceramic since as much as I love natural stone it is more maintenance than I want.

After that comes the hard part – the design. Tiles are available in every size from 1″ to 24″ square as well as rectangular and hexagonal options. The surface can be matte, glossy, smooth or textured. And then there are the accent tiles! Listellos, mosaics, decorative inserts all in multiple size and color options. And how to put them together without making our bathroom look like a circus tent?

 

So what has this got to do with gardening? Any design process can be overwhelming whether selecting plants or tile. With a seemingly infinite number of plants to choose from where do you start? Where can you go for inspiration?

Books, magazines and blogs are a great starting point and I use them to write notes of my preferences. Of course I then have to make sense of my notes; assuming I can find them weeks later.

I’ve introduced you to Landscaping Network before and find that to be a fast way to pull up lots of options for patios or fire pits for example.

For this project I have found myself turning frequently to the website Houzz (pronounced how-zz)

This is a great way to build up ‘idea books‘, find professional articles and get product information, all for free and from the comfort of your own home.

Looking for ideas for a shade garden? Use the search box at the top of the screen, type shade+garden and select photos to find thousands of high quality images as well as related links. See the screenshot below to give you an idea.

See something you like? You don’t need to sign up simply to browse but to start your own collection of idea books you will. The sign up box is at the top of the page. (Mine says Karen’s Houzz since I am signed in).

Just click or tap on the +idea book sign to add it to your own idea book – either a new one or one you have already started. Incidentally these idea books can be kept private (a great designer-client option) or public which means we all benefit from one another’s research. You can add notes to these images too such as ‘love the orange flowers’ or you can leave a question for the contributor such as ‘what are those orange flowers?’

Regional garden writers submit checklists so that gardeners know what should be done in their gardens that month. Many also write about a Great Design Plant, often one they have firsthand experience of, providing not just cultural information but also design ideas and planting tips.

Since many writers are  designers you can also see some of their projects, read reviews of their work and get in touch with them to discuss your own garden plans!

 

The only down side is that truthfully I find the website can be frustrating to navigate. It is a huge site and you have to go through multiple loops to find say the regional garden guide for the Mid-West if you use their menus. Houzz knows this and are working on streamlining the site. In the meantime I find the search box works the best for me.

How did I find out about them? A couple of months ago they invited me to be the Pacific Northwest regional garden writer, giving me the opportunity to inspire others, offer practical ideas, introduce you to some of my favorite plants and keep you on track with your garden to-do list. I’ll be writing additional articles from time to time including one on Holiday containers which will publish in time for thanksgiving.

So whether you need tile or trees, check out Houzz today and you’ll be hooked!

Website; www.houzz.com 

houzz interior design ideas

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