Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Oogling Outdoor Spaces

I planned on writing out a whole post about designing for the outdoors. But then I thought, "why don't I just show them what I'm talking about?" So I scavenged Sunset Magazine and came across these 5 outdoor favorites: Tomorrow I am going to talk about water conservation considerations with landscaping, and thought this house was a perfect preview! You wouldn't know it by looking at it, but the plants in this front lawn are all drought tolerant and low maintenance. And you don't even miss the lawn! Notice also how the path curves toward the door rather than climbs straight up? (curving is a key to good landscape design). And the use of different textures and heights? Also note that there is not one blooming flower in this yard, and yet it is absolutely beautiful--proof that you can go a Long way with just foliage! I love this outdoor hanging chandelier! Constructed with a wire basket, some crystals and candles, it is so romantic and inviting. This is exactly the type of whimsical lighting feature that I love to see in a backyard, perhaps hanging from a tree or from under the eaves of a deck. A how-to tutorial on creating your own gurgling fountain accompanies this photo. The sound of running water is a really nice addition to a patio or lawn, and since this fountain recycles the H2O, it is eco-friendly. I'd love to stumble upon this while walking through the border of a lawn, and appreciate how these designers nestled it in among perennials and shrubs. This is a great example of an outdoor room! Of course, creating a stone patio isn't rocket science, but it's not the easiest project either. Here it is executed so well, with a lush border and those rustic chairs. For a similar effect without all the labor, gravel (or even mulch) would work wonderfully. Kinda makes you want to sit and stay awhile, right? Finally, this photo displays a lot of things happening all at once. The brick circular base adds such charm to this yard, and I really love the way the pots surround the base of this simple bird bath. Clearly the color choice for this outdoor room is chartreuse and purple, but you can see the variety of plants and textures used to create that palette! And of course I love the little girl playing in the center, and can only wonder at what her imagination is making of this idyllic spot!

Of course there are Millions of other photos of outdoor spaces that I could have added for us to drool over, but blog posts can only be so long!
My recommendation? Take advantage of landscape features in summer magazine issues, and clip the photos you like. Put them in a book or file for future inspiration, and try to tackle one project a year.

And if you already have a favorite spot in your garden or lawn, share your photos now by uploading them to Retro Summer's Flickr page!

Previous Outdoor Living posts:

Good Bones
Light Up the Night
Ode to Patios
**Retro Summer's webpage**

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