Spruce Up Your Yard to Become Staycation-Worthy
Initially, when we planned this article, we expected everyone to be gearing up for the kickoff to summer with plenty of friends and family to entertain. As COVID-19 is still limiting us from socializing in person, our thoughts have evolved a bit. Still, the sunny weather and warm air invites us to spend more time outdoors. I love the idea of extending our living spaces outside to help us soak up a bit of the sun’s vitamin B (while wearing sunscreen and beautiful hats to protect our skin, of course). With many of us also struggling with “isolation fatigue,” we are ready to get out of our homes, even if it is only into our back yards with our immediate family. So, how do you upgrade your back yard for a fresh scenery change and simultaneously invest in updates that will enhance your outdoor gatherings when social isolation lifts? We share 3 tips for a back yard re-do that restores you now and is worthy of the get-togethers we crave in the near future.
1). One good investment that quickly dresses up your back yard is outdoor furniture. Often people skimp on this purchase and then wonder why the furniture did not last. In case you missed the “Sibling Camaraderie” article in the April 2020 issue of Modern Luxury Interiors Texas, McKinnon and Harris has a strong history of producing aluminum furniture that’s made entirely from its facility in Richmond, Virginia, so the company can ensure its quality. I really appreciate the fact that the manufacturer stands behind its products, too. According to the article by Jaci Conry, “McKinnon and Harris also offer a spa treatment program through which clients who have had furniture for a long time may send it to the company for a refresh—part of its lifetime warranty.” That is a sound investment.
Of course, if you have furniture that you really like but needs a facelift, you may consider cleaning, repairing and powder coating it. Our friends at Allied Powder Coating can weld, replace and coat furnishings and the bold transformation is eye-opening. Plus, the color options available today for vinyl straps and coatings allow you to bring vibrance to your yard year-round.
We recommend the powder coating option for pieces that are difficult to replace and/or have sentimental value like the bar cart that I inherited from my mother. You can just barely see my bar cart in the left corner of this photo. The refinished bar cart is actually the perfect size for holding a floral arrangement and appetizers on our patio when friends join us for a summer evening. (Oh, how I look forward to those again!) I was also able to have the powder coating match the bronze finish of our other outdoor furnishings for a consistent, pulled-together look. If you have a covered patio that keeps your furniture mostly out of the elements, the finishes and upholstery are likely to last longer, too.
2). After a dreary winter, people crave an escape from the typically grey weather. Add color to your outdoors with patio umbrellas, seat cushions and flowers. Sunbrella offers a lot of stylish designs in a multitude of hues. Plus, the durable fabrics can withstand the sun, wind and rain so you will not have to replace a dingy umbrella every year. I also like the fact that Sunbrella also offers cushions and pillows in matching and coordinating fabrics. Look at this sampling of some of the fun designs that you could bring to your outdoor space. Imagine the cheerful atmosphere you can create just by upgrading these basic aspects.
When it comes to adding flowers to your exteriors, I recommend considering plants that are easy to care for and are conducive to your weather. While that may seem obvious, it is easy to flip through national magazines and Pinterest pins to find gorgeous landscapes that thrive throughout summers in the United States’ northeastern climates but won’t be able to withstand Houston’s squelching heat. If you are not sure which plants work in your environment, check out the websites and social media channels of landscapers in your area, where you typically will find plants that work well locally. Another resource that I enjoy is GardenLine with Randy Lemmon, which is a Houston radio show and active Facebook account. While you are incorporating colorful flowers into your outdoor space, also remember to add lighting to your landscape to extend your evenings outside. YLighting is a great partner that ships to your home.
Giving your landscaping a good overhaul also clears your canvas for new possibilities. However, if you would rather spend your budget elsewhere, review your back yard for areas needing edits. What can you prune on your own or entice family members to help with? Hedges that have overgrown or trees needing a trim are a good place to start. Clients are often surprised at how clearing out unneeded brush can unveil a yard that’s perfect for your enjoyment.
3). Create a unique focal point in your yard that brings you joy and serves as a conversation starter with visitors. While this can certainly be a water fountain or statue, it also can be something that you pull together on your own. I have shared photos of my back yard before but this time, I’m sharing a different angle as an example of an exterior focal point. While we were building our new construction house, we rarely went into the back yard. Imagine our delight when we finally ventured out back and found the fig ivy had completely covered the existing fence. We had a bonus free fence and bonus free landscaping all in one. We found it so charming that we didn’t want to plant much else. The mantel had been rescued from the original 1936 home on the property. Although it had been painted Pepto Bismol pink, I knew it had potential. I had hoped to use it in the new home but it did not meet code. I put it in storage and later in our garage, much to the dismay of my husband. However, one day, while looking at the ivy, I knew exactly what to do with the vintage mantel. A few coats of white paint and some antique keepsakes I had around the house created the focal point I needed for my fence. Each day I can now look out my window to see this beautiful vignette. I love the fact that it’s such a unique outdoor setting. As an interior designer, I like to push the envelope and come up with unusual ideas that incorporate elegant pieces with a personal story.
While your tastes may be different from mine, my team can tap into your hobbies and preferences to create an outdoor space that truly reflects you. If you love to cook, perhaps we create an herb garden that extends vertically to add visual interest, while also supplementing your pantry ingredients. If your family enjoys watching sports together, consider building an extended patio with seating around an oversized TV with a nearby outdoor kitchen. Maybe a serene meditation area is more your style.
Many of us will be spending more time in our own back yards as the coronavirus limits our travels and gatherings with friends. Pamela Hope Designs can help you extend your home into the back yard with outdoor dining spaces, pools and retreats for your family. After all, creating a place you enjoy being on staycation can boost your happiness now and have lasting effects for when entertaining in groups is more amenable.
Think of a vacation spot that you enjoyed. Did the hotel or resort have a spectacular pool or outdoor sitting area? Which features did you really appreciate that you could adapt to your own home? Share your ideas in the comments feature. We want to hear your ideas. Who knows? We may mimic one of your ideas and give you a shout out on social media.
For more ideas like these, check out “A Few of Our Outdoor Elements” on our blog.
Conry, Jaci. “Sibling Camaraderie.” Modern Luxury Interiors Texas April 2020: page 48-49