By Barbara Danza, The Epoch Times
It looks like many of us are going to be spending more time than usual at home this summer. Backyards, or whatever outdoor spaces one has access to, have never been more appreciated.
I asked interior designer Vanessa Deleon for her advice on making the most of outdoor spaces. Here’s what she said.
The Epoch Times: Many families are looking to their backyards to provide more comfort and fun this summer than ever before. What qualities make a backyard inviting and enjoyable?
Vanessa Deleon: Try simple things such as Lavoir hanging outdoor string lighting—they create a warm, inviting atmosphere. To make a backyard comfortable and fun, create a seating area with a cushioned seating set, replete with loungers, chairs, and chaises—these pieces are all great for relaxing outdoors with family and friends.
The Epoch Times: What are some of the easiest ways families can improve the look and feel of their backyard?
Ms. Deleon: For those that aren’t sure what type of design they are interested in, jumping online to search for a backyard theme—for example, rustic backyards, Southern backyards, city rooftops, etc.—will help them narrow down exactly what style and amenities they most love in a backyard.
From there, they can start small. If it’s a certain type of landscaping, look into what you love most and then narrow down by what grows best in your locale.
The Epoch Times: What are some key elements every family’s backyard should have?
Ms. Deleon: Umbrellas! They not only provide shade from the sun but they also add an element of comfort—plus they can contribute to the design of your backyard. They come in all shapes, sizes, and patterns, meaning you can have as many as you can strategically fit into your backyard with a stylistic appeal.
I also recommend a barbecue set up with outdoor refrigeration! Having this entertainment area in your backyard not only allows you to increase the footprint of your livable space and gives you the option to entertain outdoors—but it offers convenience and ease of use. This includes a pool bar or a garden bar if you don’t have a pool. If you have kids, having a fully-outfitted outdoor entertainment suite also lessens the impact on your interiors—there is no more running back and forth from indoors to out to grab a drink or a snack.
Trees! They not only provide natural shade and a cooler place to sit, but they offer a wonderful ambiance. In addition, a garden is always visually comforting and it can add all of the benefits of biophilic design. From flowers and botanicals to a vegetable garden—planting them can be a relaxing family affair which also yields a gorgeous aesthetic.
Fully outfitted outdoor entertainment center or not, we also recommend investing in a fire pit. It’s a nice amenity to have on cool nights and you will find it becomes a wonderful place for family and friends to gather and share.
Last, but not least, an outdoor projector is such a fun and special item to have. It’s like watching a movie in the park—but in the comfort of your own backyard.
The Epoch Times: What backyard enhancements add the most to the home’s property value?
Ms. Deleon: Landscaping is huge—make sure that the plants, shrubs, and flowers can easily adapt to the environment. If you live up North, planting palm trees in your yard for example, while gorgeous, won’t allow them to survive. Make sure you know what plants and flowers are best to plant in your area and which need the most or least attention.
Another great enhancement to home property value is the perfect-fit gazebo or pergola, meaning perfectly proportioned to your yard. And at the risk of repeating myself, a fully-outfitted outdoor bar, barbecue, etc. make all of the difference. It allows for extending your entertainment area outdoors and offers such a huge convenience and ease of use. I use True Residential’s indoor/outdoor under-counter refrigeration units—wine cabinets included—and they make for such a stylistic and functional appeal.
The Epoch Times: If a family wanted to splurge on one big item for their backyard this year, what would you recommend?
Ms. Deleon: [Furniture brand] Room & Board’s slogan says it all “Bring Modern Design Outdoors.” The furniture you select for your outdoor area should be an extension of the inside of your home. Go ahead and splurge on a great looking, comfortable piece of outdoor furniture you love that will stand the test of time. Equally, I would splurge on one of True Residential’s Beverage Centers. They are not only unparalleled in style but function perfectly outdoors—and add a level of convenience and luxury anyone would appreciate.