Warm weather is here, so it’s the perfect time to make some thoughtful changes to your outdoor living space to help maximize your enjoyment of it. Here are seven ideas, all from design professionals affiliated with Carmel’s Indiana Design Center, to help you see the possibilities and get the most out of your patio or backyard.
HOPE HAMPTON, INTERIOR DESIGNER AND OWNER OF COZY LIFESTYLE INTERIORS
“Many outdoor spaces include more than one hard surface — decks, patios, poolside, and outdoor kitchen spaces. I believe it is important to create harmonious spaces that flow from the inside of the home to the outside. Once the design aesthetic has been established, outdoor rugs can be an important part of establishing an outdoor space that connects to the interior spaces.
“I love using Ruggable outdoor rugs because the outdoors can be messy, and these rugs go into a washing machine and come out looking the same. Rugs allow us to anchor outdoor spaces and make them feel warm, define seating and dining areas, and lastly, tie the spaces together.”
SALLIE J. LORD, FOUNDER & PRINCIPAL DESIGNER OF GREYHUNT INTERIORS
“The exterior of your home should feel like an extension of the interior. When designed well as a cohesive space, your home gains visual value as it increases the useable space. For outdoor tips, consider outdoor highly rated furniture that will weather through time. Furniture that dries easily, cleans well, and can handle the sunlight and fading. Of course, looking great and fitting your style is also key. For the next layer, you want to consider adding in textures such as outdoor rugs, umbrellas for shade and comfort, and decorative pillows made from outdoor fabrics such as Sunbrella and accent pieces of furniture. Consider using the colors you have throughout your home and expanding them into your outdoor living space.
“Potted plants are a great way to add height to a space, shade and interest. You can even have spotlights in the pots to cast beautiful shadows for evening entertaining and setting the mood. Also, consider plantings such as lavender and lemongrass to help fight off mosquitos. Outdoor lanterns are always wonderful, whether you opt for solar, battery or real candles to add in a different material and play with heights.”
MARYELLEN HODAPP (LEFT, WITH CHRISTY SOLDATIS), INTERIOR DESIGNER AND PRINCIPAL OF SASSY GREEN INTERIORS LLC
“As summer comes into full swing, there are some outdoor living trends that have emerged. Years have passed where fire pits have enjoyed a prominent role for outside evening gatherings. We are seeing that idea move semi-inside to the screened-in porch with fireplaces taking center stage. Gathering spaces have shifted to these outdoor ‘living rooms’ outfitted with masonry fireplaces and sometimes TVs. And while a screened porch fireplace is a major investment, other trends we are seeing are much less expensive.
“Rechargeable mini lamps are hot, and they come in many sizes, shapes, and colors. They are perfect for porch and outdoor use — windproof and reusable! Astroturf placemats and table runners are also fun and summery. Large pieces can be purchased at big box stores and then easily cut into any desired shape. Have fun and enjoy your summer!”
KARA KAVENSKY, CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER OF ADAM GIBSON DESIGN
“Adding a luxurious outdoor living space redefines how you live in and around your home. When you create a beautiful outdoor area, you want to immerse yourself in it as often as possible. At Adam Gibson Design, we bring the outdoors in. Our best practices for outdoor living: utilize sustainable products, layout the space to maximize views (indoors and out) and utilize natural light.”
ASHLEIGH WOMACK (LEFT), DESIGNER, AND JUDY BATES, PRINCIPAL DESIGNER OF JB DESIGNS, LLC
“These days, outdoor living means having an additional living space to enjoy with family and friends that isn’t an afterthought, but rather another extension of your home. Some easy ways to spruce up your deck or patio are:
- Incorporate seating: There are so many great outdoor seating options, from a table and chairs to enjoy breakfast or dinner alfresco to a comfortable outdoor sofa where you can sip a cocktail to end your day.
- Outdoor rugs: Outdoor rugs have come so far! There are many beautiful patterns now that add style to your space, plus can be hosed off when dirty.
- Plants: Plants, plants and more plants! Adding some greenery to your space will not only help you relax, but depending on your choices, you can also repel mosquitoes or attract pollinators.
- Lighting: Whether you use solar-powered lanterns or hang string lights, lighting can add a cozy touch to your space and turn your space into a place you want to be day or night.”
ALLISON CHAMNESS, INTERIOR DESIGNER AND OWNER OF ALLISON CHAMNESS INTERIORS
“I like combining different materials when creating an outdoor living space. Using a mix of woods, metal, stone and comfortable upholstery makes the space feel like an extension of the indoors, which will entice you to use the space more often. If you keep the palette neutral on your investment pieces, you can choose a different color scheme each year with seasonal items like flowers, throw pillows and other small accessories.”
MICHAEL HANSEN, PARTNER AND LEAD DESIGNER OF OPEN GATE DESIGN
“Indiana, being a true four-season climate, highly values the months we have available to spend time outdoors. In fact, we love the outdoors so much, we have also created ways to extend that time.
“Our clients seek architecture that allows for outdoor spaces to be nestled into the structure of our homes. We thoughtfully utilize those spaces with motorized screens, lighting, fans, infrared heaters and fireplaces to maximize their usage. Furniture has evolved over time to closely mimic those cozy and comfy spaces we create inside the walls of our homes, such as fully upholstered exterior sofas and chairs.”
Created in partnership with Indiana Design Center.
Stephanie Groves is an Indy Maven editorial board member and contributor, and she is looking for a new planter to help update her patio.
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