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How to create a peaceful outdoor sanctuary in your own backyard

How to create a peaceful outdoor sanctuary in your own backyard

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Today’s homes have as much thought and style brought to the outdoor areas as to their interiors. Patios, porches, and sunrooms all offer homeowners a peaceful sanctuary as a prescription for their stressful lives.

Creating your perfect outdoor space will be the result of the successful combination of many design elements: landscaping, stonework, carpentry, furnishings, lighting and accessories. Careful preplanning will be the key to the creation of your personal sanctuary, so begin with creating your personal wish list.

Start your plan with a few simple questions: Do you plan to frequently entertain outdoors? Do you spend time outdoors in the evenings simply relaxing? Is outdoor grilling a year-round requirement for you? Do you enjoy planning simple family meals outdoors? Are you working around a swimming pool? Do you prefer lots of shade or direct sun exposure? Do you want a TV as part of the design? All of these questions will be the starting point of your design.

Next on the wish list will be comfortable furniture. This should be the most important element in your design. Many outdoor furnishings have been manufactured to withstand all that Mother Nature can bestow. The age of folding, vinyl strapped furniture is definitely now obsolete. Many furniture pieces of today look identical to indoor furniture but have been constructed and designed to stand up to all the outdoor elements. Just as with interior furniture, outdoor furniture comes in many levels of quality.

In a sunroom, the furniture only needs to be sun and fade resistant. If, on the other hand, you are planning a patio with little to no cover, you will need outdoor furniture tailored to harsh sun, wind, and other outdoor elements. Manufactures have categories such as “Outdoor Limited Exposure” and “Outdoor Weatherproof.”

Many better lines of outdoor furniture feature cushions that are mesh bottom and manufactured to drain the rainwater quickly. The biggest name in outdoor fabrics today is Sunbrella. This company’s collection of fabrics is colorful, design-oriented, and totally durable. Sunbrella features gorgeous fabrics manufactured to resist fading from ultraviolet rays, mildewing from damp conditions, and odor absorption. It is just the ultimate outdoor upholstery or drapery fabric that will be used and enjoyed by your family for years.

Also, on the wish list needs to be lighting. Be sure to incorporate various types of lighting in your outdoor space design, just as you would inside your home. Landscape lighting, overhead lighting, ceiling fans, sconces, and decorative side table lighting are all great ideas. Develop a creative lighting plan to help you create a space with increased ambiance and functionality.

So, after your wish list is complete, it is time to combine all the elements to create your outdoor dream area. Taking time to plan and making an investment in design will make your outdoor personal sanctuary truly your own.

ANGELA ROWE, DDCD is owner and interior designer of Decorating Den Interiors.

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