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Decor Expert : Kimberley’s Guide to Outdoor Living

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Decor Expert : Kimberley’s Guide to Outdoor Living

Carve out a private paradise in your garden

Quick. Which is the most expensive room to decorate?

If you answered the kitchen, you’re not alone. But, if you’re like me and you just spent $750 this past weekend on container plants, you are going to consider the possibility that your garden is the most expensive “room” to decorate. Although a kitchen renovation or makeover is costly, the investment immediately begins to amortize. Not the garden. The garden is like a toddler: insatiable, uncontrollable, maddening and often endearing. A garden requires continuous, ongoing maintenance, and year-round renewal. Plus, it makes you do crazy things, like ruin a favourite dress because you couldn’t resist the urge to do a little weeding before going out for dinner, or spending $750 on container plants.

Since I spend so much time, energy (and money) reining my garden in, you can imagine I want to enjoy it on every conceivable occasion. Creating welldefined outdoor garden rooms allows me to use my garden more often and more effectively. Rather than just plunking some furniture into the garden, I’ve chosen to create my own private paradise and you can too.

DELINEATING GARDEN ROOMS

Like interiors, our exterior rooms function better when we carve out specific areas for relaxation, recreation and tasks. Consider the various rooms, which might suit your garden.

AL FRESCO DINING

Even a tiny portion of a deck, patio or grass can be converted into an al fresco dining room. Choose an area close to the house, facilitating easy serving and cleanup and providing shelter from excess wind. Choose a table that complements the scale of the deck or patio. For example, to accommodate a four-foot-diameter table, a minimum nine by nine foot space is required. As with indoor dining, allow four feet of clearance between the table and a wall or railing for major passageways.

Although the majority of outdoor furniture can withstand inclement weather, most will last longer if moved to shelter during the winter. For this reason, unless you have an enclosed structure, consider lightweight furniture options such as all-weather wicker, resin, and metal frames with woven seats.

COOK CENTRE

More and more outdoor enthusiasts are looking beyond the barbecue to full-service cooking centres. One of the easiest ways to accomplish this is by purchasing or building a barbecue island. An instant kitchen, the barbecue island might include storage space, warming drawers, and even a small refrigerator, depending on budget.

QUIET SPOT

For quiet contemplation, position furniture arrangements towards the best view, facing away from the house if possible and put as much distance as possible between you and interior distractions such as ringing phones.

If outdoor reading is a priority, comfortable seating is essential. A high- back chair with arms, whether woven, wicker, or wood, cradles the body and soul, and offers an immediate sense of security. Add a small table to where you’ll rest your iced tea.

Add ambient sound such as a trickling water fountain or playful wind chimes to mask city sounds and foster serenity. Consider flower plantings such as rosemary, lilac, and jasmine to infuse surroundings with delicious fragrance.

For anyone who prefers dirt under the nails to a French manicure, or a family barbecue to dinner in a fine restaurant, a well-designed garden room provides a full year of satisfaction in just 15 short weeks.

Kimberley Seldon

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