Saturday, June 5, 2010

Outdoor Living Done Right

It’s almost summer which means it’s time to fire up the BBQ again for some burgers and hotdogs. It means visiting your local nurseries for plants, filling the kiddie pool with the garden hose and stocking up on bulk condiments and sunscreen. It also mostly importantly means your indoor living can be carried through to the outdoors for some fun in the sun! Fortunately taking the indoors out doesn’t come at a decor cost now that there are so many readily available options to keep your space chic and stylish every summer.

For some, outdoor living involves eating meals, gardening, sleeping and relaxing outside and for others it’s just a place to flop down and hang out with friends or a book. The following is a collection of different design ideas for decorating your space in these on-coming hot weather months. There are also a few must haves to make your space beautiful and convenient to your needs.


I love this outdoors dining room set up for its simple country charm but also for that relaxed dog making me want to join him with a glass of lemonade in hand.

CLX0708FLIPgrill18-de outdoor (13)


This set is great because it’s a spacious spot for drinks with friends and has a handy shelf under the table top for storing whatever you need. The lanterns hanging from the tree are an awesome added touch that look amazing all lit up.

Bales-Hay-Yellow-Flowers-ENTER0706-de Outdoor


These pictures are some table settings that are colourful and fun for backyard picnics. The table runner used above is made from bright coloured handkerchiefs sewn together as well as the napkin rings held together with a cute button. This is a great easy craft that makes a big impact on the table. Another quick way to add impact is to pick up some extra lemons at the market and use them as name cards for your outdoor dinner parties. When everyone has left you can collect them up and make lemonade so there’s no waste. You can also make beautiful centerpieces out of flowers from your garden by gluing them to styrofoam balls and setting them on cake plates across the table.

Lemon-Plaice-Cards-ENTER0706-de dahlia-domes-de-59903861

drinks-buffet-de-90158148 A weather friendly side table is a great addition to any backyard if you can squeeze it in. It’s a great place to use as extra storage for all the excess summer dishes and BBQ tools that there is never any space for in the kitchen. It’s also another opportunity to display flowers, lanterns, food and everything else that makes you smile. Below are some good buy ideas to pretty up your space in a flash. Decorative pillows in a durable fabric will always help add comfort to the look of a room. It’s also an instant colour punch to the decor which can be difficult in outdoor spaces since you don’t use fabric outside much.

0622_pillow01_rect540 Capture2


Essential to any good outdoor set up is the set of plastic dishes. What was once a cringe worthy thought is no longer! Plastic dishes are available in so many styles and colours now that you may find it difficult to choose your favourite pattern. Also keep in mind that going plastic instead of paper cuts down on your amount of overall waste and contributes to a green lifestyle (which is necessary if you want to continue having backyard BBQs). So when you shell out the dough for pretty plastic plates and colourful cups you can give yourself a hearty pat on the back. (Plus if one breaks its no biggie!)

outdoor-dinnerware twistdinnerware_melamine_1


Another of the must haves is the classic lantern. These also come in more styles and finishes than I can count. They’re available at tons of stores, from Home Depot to Wal-Mart and add so much to look of your space. You can buy a few and use them as the centerpieces for your table or you can do like the previous picture shown does and hang them from your tree branches for a sparkly glimmering look at night. You also might consider picking up a metal bucket to store ice and drinks in when you’re expecting people over. They come in several different styles as well but if you have a specific look you are going for or want to personalize your bucket then they are easily enough painted to your liking and sprayed with a sealant to protect it from rain and cold. And of course no meal outdoors would be complete without a pitcher of your favourite beverage. Adding sliced fruit to even just store bought juice classes up the joint by ten points.

Drinks-Table-ENTERT0605-de out-decor-pitchergalveston-outdoor-living-l

These are some of my favourite hangout spots I’ve seen over the years. They’re all beautifully done and make me want to dump this tiny apartment and carve a little slice of outdoor heaven for myself. Somehow my balcony just doesn’t compare…

outdoor (14) Outdoors (9)


I can see myself sipping some wine and watching my imaginary dog running along the shore right now.

outdoor lvng rm3 img15m


This space is done in subdued cool colours rather than the typical bright, bold colours. It’s very grown up and calm in appearance. It looks like they took inspiration from the colours of the beach, the sun and the sand.

Capture Outdoors (2)

To help make your backyard dining great I’ll share with you my personal favourite recipe for Mint Lemonade compliments of Martha Stewart. The mint gives it a refreshing twist and tastes great.


Serves 4 to 6


1/4 cup sugar for simple syrup

Ice cubes

1 2/3 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 tablespoons julienned mint, plus leaves for garnish

1 lemon, sliced 1/4-inch thick, plus more for garnish


  1. In a small saucepan, combine sugar and 1/4 cup water. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat. Let stand until completely cool.
  2. In a large pitcher half-filled with ice, add 2 cups water, lemon juice, simple syrup, mint, and lemon slices. Stir to combine. Serve over ice. Garnish with mint leaves and lemon slices.

What’s your favourite outdoor summer activity? Do you have an outdoor space you wait all year to use? What are your must haves for making it great? I’d love to hear your thoughts on it!


ilovemyhouse said...

I have a great garden where i've been working my b*** off this weekend. I am broken. Thanks for giving me the encouragement to carry on with these great inspirational pictures.And you know i always try your recipes! xx

Cheryl said...

Hi, I found your blog via Hooked on Houses, and what a great find!
Your Audrey Hepburn quote is one of my all time favourites.
These outdoor rooms are beautiful and will be great inspiration. My dream house will have a large wraparound porch and if the space looked half as inviting as any of these pics I would be one happy girl.
Thank you for another awesome website to distract/inspire me! Also, Candice Olsen rocks my socks too. You, me, Julia, Candice, one of these outdoor rooms and a cocktail sounds like a great afternoon.
Take care and thanks for all of your hardwork.

Post a Comment

Thanks for sharing!