With summer at our doorstep, we can begin to dream about longer, warmer and brighter days ahead! FINALLY! So, it’s time to start considering our outdoor spaces, expanding our living and entertaining from in to out. No mater the size, there’s options, ideas and design tips that can not only help you maximize your outdoor living, but to ensure that it looks fabulous! Whether for lounging, dining, entertaining, or perhaps you need some privacy from your neighbours, there’s a solution for every need!
The first thing is to determine the main function you’d like to have your patio or balcony serve and size-wise, if it can accommodate. Is it for cooking? So perhaps a BBQ. Is it for Dining? A table and chairs, or for lounging with couple of loungers? Once you start with your largest piece(s) you can begin to layout the space. Always start largest to smallest, and from bottom-up! We like to start with the canvas, the floor. A personal favourite of ours is Turf, also known as artificial grass. Especially for urban areas such as condos and townhouses. It brings some greenery into an otherwise concrete jungle. Providing a soft landing for your feet, while adding greenery, and absolutely no maintenance.
*Always consult your local supplier and ensure the type of artificial grass couples a rubber drainage membrane, as most brands you might find at a Big Box Store are of lower quality and will not probably drain rain water. Alternatively, interlocking wood tiles for exterior patios are also a great overall stylish solution.
For smaller patios it’s also always important to try and source double-duty items. For instance, a fire pit that might double as a coffee table, or an outdoor chair w/ an ottoman that can be placed against one another to create a lounger. Flexibility is key! Once you’ve determined what you need, and what your patio can fit, begin laying out items in the space. In most cases, an outdoor tall bistro table (bar height) tend to be the best fit, as they’re usually a smaller footprint, and help to maximize your view, if you have one! Stools versus chairs can also be tucked nicely under a round or square bar bistro table. Maximizing every square-inch, especially when space is limited is the key. A built-in BBQ and outdoor kitchen are a huge trend right now, allowing not only cooking, but a surface to prep on.
With floors done, and your furniture and functions organized, it’s time to work in some greenery. Whether a combination of pots and/or planters, especially in any urban area, lush greenery and plants, or the illusion of, will be a great escape from your concrete surroundings! At Kalu, we tend to be a fan of a combination of solutions, such as artificial hedges, which can create privacy screening from your neighbours, while also adding a lush addition to your outdoor space, and no maintenance required! Then perhaps fill-in dead corners or areas on the perimeter with tall narrow planters.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to treat your outdoor areas as you would your living room! There’s a wide array of “in-out” accessories and furnishings available at most retailers today! From outdoor-rated plush cushions, candles, lanterns, and even art, sculptures, and decorative pots add an element of the interiors to your exterior. It’s important to utilize colours and accents on the exterior, that you might find on the interior of your home. Whether it’s a particular colour, or certain style such as modern or traditional, imagine your outdoor space as a direct extension of your interior living! This will provide overall cohesiveness and the appearance of a larger living area, and the perfect oasis for you to escape to with Summer at our feet!
PHYLLIS LUI & ALEEM KASSAM are the Principal designer duo for Kalu Interiors. For more than a decade this Vancouver based design firm has become known and focus on creating thoughtfully curated interiors that enhance and inspire how you live. The firm provides bespoke design services for clientele throughout Canada.