With our summers as short as they are we want to maximize our time outside. There are so many variables to consider, including sun and shaded areas, the rain, the wind and the bugs. We also need to think about how we prefer to use our outdoor space. Do you like to get cozy on a couch or do you want to eat family dinners on the deck? Do you like to stretch out on a lounger?
If you have a large enough deck to create zones, this will allow you to have the best of all scenarios. We also want to ensure the barbecue is in the most convenient and safe spot. Each deck tends to be unique in size, shape and exposure to the elements and these considerations are integral to arranging it in a practical and enjoyable way.
Before buying furniture for your deck, spend time on it noting how much sun you get at certain times of the day and in what areas. Use lawn chairs initially to enjoy the deck and discover your favourite spot. If you envision family dinners outside, make sure to go out on the deck/patio during your dinner time. Will you need an umbrella to block sun, or is a deck heater something to think about?
A major consideration for the furniture is the space it will take up and the flow of people. Allow room for people in those chairs and the ability to get up and move around easily. A great way to ensure you have the space is to use painter’s tape to outline the desired furniture right on the deck. Once you’ve established the way you’d like to utilize the deck/patio and where to situate your furniture, you get to SHOP!
Sit on all different kinds of furniture. Most large stores now carry an outdoor furniture series and the styles and prices can vary greatly. You can get everything from a resin plastic, to wood, to wicker and metal. Read the reviews. Consider the wear – will it stay white? Do I want to sit on a black chair in full sun?
Cushions are a great way to add personality to a patio set and make it more comfortable. They should be stored in a weather-resistant place when not in use, so consider an attractive deck box if you have the space. Another way to add personality and texture to your setting is with an outdoor area rug and throw pillows. There are so many gorgeous options now.
Potted flowers and plants warm up a space and add colour, but they can also combat the skitters (mosquitoes). Speak with your favourite greenhouse about the variety of plants that grow well in our climate and keep the bugs at bay. Like all good design they are beautiful AND functional!
Don’t overlook the importance of lighting. There are options from candles to outdoor lamps and fun strings of patio lights.
Remember – good design is about function and beauty. Make a plan before you buy!
Decorator Kim Purvis, owner of Aurora Decor, is pursuing her lifelong passion of creating beautiful home spaces