Karl Lohnes: Modern trends to spruce up your outdoor space

Whether it be a front porch, small balcony or large backyard, the outdoor space we have helps us get out of the house to enjoy fresh air.

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With little travel over the past two years, our outdoor spaces have become an important part of life at home in the summer. Whether it be a front porch, small balcony or large backyard, the space we have is valuable in helping us get out of the house to enjoy fresh air and sunshine.

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I’ve seen a lot of changes in how people are using their outdoor spaces. With private reading nooks, water features for family fun, gardens and entertaining spaces, we’re developing unique ways to optimize our homes. If you want to personalize your outdoor space, these trends will help you spruce things up for an entertaining and stylish summer.

All decked out

Setting the stage for an enjoyable time outside means creating an environment that supports how you’re going to use your space. For those designing a new deck or terrace — or replacing an old one — there are some stylish and durable new options to consider.

One trend is to use two or more colours of decking. Not only is it more interesting than a monochromatic scheme, multiple colours draw attention to different features. You can, for example, use one material for your floorboards and fences, and use another colour for benches, built-in planters or to create focal points. I recommend opting for a mix of either warm or cool colours to create a pulled-together look.

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In terms of materials, the popularity of mineral-based composite decking has grown over the past years, and for good reason. Composite decking can be used for deck floors, fencing and even building furniture. It doesn’t contract or expand, making it an excellent choice for installing on the ground or near water. You can choose textured embossing, which is a great non-slip feature; plus, it’s fade-resistant and won’t splinter, sag or crack.

Inspiration from Mid-Century Modern design is on trend for outdoor furnishings. Ixtapa Outdoor 3-Piece Seating Set, $280, www.Homesense.ca
Inspiration from Mid-Century Modern design is on trend for outdoor furnishings. Ixtapa Outdoor 3-Piece Seating Set, $280, www.Homesense.ca

Take a seat

How you furnish your outdoor space depends on its size and how you intend to use it. If you want to dine after work on a small balcony, a small-scale dinette set with comfy armchairs that can double as loungers is perfect. If you have a big family and a large backyard, create various zones for seating, eating and entertaining, and furnish accordingly.

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One of the biggest trends for outdoor furniture this year is the look of Mid-Century Modern, especially low-slung seating with airy open weaves made with rattan or metal. The second trend is quite the opposite: large solid wood or rattan furniture with big cushions for a more cosy, relaxed feel. Sectional sofas and large ottomans are an important part of this ultra-comfy outdoor furniture look.

Need inspiration for the colour of your furniture? Look to nature around your home to blend furniture into its environment. Let the colour of tree bark, decking finishes, or natural stone be your inspiration.

Create various levels in your garden with an integrated potting system. Green Theory’s Join Planter System, www.GreenTheoryDesign.com
Create various levels in your garden with an integrated potting system. Green Theory’s Join Planter System, www.GreenTheoryDesign.com

Plant some style

Incorporating plants and trees in our outdoor spaces is a great way to add greenery, shade and texture, even on balconies and city terraces. Seeing more greenery, especially near windows (which lets us view it from inside, too) helps create lush, tranquil spaces. One trend with outdoor plants is to use larger planters to create big impact. This allows the planter to become a focal point (like a sculpture) in yards that might not have large trees.

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For small balconies and patios, creating a vertical end wall (for a stacked garden effect) adds height and privacy, similar to a screen. In sprawling yards and on decks, use integrated planters to add a variety of heights for visual interest and to break up one-level flat terrain. Seasonal plants and flowers in them can create a variety of heights, as well as making your garden more visible and easier to care for with less bending.

Do you have a decor dilemma or want more decor inspiration? Follow Karl on Instagram at Karl Lohnes.

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