As Canadians, we push through our treacherous winters with our eyes on the prize known as summer. Living in a country that spends most of its months under the veil of colder weather, I, like most Canadians, look forward to taking advantage of every moment summer has to offer!
Each year around this time, I’m inundated with requests from clients and friends who have been busy enjoying the weather, but neglecting their terraces or patios. They come to me with questions on how they can spruce up their outdoor spaces, quickly, effectively, and inexpensively so that they too can enjoy the final weeks of outdoor entertaining that comes with summer’s end.
Here are some tips that will help you get that neglected space looking like a fabulous outdoor oasis, without the fabulously high price tag:
1. As most urban terraces are small and often concrete, many people see the value in the outdoor space as additional storage rather than an extension of their interiors. The first step is to clear out clutter and remove any items that won’t serve a purpose in your newly designed outdoor living area.
2. One of the biggest challenges our urban jungle terraces have is the unsightly exposed exterior wall of our home. Refacing them can be costly and if you’re like me, this year’s trends will probably not suit your aesthetic come next summer. Painting brick or concrete requires a lot of maintenance and live wall options can often ruin the facade of a building. For an easy and inexpensive fix, consider affixing a design savvy lattice to the exterior wall. Lattice is often viewed as a more traditional feature to a space. However, with more cubist options available, this detail can solve the challenge at hand. Lattice can be easily painted to suit your exterior decor and can serve as a mount for vertical gardens without compromising the building’s facade.
3. There was a time that outdoor turf was looked down upon by designers due to its quality, however times have changed and the turf industry has greatly improved! Today’s market has large variety when it comes to artificial turf and the look is quite life-like. Adding turf atop a concrete slab (or even decking) is a quick and easy way to create a plush base for your outdoor oasis.
4. Landscaping is not just for those with in-ground gardens. It plays just as much of an important role when designing your urban terrace. The difference being that for urban terraces, the consideration is not only for the plants, but for the planters as well. When choosing planters to best suit your outdoor space, varying shapes, sizes, and height give great depth to any space. The key is to keep the style of your planters consistent. In smaller spaces, try to stay away from pairing contemporary planters with more traditional ones. Remember one of the most important design rules when designing a space: the less change in finishes (in this case your planters) makes the space feel larger.
5. Choosing the correct plants for your space is crucial. Not only from a botany standpoint (exposure, climate etc.), but also from a colour concept and depth aspect. When choosing plants and flowers, decide on a colour concept, much like you would for interior accessories. Adding plants at varying heights also adds additional depth and interest to your terrace.
6. Finally, show your personality through your accessories. The outdoor accessory industry has really found its place in Canadian markets. Choose coordinating accessories that pair well not only with each other, but with your florals as well. Have fun here. Be bold. Summer is all about the outdoors and good times. Your accessories are a perfect way to reflect that and are generally inexpensive enough that, they too, can be easily updated with new trends you might covet come next year.
Courtesy Shai Deluca-Tamasi
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