Q: How can I create a high-end look outside on a budget?


Today, outdoor lighting options go way beyond a citronella candle or tea light in a votive. There is a range of gorgeous light-filled options to explore. Adding fixed patio or deck lighting is one way to ensure the area will remain lit all year long. Candle lanterns provide the same soft glow as regular candles but they don’t blow out as easily. Check out the variety of solar lights that are available to find an environmentally friendly solution. Of course, nothing says luxe like an outdoor chandelier. Fit a flea market find with dripless candles or solar tea lights to make any outdoor space shine.


Take your style and colour scheme outside. For a cohesive look, translate the ideas that work in your living room to your backyard. Add decorative outdoor pillows or faux fur blankets to make your outdoor space a prime place to relax with a good book. Throw in some planters in a strong accent colour to liven up the space. Don’t forget to add sculptural pieces and artwork. Hanging a large, ornate mirror brings a luxurious feel to your secret garden.


One of the latest trends for the backyard is the addition of a rug underfoot. The softness and style of an outdoor rug mimics the feel of the indoors plus it helps to make the space more comfortable. Though there are endless options in terms of materials and styles for an outdoor rug, all of the options will result in a more intimate space for family and friends to enjoy.


Bring indoor design tricks outside. Instead of thinking of your backyard as one large space, try to establish boundaries for different areas. Think about the uses for each space and design accordingly. Give yourself seating options that can be arranged in many ways depending on the type of entertaining you plan to do and the number of guests. Create unique areas by adding a bistro table and stools to surround a bar, or a buffet table set up near the barbeque. Make sure to add a chaise lounge and side table for a restful place to read or nap. Even large planters or screens can create the illusion of several separate spaces.

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Kim Bartley, Principal of Kim Bartley Design, brings 25 years of business ownership and management to the table. Kim’s keen eye for design lends her rooms an edgy sophistication while remaining current and functional. Her philosophy is that your home should make you happy and reflect your lifestyle and changing needs. Focusing on unparalleled client care, Kim aims to make the design experience positive and enjoyable at each phase of the project. She works collaboratively with her clients to develop spaces that are clean and modern but still warm and approachable. Kim believes that everyone deserves to live in a beautifully designed space and focuses on truly “getting” her clients.

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