As we are finally finishing with cool spring weather, I can see neighbours, friends and family longing to get outside and enjoy some of the warmer weather. Dinners in the yard or having a visit in the garden, or porch, seems to be what we are all turning our attentions to. We all want to enjoy living in the great outdoors but with all of the comforts of being indoors and with the advancements in outdoor furniture that is completely achievable. Have a look at the space that you have outside the house and decide how it is best divided up to create both comfort and luxury.

The Den
Being able to sit on the front porch is a great thing and the prevalence of front porches in new construction makes them a feature. Add some great foliage to a couple of urns that flank the front door and then use the rest of the space as a den. A couple of chairs, or a love seat in outdoor seating materials make a great space to have a quiet chat with one other person or to sit alone and watch the neighbors go by. You rarely sit alone for long as the neighbourhood stops by to say hello and have a brief chat. This area allow you to enjoy the outdoors without sitting directly in the sun, but still enjoy the sights and sounds of the outdoors and the people that live around you.

The Living Room
In the back of the house, if the decking has a little more area, you can also incorporate an outdoor sofa and coffee table set up so that space also becomes an ideal place to entertain others or to simply curl up with a book and a summer drink. Conversely, you can create a wild lounge area. Your back yard will be party central. Even if you don’t have a pool all of this can be achieved on the deck or just on the back patio. It just means the pool is the bathtub indoors and that pool is just for you! With the advent of the woven recycled plastic structure and fantastic outdoor mould resistant fabrics, we are allowed to play with shapes and styles like never before. There are many lines of this style of furniture varying in price dramatically. Have a look around at the various retailers and see what your budget can deal with. Ideally you will be able to choose a recycled product. Loews has some good selection in terms of style or Dedon at the top of the budget chart.

The Dining Room
You also want to be able to create a dining room outdoors. I think it is always best to have this area closest to the back door of the house as this is typically where the barbeque is and it allows the travel of foods and dishes easily from the kitchen to the table. Again the development of styles of furniture means that you no longer have to be tied to the white plastic chairs that are more available at discount stores. With the development of some really fantastic furniture, that is featured here, you can see that you are able to create spaces that will weather well and last you for years to come, while achieving the look of fine hotels around the world.

In terms of making choices of furniture, you want to look for items that have classic lines. You also want to be sure that they weather well as our Canadian climate is hard on furniture. Being able to have outdoor furniture that is every bit as beautiful as your indoor furniture allows you to double the size of your living area in the good weather. In the past, it was difficult to host a brilliant dinner party in the back yard as the seating areas were never all that comfortable, making a three hour visit or long meal a bit painful. The only person that profited from such furniture was the local proctologist! I think it best to look at styles that are similar to what you have chosen for the indoors of your house so that you create a seamless feeling between the indoors and the outdoors.

The upholstery for the furniture can be as changing as you would indoors. If you use good neutral coloured fabrics for main cushions, however allowing for a bit more intensity of colours to match the intensity of the summer sun and then create accent cushions in outdoor fabrics (mould resistant fabrics) that can be found at any good fabric store. Maintain the interiors of the pillow which is a more eco friendly choice so that you are only changing the covers. Summer by summer you can change these cushions which will give you the feeling of a new space each year in the same way the surrounding garden changes year by year.

As we are pushing on the gates of time to get us back into the great outdoors, don’t ignore the indoors but do what you can to marry the two. What you finally end up with is a fantastic space in the city that will keep you feeling as though you have gone to a resort. Now the only thing that needs sun block is your skin!

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Canadian Home Trends' National Design Editor, Glen Peloso forged into the world of design 20 years ago after completing his Masters degree in Fine Art. As Principal of Grafus Design Co., he has worked in residential, hospitality and commercial spaces for clients in several countries and has successfully designed over 300 projects in that time. TV Celebrity Designer and Canadian Home Trends National Design Contributor, Glen is also recognized as a design expert on The Marilyn Denis Show and from his past work as a host/designer of the internationally popular television shows Foodnetwork/HGTV`s Restaurant Makeover, and W networks ‘Take this House and Sell it’, and “Slice Network” show, Renovate my Wardrobe.

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