My last article a few weeks ago focused on customer service and getting our yards ready for our beautiful summers here in the valley. Following is a previous article I wrote and thought it ties in nicely again, at this time of year.
According to HGTV, these are the top trends to invite us outdoors and into our backyards:
- Gardens top the list as the No. 1 sought after design element in our backyards. That includes everything from container gardening to getting back to basics of planting and growing our own gardens, especially as more and more people are interested in organic food these days. Create a statement entrance by adding an arbor that guides you as if it was the “front door” to your garden.
- Warmth is necessary to keep us out longer in the evenings, and today there are so many options to provide us heat, including various fire-pit designs, propane patio heaters, gas or electric mounted heating units, or our own gas or wood outdoor fireplace.
- No backyard outdoor room would be complete without our favorite BBQ. Many outdoor designs include building your BBQ into a counter space, similar to our stoves in our kitchen. A favorite feature of my backyard outdoor island is the extra gas burner I added for those big pots of corn on the cob, or great for a summer lobster feast. Take one step further and include a bar area.
- Gone is the traditional picnic table that I remember from my childhood memories. The outdoor dining area is a must, complete with an area rug, a bistro height table and chairs with cushions and an adjustable umbrella to match.
- In our yard I added a pergola with an outdoor clear roofing product to let the sun in, but the rain out. This is a very important feature of the outdoor room, to be able to use it during those warm summer evenings where we might get a bit of summer shower; so peaceful.
- The tried and true backyard hot tub, or “spas” as they are termed today, is no longer the free standing “hot tub” unit; these are custom built in, and many times built down in the yard today, so that you do have the feel of being at a resort, right out your back door.
- Fountains and water features can take an ordinary spot in your yard and take it to the next level. Fountains will create a wonderful focal point, with the special surprise to the sound of the “music” they provide, or maybe it is a pond stocked with goldfish and a water- fall feature. There are so many whimsical water fountains that are designed to sit on top of our outdoor island; just add water and plug in.
- Adding outdoor speakers from your indoor sound system is a must.
- Ambiance is a must, too. Nothing creates this more than having the proper outdoor lighting. Again, this all depends on the overall feel and the design of your outdoor room. Lighting can consist of fun candle-lit lanterns, to a simple string of lights or actual built- in lighting with a dimmer switch.
- Another trend I see in new home designs is this “walk-in walk-out” setting from the kitchen to the outdoor room ... large glass door walls, opening to allow both spaces to become one.
Hosting parties and spending relaxing evenings with family and friends make summer in Montana a special time of the year. As always, your Comfort is our Central concern. Call 756-6656 for all your heating, cooling, plumbing, electrical and drain cleaning needs.
Debbi’s Favorite Design Tips for Entertaining Outside:
- Always have tiki torches to add some great mood lighting/help with bugs, light about an hour before every- one arrives ... line along walkways and patio area.
- Use lanterns on tables and where your guests may enter.
- Always have a vase of your flowers, fun berries and different color leaves and shapes from your perennials and annual flowers you have in your yard.
- Keep it simple, and have “A” signature cocktail prepared ahead of time in a pitcher, with fun garnishes and vintage glasses, or fun glassware. Makes this even more special.
- Set up a special area for the bar, and always have a flavored water available, not only pretty but refreshing as well (I select a fresh fruit or vegetable in season).
- Keep it simple for your- self and make it potluck.
- In areas where appetizers may be served, I use summer-style placemats placed randomly on the table for a “Spark of Color.”
- Have a theme. It can be as simple as the same color throughout, or more elaborate like attending a Hawaiian luau.
- The tableware and napkins can help create your theme, or be part of it.
ENJOY those long summer evenings soon to be here.