Designer Outdoor Space

By: Roger Hutchison

Your back yard is your outdoor sanctuary. It's the place that you can go to relax, entertain, and even play. Why shouldn't it be as beautiful, and comfortable, as your inside space? Using the basic principles of design, scale, proportion, balance, emphasis, contrast, and unity, fantastic things will happen. Beginning with the size of your patio furniture and ending with your patio chair cushions, let's walk through a few simple steps you can take to transform your back yard.

Whether you have acres and acres of land or a simple patio off of the back of a condominium, it is possible to have the outdoor sanctuary you desire. Begin by taking measurements of your space – not the entire backyard but the space that you're going to convert into an outdoor room. Once you have your measurements, you will want to plan on buying patio furniture to fill about 1/3 of that space. A bench and a coffee table or two patio chairs and a bistro table are ideal for small outdoor spaces. Conversely if you have a large space you will have room for a dining set, lounge furniture and maybe even a large outdoor grill and an enclosure.

Your next step will be to find or create a focal point. The chiminea has had an upsurge in popularity however a more traditional focal point like an arbor, pergola, or even a beautiful outdoor planter can have a striking affect.

If you have space, consider creating a sitting or lounging area separate from a dining area and place the focal point where both seating areas can view it. Use the design principle of threes to make your backyard space feel balanced. This means that if you have two chairs add a small table to balance. If you're using planters to create a focal point stack or arrange three of them together.

Your final step in creating a winning outdoor space that you can be proud of is to add the final touches. One of the absolute best final touches that you can add, and one that will increase your comfort immeasurably, is to add patio chair cushions to your chairs. Begin by choosing patio chair cushions that fit your chairs specifically. This means that just because you really like the folding chair cushions but you have Adirondack chairs, don't buy the folding chair cushions. Why? Because you want your cushions to fit properly. You don't want a cushion that slides off every time you sit down, or worse ends up on the ground. You've spent your valuable time and money making your outdoor space a retreat, don't skimp on the details.

There's no end to the selection of patio chair cushions. This infinite variety means that you can use your patio cushions to really add the pop that will make your outdoor space come alive. Like spice and color? Look for reds, yellows, and patterns. Want the focus to be on your yard and not your patio chair cushions, choose more neutral colors like green and white – yes white. For extra durability and a long life, make sure your cushions can be laundered. This makes cleaning them as easy as dropping them into your washing machine.

A few extra things to think about when choosing your patio chair cushions:

• Durability features like reinforced seams, zippers and piping protect your patio chair cushions from every day wear and tear.

• Stay tight tie tabs keep your patio chair cushions tied down and ensure that your cushions won't end up in the pool or on your neighbor's chairs.

• Don't forget to look for cushions to adorn all chairs, from benches to steamer lounges to your folding chairs. Good design is all about paying attention to the details. In your outdoor space, your patio chair cushions are your details.

Well balanced seating to fit your outdoor space are just the beginning to a perfect yard. Umbrellas, landscaping, and high end outdoor appliances can really take your outdoor space to the next level but don't forget the simple elements of design. Balance, color, focal points, and details details details. The easiest detail to master? Patio chair cushions!

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