Create An Outdoor Space That Knows Its Own Mind

Found this pic on Instagram this week and can’t stop looking it.

Now I don’t have a balcony or a view of exotic looking European buildings

What I do have is a great ugly back verandah that the dogs have the run of,  that over looks a a pumpkin vine gone wild and a lawn that nearly always needs mowing

But theres hope for it yet. It still has its beauties.

Then I found this pic

Almost needed a lie down

My great lumping yard could totally do this

These  two picture reminded me of the things that count in an out door space and its nothing to do with size or $

Its all to do with purpose and personality

So what do these two outdoor spaces have in common thats got me all fired up

They have what every self respecting out door space should sport

1. Exposure to the elements

Some outdoor living area are so fortified against rain and wind and sun and God forbid a bit of dirt that you may as well be sitting inside.  Give me fresh air and sunlight, or a night sky and a cool breeze and I’m more than happy to take my chances with a decent sized beach umbrella.

Out door spaces are meant to feel like there outside

2. A clear purpose

Neither are trying to be something they are not

Balcony clearly says : cozy seating for 2-3. It also says “sit for a while, read a book, drink your cuppa in peace”. It’s not trying to be an outdoor eating/ BBQ  entertainment area. Its not trying to seat twenty.  They haven’t squeezed a mini bar in. Its a  quiet cozy spot for sitting and sipping.

Leafy back yard on the other hand says:  “gather round and pull up a pew”, the more the merrier I’d say. Its a come as you are, leave your airs, graces and best clothes at home but bring some wine type space and maybe wear covered shoes. You can almost smell the smoke and the sausages on sticks and hear the hum of  conversations . Its a space for 10, 20, 40 whose counting, its open house

3. Good Lighting 

Light draws people around, it says come in your welcome here.

Subtle on the balcony, full on in the back yard.

Lighting brings in the magic and mystery and it works every time.

4. Simplicity

They both  let just three main elements do all the talking

Balcony focuses on – good comfy seating – layers of potted plants and  – the planters full of flowers

Leafy backyard focuses on  –  the decorative back wall – a friendly arrangement of chippy old roadside find furniture and –  beautiful string lighting .

5. They both make the most of their limitations

Most balconies are smallish. This one looks tiny. So it ups the ante on the private cozy comfy factor.

Leafy back yard hasn’t let a shortage of grass or even a lack of deck/patio type arrangement stop them creating an out door seating area just as good for gathering and eating and talking and laughing as the posh kind. It may not be everyones cup of tea but its inspiring what you can do with very little.

So I say

Start with what you’ve got.

Don’t try and make it something it’s not.

Decide what’s its for – let’s call it your outdoor space mission statement (OSMS)

Pick three things to do the heavy lifting

Celebrate your limitations – we all have them, its good practice

So if you think having an outdoor area requires this


Remember that this works just as well and I’d say a lot more fun

Picture Source: Thank you  Kristin Rogers

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