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Back Yards Meet the Outer Limits of Design

Give back yards the makeovers they deserve

Where do you begin to pave the way to a dream haven in the back yard? The pathways, of course. Let them take you, your family, and guests visually and physically across the yard and through the garden.

Start at the beginning

Even if you have a tired old concrete sidewalk, it's easy to give it some life. Group pavers in side spots along the way to add visual appeal. You can also break up paths with other items of interest. These might include a bench or chairs, birdbaths, and hanging feeders. An unusual piece of outdoor art would be a wonderful addition.

If you're adding container flowers or sectional gardens, think about the colors you want to incorporate. Will it be monochromatic, complementary, or a burst of English garden tones?

When starting a path from scratch, think about linear motion - it doesn't have to be straight in other words. Let it weave through the landscape.

Remember to create your visual stops in view of a window, if possible. Then you can enjoy them both indoors and out.

Reaching the End

It's back to the future with some of the latest in back yard furniture, too. Canopies and arbors are big. Swing sets attached to trellis frames and large market umbrellas are hot. Small decks and patios are not being ignored either. Cozy tête-à-tête pieces are also making the rounds.

Back yard furniture should also blend with the decor of the home - or of personal taste. Bistro styles are popular as well as cosmopolitan contemporary and Mediterranean. It's also perfectly acceptable to mix and match, just not to excess.

Lounging is in - and showing up in the form of round chaises and elongated outdoor beds for two that face each other for casual conversation.

Faux wickers and wood composites are also gaining strength in the marketplace. Forget the molded wobbly furniture of years ago. The latest advances mean years of endurance and stability with splintering or warping.

Don't leave out quality. You'll pay for it initially, but in the long run it will out-value economy. Most outdoor furniture will last at least a couple of years. However, quality furniture should last for much longer, sometimes decades.

When shopping, always check for comfort and durability. Push on tables to test for "give" and sit or recline on furniture for a few minutes to determine how it really feels. Keep placement and weather hazards in mind. If high winds pass through unexpectedly, will your outdoor furniture remain grounded?

Creating a new look with pathways and shopping for furniture is fun. Even better, seeing it all come together in the back yard is even better.

 

 



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