As the temperatures climb, it’s time to head outside, but you might need some inexpensive tips for improving those oft-used alfresco living areas.
Boutique Homes’ senior interior designer, Mitra Whittle, says a good way to start improving these spaces is to clean up the garden.
“It’s time to de-clutter,’’ Ms Whittle suggests. “Get rid of dead or tired looking plants and unwanted pots.”
The designer believes that householders can “break up blank walls” by installing “some potted sculptural plants such as yuccas and aloe trees or grass trees”.
“For more a traditional look a potted citrus tree with rich, glossy green leaves makes an easy-to-care-for addition,’’ Ms Whittle says. “And that’s not to mention, how they will reap the rewards when these trees fruit.”
Ms Whittle says if the homeowner has limited space or if they have an unsightly fence in view, they should try to create a vertical garden.
“You can even grow herbs for a functional and visually appealing garden,” she says.
Another “easy fix” to help boost the outside entertaining space is “to strip and re-stain tired decking, making it look good as new”.
Replacing damaged or dated outdoor furniture is another option. “Hit your local lifestyle centre or home improvement store and invest in some new outdoor furniture,” Ms Whittle says.
“Old furniture left outside over the winter months can easily look faded and tired. Look for wicker or cane chairs and pick out some bright cushions to help decorate your new furniture.”
The interior designer points out that a bright outdoor rug can add texture and create a cosy atmosphere in an outdoor seating area.
“Add lighting where you can,” she says. “Garden lights are a cheap and effective way of creating mood and atmosphere. There is a great range of solar powered lights available which don’t even need an electrician for installation. For a more elaborate treatment consider adding an outdoor pendant or wall lights.
“When you’re ready to entertain in your new outdoor living space, add some candles. Citron-scented candles have the added benefits of keeping mosquitoes at bay.”
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