Opening the doors and stepping out into our backyard, marks the coming of summer and backyard festivities! Whether you are jumping into the deep end or lounging on a deck, your backyard is the place to be and there is no better time to get inspired and maybe, just maybe take your style up a notch.
Photo by "Mark Weinberg" for One Kings Lane
I started looking at my outdoor furniture and realized it was an extension of my indoors with muted and soft greys. So basically, I would be enjoying the outdoors and feeling like I was indoors! After so much time spent inside, this was not a good feeling. Then, while being at the grocery store, I inadvertently, by accident, opened the ice cream freezer---behold, there it was: raspberry swirls with mango, mint and strawberry tango. My salted caramel was taken over by explosions of color! What was B&J doing? It hit me hard and I knew I wanted YUMMY in my backyard.
I started questioning my style, so went back to the basics and started to evaluate what direction I wanted to take to “up my style”. I love my furniture and table (wicker and soft grey) and considered going New Traditional or Eclectic or just Natural as accents. All I knew for sure is I wanted a riot of color!
On my website, jlfromwith.com ( you can see the full line of materials ) I came up with three distinct designs to pull from -- as my backyard is probably not reflective of yours. But it was fun to explore styles based on entertaining and living spaces.
#1 - I picked out a palette of turquoise and pistachio green (sky and grass) and ran with it. The look is somewhat traditional but embracing this deviation of style I leaned towards new garden side tables in turquoise, throws of blue and green and an abundance of new pillows with patterns that mix and match in design and color. I even brought out some pillows that I used in a guest bedroom.
Outdoor carpets delineate zones, so the dining area is positioned close to the back door making it a single space and the lounge area is defined with furniture in a grouping as well as an area for the NEW FIRE PIT! To accompany the look, I chose a lime green area carpet which complemented the clusters of plants and bright green herbs and flowering yellows. The twinkling garden star lights (OMG – I love) and hanging swags of tiny lanterns makes sure we enjoy the dusk til’ dawn and dawn til’ dusk shenanigans! Candles, lanterns and of course a new Bar Cart – some say Trolley. After all the drinks have to go somewhere and “Monday’s” provided the signature drink called “Minty Monday’s” for this look. You can find the recipe on my website under, of all things Sips and Savor - “Recipes”.
#2 – Many of us enjoy a sun room, porch area or covered backyard which can possess all the charm of a Southern or New England style Hampton look. I have always loved shades of pink, especially with wicker and rockers. I chose a dresser to divide the areas of relaxation and dining. It does double duty as a server and can hold napkins, flatware and outside games. The ceramic elephant is a novelty as a side table to the rocking chairs and again the pillows are abundant and a variety of pink and blue throws to keep you warm once the sun goes down. The bamboo flatware is fun and you will get rave reviews. Note the napkin holders of birds and pink sunflowers, they are just irresistible. Thinks lots plants and baskets on and about the old world table and the aged moss swan appears like it’s an old family heirloom.
The Bar Cart is made of wicker and Whittard’s a distinguished tea company made the signature drink for this look called the G & "Tea". Recipe found in the same place as above.
# 3 – Had a great time with this area as living in a condo and/or townhouse poses many challenges, like privacy and respectful of noise. But we must entertain and entertain in a cozy style. I wanted to surround the area with planters and cedars to give the effect of nature by daylight and a fairyland at night using year- round clear Christmas lights.
The stacked side table is unique and because of its size fits conveniently between armless chairs. The poufs can easy be put away as well as the folding leather chairs for extra dining guests. The flatware is sleek and complements the silvery placemats and napkins. Pillows make the loveseat wild. Choosing not animal fabric but animals on fabric. The small votives that look like rocks are brought outside from inside as is the mirrored Bar Cart. Wheels are our friend! This design was inspired by Lyres’s - "The Amanda Passionfruit Colada"- “Opt Out without being Left Out”.
The suggested drinks are all alcohol free, so no worries about guests. I think there is a movement going on here! Lastly, we are embracing ‘Melamine”! Tableware that is virtually shatterproof and is perfect for entertaining -- “adult proof is always good”. The designs have certainly improved with age. Don’t hold back on setting your table and be creative using Turkish Towels for table clothes and thankfully nothing has to match. Great music, great conversation and fabulous food from Harry & David. Let’s party!
All materials suggested can be found on my website: www.jlfromwith.com. Have fun!