A Breath of Fresh Air

Come summer, the division between indoors and out seems to melt away. Our living space expands, and entertaining becomes more relaxed. Patio, pool, and lawn steal the focus from dining rooms and flat-screen TVs.

But like well-designed interiors, patio and pool spaces should provide a sense of place along with privacy and utility. Because they provide so much pleasure, exterior spaces deserve the same aesthetic consideration that’s given to home décor. Some tips:

“I believe in trying to carry the outside in and the inside out. A bold use of color outside goes a long way. It’s just fabric and cushions; if you get tired, you can change it.” — Birmingham interior designer Jeffrey King

“Ensuring that outdoor spaces can be used through the majority of the year is critical. Elements that help achieve that include fire pits, covering the patio (to create more of an outdoor room), and even heating the patio floor.” — Bloomfield Hills architect Dominick Tringali

“Design a patio space where it can be accessed, viewed, and enjoyed from several different rooms.” —  Bloomfield Hills architect Dominick Tringali

“When planning a terrace, consider how much it will be used and what for. Assemble furniture, barbecue equipment, etc., and see how much space it requires.” — James van Sweden, landscape architect

“If you want to raise the value of your home, start thinking about its outdoor living spaces.” — The Ultimate Backyard: Inspired Ideas for Outdoor Living

“I usually design paved areas first. They provide the basic structure of the garden; they define how areas are used, and they act as a framework for planting.” — James van Sweden, landscape architect

Try mixing new outdoor furnishings with vintage or antique accents available from local retailers, including Classic Country Antiques in Birmingham and Materials Unlimited in Ypsilanti.