Thursday, October 23, 2014

Pocket Gardens, Pint-Size Patios and Urban Backyards

A compact outdoor space can be a beautiful garden room with the right mix of plantings, furniture and creativity.

Whether you have a sliver of a side yard, a petite patio or a compact urban lot, limited size does not have to mean missing out on lush plantings or cool features — as these 15 creative spaces attest. Creating an outdoor space you love takes careful planning, but it starts with the spark of inspiration. See which of these outdoor spaces captures your imagination, and start planning your garden makeover now.

1. Modern and mirrored.

Horizontal wood panels can camouflage a neighbor’s siding mishmash while bringing a warm, modern look to the patio. A large mirror hung along one wall enhances the light and creates the impression that the garden continues into the distance.

2. Urban jungle.

Deep, wide planters of bamboo placed along the back wall have transformed this formerly bland urban backyard into a lush oasis. Layering plants with appealing foliage behind the seating area, as was done here, will make it feel like you’re sitting in a jungle.

3. Pint-size party patio.

This sliver of a yard in San Francisco’s Mission District could easily have been a forgotten space sandwiched between two tall buildings. But with the addition of a few well-placed climbing plants, a picnic table and string lights overhead, it is now a vibrant place to gather with friends.

4. Mini destinations.

As part of a flower show installation, this garden designer created a space with several small, connected seating areas. Built-in benches flow into a short staircase to a raised dining platform. Planting beds tucked between and behind the seating areas help the compact garden feel surprisingly roomy.

5. City balcony.

Every square foot has been put to good use on this New York balcony, with built-in planters and benches wrapping around the tight corner. A restrained palette of weathered wood and green is simple and elegant.

6. A bit of green.

Long to stretch out on the grass with a good book, but have only a tiny square of yard to call your own? Take a cue from this innovative space and build in a mini terrace with room for a cafe table and soft green grass.

7. Eclectic chill zone.

Embrace the shade beneath a mature tree with a platform deck where you can lounge away the afternoon. Mirrors and platters hung on the wall, and birdcages and lanterns suspended from tree branches create a whimsical, creative mood here.

8. Cook’s backyard.

This patio is packed with details an avid cook would love, from the wood-fired pizza oven and pocket-size kitchen garden to the overhead rack made to hold pots and pans. Ornamental flowers and flowering herbs mixed with the edibles make the garden as beautiful as it is useful.

9. Personal cafe.

A gravel-covered floor, rustic log seats and a simple cafe table make a charming spot to have a morning coffee or an afternoon croissant. Even if there is no ground to plant in, you can use a few large planters to bring in much-needed green.

10. Narrow garden room.

A long, skinny yard in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, got a redesign that emphasizes livability. At the foot of the stairs, a planter brings a spot of lush greenery to the ipe decking. The decking extends to a point surrounded by green grass — just right for an alfresco dining area.

11. Shaded lounge.

A courtyard garden with just a hint of grass makes for a relaxed and inviting space for chatting, reading or napping beneath the shade of a mature tree. The low wall doubles as a backrest for the built-in bench and ties the courtyard in with the design of the house.

12. Brick courtyard garden.

Even on a larger property, there is sometimes a small space that begs for a special treatment. Case in point: this gracious home and garden in Atherton, California. Away from the sprawling lawns, a path between formal hedges leads to a secluded garden bench beneath a wall of climbing roses.

13. Serene path.

Rather than being a purely utilitarian pass-through space, this side yard is an invitation to slow down and breathe a bit more deeply. Rich green ferns and other shade plants line the gravel path, while unique round “stepping stones” are ringed with Mexican black pebbles and filled with low-growing plants in shades of green from chartreuse to moss.

14. Side yard with a stop.

Whether your side yard is the only outdoor space you have, or you just want to carve out a more intimate spot as an addition to a larger backyard, adding a seating area can make the space feel more purposeful. Here, a gently curved path of concrete pavers widens just enough in the center to allow for two chairs. The tree on the street side helps provide privacy — and offers a lovely view.

15. Rooftop hideaway.

Between the built-in planters and benches, climbing plants and rich exterior wall color, this rooftop feels more like a fancy hotel bar than a makeshift city garden. Including a few large planters — big enough to hold something substantial — is key to making a bare rooftop feel like a destination.

source: houzz Tell us: Do you have a small outdoor space? Share a photo in the Comments!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

10 Reasons to Use Sky Blue

This versatile color can look fresh or timeless, beachy or polished. Check out ways to use sky blue indoors and out.

It hints at the seaside, picnics under a clear sky and springtime gardens — what’s not to love about sky blue? From a home’s exterior to ceilings, bedrooms, kitchens and more, sky blue can bring a light touch to any room in the house. Here are 10 reasons to try fresh, versatile sky blue in your next decorating project.

1. Sky blue works all year long.

In the spring, sky blue looks fresh alongside pale green and citron. In summer, crisp white and vibrant turquoise are natural partners for this versatile hue. In the cooler months, warm it up with rich, fall-inspired orange, chocolate or gold.

2. Sky blue is a crowd pleaser.

Looking for a color that everyone in the household can get behind? Sky blue is bright and fun enough for color lovers, subdued enough for classicists and loved by men and women alike.

3. Sky blue is timeless.

When choosing colors for big-ticket items in your home — cabinetry, tilework, a new sofa — it pays to go with a classic hue that will not look dated or tired after a season or two. Sky blue is classic, versatile and easy to live with.

4. Sky blue cools down warm hues.

Using colors from both the warm and cool end of the color spectrum in the same space makes for a dynamic look. Try pairing sky blue with cherry-red accents for a fresh, summery look.

5. Sky blue is clean looking.

Want a fresh, clean look to go with that spring cleaning? Sky blue, a color that calls to mind clear waters and summery skies, is a great choice for enhancing a neat-as-a-pin look — which makes it a good choice for home staging, too.

6. Sky blue is polished.

Paired with creamy and sandy hues, sky blue is simple, understated and elegant. It’s a classic choice for a living room color scheme that works year-round — just add rich chocolate-brown pillows and a caramel-colored throw in the fall.

7. Sky blue is cheerful.

Whether it calls to mind childhood memories of watching clouds in a blue sky or laid-back days at the beach, sky blue is bound to bring up some positive associations. Adding a few small touches of blue, like the vintage bucket used to hold flowers here, is an easy (and budget-friendly) way to update your home with the season.

8. Sky blue is beachy.

It doesn’t get much more coastal than a simple blue and white color scheme. For a twist, try using sky blue in a less-expected place — like beneath the kitchen island, as shown here, or on the ceiling. For a budget-friendly beach makeover, collect mismatched wood chairs at yard sales and give them all a coat of white paint; once they’re dry, paint just halfway up the chair legs sky blue.

9. Sky blue brings the outdoors in.

Painting a wall (or ceiling) sky blue is like putting in an extra window. Pair it with beadboard and a farmhouse sink in the kitchen, or brush it on the ceiling of a porch furnished with white rocking chairs — however you use it, you’d be hard-pressed to find another color with as much potential for charm as sky blue.

10. Sky blue works on exteriors, too.

The wrong green can look peaked, a too-bright yellow can be garish — not all hues are easy to get right on exteriors. But the sky-like nature of this light to midtone blue makes it an easy-to-work-with choice for exteriors as well as interior rooms.

Tell us: Are you a fan of sky blue? source article: houzz