Taking Your Indoor Design Outdoors

Dear Marc:

I have successfully designed my entire home with the use of advice from your column. Now I would like to work on what you like to call “Taking your indoor design outdoors”. I have seen you talk about this on TV but I am not sure where to start. I would like to give my existing curb appeal a face lift. The front of the house looks horrible. The previous homeowner was an avid gardener and the flower beds are full of dead annual plants which I don’t have time to replant every year. Any suggestions?

Dear Tina:
If the curb appeal of your home doesn’t reflect the prestigious designer space that you are thriving to achieve, then the balance of the overall design is not in harmony. The goal is to have everything work together so that whether a guest is standing at the end of the driveway or sitting in the front room having a glass of wine, the design is consistent.

Find Inspiration Indoors
In order to truly master this consistency, look at the existing indoor design of your home. What designer style does it reflect? Is your design low maintenance? If so, then the outdoor design should be the same. If you don’t have time to dust a million accessories inside, you won’t have time to replant a million annual plants outside every year. There are a number of different ways to create low maintenance landscape design.

Do Your Research
Visit your local greenhouse and inform yourself regarding perennial plants. Perennials as opposed to annual plants grow and produce flowers every year from the same roots therefore the annual chore of replanting your landscape features is not necessary.

Create A Colour Scheme
While purchasing plants for your new landscape design you will want to follow the same basic rules as interior design. Choose a colour scheme and draw up a landscape “floor plan”. The key to a successful colour scheme is to have a primary colour which is traditionally your greenery and accent it with a few different vibrant colours. While choosing the colour scheme of your landscape design, be sure to keep in consideration the colour scheme of the exterior finish of your home. If the exterior finish of the house is blue, then blue flowers as accents in a flower bed found in front of the house will be lost in the overall colour scheme.

Consider The Seasons
The colour scheme of an outdoor landscape is a little more technical than one of an interior. The landscape’s colour scheme will change from season to season as the plants grow and mature. You want to be sure that your design doesn’t look great in the summer and horrible in the fall. The design should gradient from one colour scheme to the next in a harmonious way from season to season. It is also very important that the look of the end product is decided upon prior to purchasing new plants. Be sure to know the look of a plant for each season when selecting them for your landscape. If the design is not planned, you will end up with an “all over the place” look and possibly a few dead plants.

Natural Lighting
The look of your landscape will also change depending on the amount of natural light it receives during different parts of the day. Certain plants you’d love to integrate in your flower beds might not work depending on how much natural light they need to survive. To educate yourself on the plant’s needs, look at the labels found on each plant. Each label will state the ideal exposure to natural light needed and the plant’s mature height and width. The plant’s height and width information will be used during the planning stages to ensure one plant won’t overpower another plant.

Landscape design takes a lot of careful planning but when done successfully can increase your home’s overall value. Take your indoor design outdoors and you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish.

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