Here in Minneapolis, we take our summers pretty seriously. In a city notorious for its long, cold winters, we’re always eager to enjoy beautiful weather when it finally comes our way. Last summer, my family and I celebrated the completion of our redesigned porch, and it has quickly become our own warm-weather haven. It’s an indoor-outdoor space that feels like a natural extension of our home and highlights my passion for modern, timeless, and approachable style, whether indoors, outdoors or a blend of both.
While interior spaces will always have my heart, good home design doesn’t stop at the front door. Instead, I like to approach both landscaping and outdoor living as a way to create a cohesive design experience — viewing it as an opportunity to bring the indoors out, if you will.
In the spirit of staying at home and (fingers crossed) lots of lovely weather ahead, I’m sharing four elements for designing outdoor spaces to reflect your personal style.
Summers in our city are my absolute favorite, and it has everything to do with embracing our outdoor “square footage.” I love thinking through both our front and backyard design, but if I’m being totally honest, landscaping isn’t exactly my forte.
This past year, we decided to hire a landscape architect, and I’m telling you it was a total game-changer. Working with a specialist who knows their stuff meant we could select the right plants for our generally shady garden, and skip the endless hours of DIY research. This summer, items on our landscape agenda look like layering in new mulch, replanting any plants that didn’t survive the winter, and building a shed for firewood storage — just to name a few.
Whether you have a reliable green thumb or need to bring in some expert help, curating the look of your landscaping is one of the best ways to ace outdoor style, plus play up that curb appeal.
via the Malmo Garden Show
For a consistent look indoors and out, I always recommend paying close attention to your use of colors and natural materials. Just like interiors, you’ll want to think about working within a specified color palette and keeping main elements like wood tones, flooring, and surfaces cohesive.
In our porch project, we chose to run the same clé tile from our mudroom all the way through the porch and used a stained cedar throughout the space. This gave us a seamless transition from the indoors to the out, with a more intentionally continuous effect. The goal was to make the porch feel like another room within our home, and our tile selection helped us do just that!
I’ve found that lighting is one area that’s often overlooked in outdoor living. However, if you’re hoping to utilize your space once the sun goes down, you’ll want to incorporate this key design component. For screened or enclosed porches, I recommend opting for hardwired lighting or even several lamps. If you really want to get fancy, try adding some statement overhead lighting like a pendant or chandelier in a similar aesthetic to your interior fixtures. Whether in a patio, porch, backyard, or garden, lighting selections work to transform your space into an outdoor oasis and provide the perfect ambiance for summer nights spent al fresco.
You all know I love a good rug, and that’s especially true for outdoor living spaces. Rugs add such a distinct layer of coziness to any set-up and pull the whole space together with both function and style. When you’re shopping for outdoor rugs, make sure they’re made of weather-resistant materials, which can include synthetic or natural fiber varieties. I gravitate towards natural fibers for my outdoor rugs, and options like jute and sisal are known to wear well both indoors and out.