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Outdoor spaces should reflect style and design process of home's interior
Mar 29 2011
New Zealand interior designer Donna White knew she wanted a beautifully landscaped garden outside her 1940s English-style home. But with her professional life spent designing interior spaces, she was willing to take her outdoor project one step at a time to learn about landscaping that would best complement her home and her needs.
A garden should be landscaped to complement the home's style.
"I ask myself, 'What do I want to use the outdoor room for?' I want to pick flowers, create a pleasant journey for all from the front gate to the front door, and for relaxation, entertaining and dining," she wrote in her column for the New Zealand Herald. "It is obvious my site could be treated like an open-plan dining and living area inside a home, with a passageway down the side."
First, White determined that she wanted three distinct outdoor spaces. She started to design them by putting together a sample board of patio pictures from magazines and images of plantings and trees in the same way she instructs her clients to assemble fabrics, paint chips, finishes and carpet samples.
She began talking to nursery professionals and other gardeners to find her best sources of plants and focused on greenery that will complement her home. "My 1940s English-style house will not have a Japanese-style garden because this combination will jar," she wrote in her column.
The proportion of the garden should also be in line with the home size, and the individual components should be tackled in stages to avoid a chaotic renovation and a strain on the budget for the project.
Once the planning was done, White decided which plants she would keep from her existing landscape and removed the rest, as she would have a client clear away unneeded furniture to give their rooms a clean slate.
When plantings were complete, White sowed a new lawn, her "carpeting" for the outside space. She also chose outdoor furnishings to reflect those she used to decorate her home. "The style, color and fabric of these should all be extensions of the home," she wrote.
To provide the ideal transition from a home's interior to an outdoor room, the choice of window treatments can be matched to outdoor furniture and frame a view of the exterior space from inside the home. Window coverings such as bamboo shades or wooden blinds use natural materials that complement the design scheme of outdoor and interior spaces.
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