Finally, summer is here and most of us can’t wait to take advantage of our yards, decks and patios. I think it is a perfect time to write about how to turn your outdoor space into your own private retreat, to enjoy the best that life has to offer.

When I think of the outdoors, I think of bright, clear colors that contrast with the colors of nature. Think of bright, vivid orange and deep pink – such as magenta and fuchsia – and bright, sunny yellow.

Whatever your favorite color might be, select clear colors. When I mention clear, I mean the color should not have a grayish undertone. However, if you do select a clear color that pops, it can be very interesting to mix it with a muted grey color. Such mixing of clear, vivid colors with muted colors can create an appealing palate, similar to one that is found in nature.

Decorating Outdoor Spaces to Enjoy LifeWondering how to “color up” your outdoor living space? Maybe start with drapery panels for outdoors. They can be functional, to give some privacy or to block the sun (especially important in areas with southern exposure). Color on the patio or on the deck can also be for totally decorative purposes. Regardless of how you are going to use outdoor fabric and decorative accessories, make sure the fabric and hardware are suitable for the outdoors.

Speaking of hardware, it is very important to have anti-rust hardware and screws that secure the hardware. I was told by my installer that someone called and asked him to fix some relatively new draperies, because the screws got rusted and the whole drapery treatment collapsed. We are talking not only about the hassle involved in fixing the problem, but also about a safety issue here!

Decorating Outdoor Spaces to Enjoy LifeTo add color to outdoor spaces, also think of pillows. They can all be the same color or a mix of colors and patterns, depending on the style you prefer. If you like the shabby chic look, for example, you can use pillows of different colors, shapes, and sizes to add an element of fun to the overall theme. Add a rustic table and a bench, some outdoor accessories, and before you know it you will have a fun and comfortable patio or deck.

Custom cushions on outdoor furniture Finally, summer is here and most of us can’t wait to take advantage of our yards, decks and patios. I think it is a perfect time to write about how to turn your outdoor space into your own private retreat, to enjoy the best that life has to offer. will also will add beauty, comfort and elegance to the space. Cushions can be two inches thick – or thicker if you like the feel of deeper seating. (Personally, I prefer a two-inch cushion because it seems to offer the best combination of comfort and looks.) Make sure to select outdoor-friendly fabrics, such as Sunbrella. That line of fabrics can be a bit pricey, but it is well spent money because it will last longer and will not fade and look worn. Please check this site www.sunbrella.com for inspiration and guidance.

Decorating Outdoor Spaces to Enjoy Life

Let’s not overlook the importance of outdoor decorative accessories. They help set the mood and style of the space, and you can personalize the space by adding items purchased at estate sales or during your travels. Or try using an old tea set as candle holders, an old kettle as a planter, or a piece of driftwood on the bottom shelf of a baker’s rack. The ideas are endless. Personalize outdoor spaces to make them an extension of your home.

If you have made your outdoor areas unique and totally reflective of your personality, I would appreciate seeing photos or hearing a few stories about how you created your own private outdoor retreat.

Here’s to an elegant, joyful, colorful and relaxing outdoor environment.