Let’s Meet Outside! Designing Your Dream Backyard

high end outdoor furniture
Everything about this patio says luxurious, outdoor living. Photo Courtesy of Ebel, Inc.

Is your summer vacation going to be in your backyard this year? Let’s meet outside! I can help you – at a safe distance – create that three-seasons sanctuary you are looking for right at home. You won’t have to worry about deliveries or workers in your home. Everything can be accomplished with a combination of teleconferencing, telephone, email and social distancing in your yard, plus I can deliver fabric and finish samples to your porch. Because I love being outside as much as you do, I am passionate about getting this done so you can enjoy your backyard to the fullest this year and beyond.

American Made and Eco-Friendly

One of my go-to vendors for exterior décor is Florida-based Ebel Inc. Not only does it manufacture imaginative, long-last furniture, but it is an American company –see my blog Boosting Our Economy via Interior Design - and it makes every effort to remain environmentally responsible. Eco-friendly furnishings make a lot of sense, particularly for outdoor spaces!

All of Ebel’s aluminum and weather wicker is completely recyclable. Ebel also partners with Trees for the Future, which promotes sustainable agroforestry in developing countries. The company has committed to planting one tree for every piece of furniture it produces, and it already has planted over 100,000 trees! As a member of the Sustainable Furnishings Council, I appreciate that can kind of dedication. You can read more about my sustainable practices here: Why Choose Eco-Friendly Wood Furnishings.

backyard water feature
Tranquil water features edged by lush landscaping will transform your property. Photo Courtesy of Schmechtig Landscapes.

Furnishings and Landscaping Go Hand-in-Hand

To ensure seamless, turnkey  projects - so to speak - I am partnering with Mundelein-based Schmechtig Landscapes , a 60-year-old, award-winning landscaping firm. Together we can provide everything you need to make your property feel like your favorite resort:  pavers, pergolas, water features, furniture, fire pits, outdoor kitchens, grills, accessories, and of course, lush plantings. Naturally, your first priority and ours is to design a backyard that will benefit your family life, provide space for socializing and privacy and add significant social and emotional benefits. Beyond that, outdoor improvements add value to your home, as much as 10 to 20 percent according to some sources, depending on the extent of the design.

lush landscaping
Photo courtesy of Schmechtig Landscapes
firepit with blue rocks
The brilliant blue of this stone fire pit is echoed in the upholstered arm chairs from Ebel Inc. and the swimming pool tiles visible just beyond, on the upper terrace. Photo by Brian Gassel

Taking Outdoor Grilling to New Heights

For many of you, an outdoor kitchen represents much more than a grill and a pair of tongs. You want the same kind of amenities and luxury outside as in, whether you are firing up some burgers and brats or shrimp and steaks. An outdoor kitchen extends your food prep and dining space substantially, and it requires careful planning. Location, layout, type of appliances and their placement, and traffic pattern between indoor and outdoor kitchens are key considerations that we would discuss before we launched a project.

outdoor kitchen with subzero wolf appliances
Outdoor kitchens can be as elaborate as you like. Photo courtesy of www.subzero-wolf.com
Open grill
If you’re cooking for a crowd, you need a lot of cooking surface. Photo courtesy of Subzero-Wolf

Where to Start?

When I design  outdoor spaces for my clients, I approach the project the same way I would for interiors. We discuss who uses the space, how you use it and your aesthetic. Do you like to cook and dine outdoors? Do you enjoy gathering around a fire pit with friends and family? Do you want a quiet corner just for yourself where you can read a good book or take an afternoon nap? For the project above I imagined a spacious, al fresco great room with separate areas for different purposes. My clients can spend the day in the seating area at pool side, beneath the shade of the large umbrella from Bambrella USA. As the sun goes down, they can enjoy drinks and s’mores around the fire pit. Regardless of your style and how you use your backyard, the exterior should be a natural extension of your interior style so that it flows effortlessly in both directions.

Let Your Personality Shine Outdoors

Don’t you just love the color and branchy pattern of this patio rug from The Delos Company? It might be too energetic for indoor spaces, but in the great outdoors it checks off all the right boxes: cheerful and laid-back, uninhibited, durable and easy to clean. It put me in a party mood at first sight! Pairing that rug with understated furniture gives you the opportunity to add something jazzy, such as the colorful chevron pillows show above. If you keep the major pieces simple, you can always change out the pillows when the mood strikes.

Outdoor area rug in bright orange
Sometimes it’s easier to connect with your wild side outdoors. Photo courtesy of Delos Rugs

Remember the Artistic Touches

Inspired by modern art and organic textures, this textural fire pit and the whimsical cup chairs and table from California-based Stone Yard Inc. are constructed of durable glass fiber reinforced concrete. ‍When I want something unusual for an exterior, I often turn to Stone Yard. I placed these chairs in the pool area of my client’s back yard, below. Each piece is designed, handcrafted and hand finished by a team of Stone Yard’s skilled American artisans. I share their appreciation for all things artful, and for buying American.

stone yard designer accessories
Looking for something different? These pieces have got you covered. Photo courtesy of Stone Yard.
chairs by pool
Every space needs something unusual and artistic, such as these sculptural chairs. Photo by Brian Gassell

Accessorizing Mother Nature

This trio of oversized vessels from Stone Yard has curves in all the right places. Though they are man-made, they have an organic vibe that is appealing for an outdoor setting. Accessorizing Mother Nature is an important element of exterior design. Throw pillows, planters, objets d’art, benches and accent tables all contribute to a thoughtfully designed outdoor space.

large outdoor vessels
Photo courtesy of Stone Yard
outdoor day bed
This outdoor day bed takes afternoon napping to a more luxurious level. Photo courtesy of Ebel, Inc. I’m picturing a lazy siesta with my best friend, Dreamypie!
curved wicker outdoor seating
Photo courtesy of Ebel, Inc.
outdoor swing
The Circa hanging chair is an exciting new look for a swinging chair or hammock. It can be hung from a bamboo wigwam stand or from almost anywhere, and the cushion is covered in a high quality outdoor fabric. Photo courtesy of Bambrella USA
garden art on pedestal
Photo courtesy of Schmechtig Landscapes
garden bench
Zen bench photo courtesy of Stone Yard
bolt table
Bolt table photo, courtesy of Stone Yard
tribal upholstered chair
Photo courtesy of Ebel, Inc.
fire table
Photo courtesy of Ebel, Inc.

Ready to get started?

I’m ready when you are to get started on a safely social-distanced design project for your backyard. Let’s meet outside!

Michelle's Interiors