For a sense of drama

OUTDOOR SPACES

Accessories not only play an important part in enhancing the look and feel of a place, but also in reflecting a bit of your personality, your taste and style. In short, the accessories in your home talk about you. These accessories are not always big-ticket purchases like furniture. Investing smartly in accessories is a great way to change ordinary spaces into a dreamlike one.

Outdoor spaces get less attention than they may benefit from. For, homes that have gardens right at the entrance are judged by the appearance and upkeep of the outdoors.

If not a garden, it could be a patio or a verandah, but it is basically an indication of what is to follow inside the house. In the case of an apartment, the balcony or the terrace is usually connected with some type of living area.

Most often, such spaces are shabbily maintained or neglected. It is how you treat this space that will make it become part of the total usable living space, and aesthetically pleasing.

Most people opt for the obvious outdoor space treatment, which translates into buying pots, plant-holders and the like. There are others who fear that growing plants is not their idea of enhancing outdoor spaces. If you start looking at the outdoor as an extension of your living space, creative ideas are bound to flow. The idea is to make the outdoor space look like a part of your home and your style.

Apart from working on the green aspect, there are so many ways to accessorise your garden and pep up the whole space. If you have a seating arrangement in your garden, patio, verandah or balcony, make sure it is not a random collection of odd pieces. You could use a lone hanging chair, swing, hammock or a pair of rocking chairs as accent pieces. Making the area weather-proof makes full sense and depending on the shelter the space receives, furniture can be fully weather-resistant or semi-upholstered cane or wooden.

Furnishings are a great way to make impact, either in the form of cushion covers or upholstery. A range of weather-proof fabrics is readily available in the market. In sheltered locations, fade-resistant synthetic fabrics that come in a wide range can work well.
 
Writing on the wall

Walls have a huge scope for various treatments. Something as simple as painting in a colour that brings continuity to the space from the interiors or acts as outdoor art in various materials could work. Adding texture to the walls or creating appropriate graffiti is also an option. Outdoor art may come in many forms, in the form of a sculpture, either hung on a wall or as a standalone one. Again based on the how much of the area is sheltered, choice of material varies.

Here, you can’t blindly mimic the interiors. The interiors may be very refined and polished, but outdoor furniture has to have a rugged edge. Metal works are a good choice especially copper and aluminium. Fibre glass and stone are also good choices.

Many a driftwood has found sculptural appreciation and is perfectly at home in the outdoors without any treatment. Use of pebbles in varied colours can quickly add that dose of funk. Play with the patterns. Don’t forget tiles and mosaics. Bird houses and bird baths, sundials or reflective pools, accent pots or topiary planting...the scope is huge.

Light and sound

Accessorising is not limited to furnishing or artefacts. Lighting is the most rewarding choice when it comes to treating the outdoors. It allows use of the outdoor space even at night.

Appropriate choice will not only make the area functional but can also create accents from shadows of plants or grazing a textured surface. A right balance between indoors and outdoor lighting will never fail to create magic at night. If electrical work is daunting, candles, lanterns and torches are the answer. String lights when used tastefully may also work. You may also consider outdoor chandeliers in weather appropriate materials.  

The audio furthers sensory experience and is applicable in spaces that are confined to some extent. It may be a simple but pleasing wind chime or an audio system discreetly fixed. Adding a fountain, maybe a table top, standalone or a built-in, is a great element introduction.  

Sheltered spaces usually give a wider range of opportunity for usage as well as accessorising. The options are wide, based on contemporary aesthetical formulae, anywhere from African hut (involving thatch work, but much neater) to tensile awnings.

Umbrellas, rollable awnings, toughened glass ceilings, pergolas are all excellent options.
Lastly, if you are blessed with a green thumb, plants can be used as accessories, especially when used as accents, either amidst other plants or alone. Nature offers splashes of colour and forms, but knowing how to use them will work wonders for your decor.
 
(The writer is a professional landscape designer.)

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