Of great exteriors

indoor outdoor Gardens can be planned based on the level of maintenance you are willing to take on. Also, you can include simple elements such as a hanging pot, or a bowl of floating petals. Photos by the author

While there is a vast repository of ideas when it comes to interior design, the external look of the house is almost never accorded its due importance. It’s the first impression that makes a world of difference, and so, the way your home looks on the outside will determine how your guest perceives what’s on the inside.

Outdoor décor is all about having a good sense of balance. The first thing you need to do, should you be living in an independent home, is to survey your home from the outside. If you have a front gate, stand on the outside or across the road, whichever point gives you a clear view of your home. Make a mental note of all those parts of your home that are clearly visible from the roadside and make sure to include them in your décor plan.

Making an entry
The façade of your home that leads to the front door is a place that could be well highlighted. If you are among the lucky ones who have a long driveway, that leads to a drop off point in front of your home and then onto the garage, here is what you can do. Get a landscape artiste to create a neatly defined pathway… this could be with the stepping stones concept, a neatly manicured lawn on either side of the drive path, or even a hedging of flowering plants that leads right up to the canopy. Interspersed with the greenery you can have a lighting system set up. This could be mini spotlights, or even the small stand up lights. This gives your driveway a completely different and elegant look at night.

For the canopy, there are two options involving greenery. You could cover the entire top with ivy, a creeper that grows on its own and creates a beautiful cascade. Or else you could use the top of the canopy for potted plants and make a selection of hanging pots for the top. During the festive season, you could substitute the hanging plants for suspended diyas or, streamer lights.

If you have a small foyer leading to your front door, this again makes an ideal spot for some innovative décor.

Plants being the common choice, the outdoor foyer can also be used for a small water body and could even include an aquarium, should you have the space. Besides plants and water bodies, this could also be the starting point of your décor theme.

If your interiors have been decorated with a certain theme (Victorian, Indian, contemporary, modern and the like), then your foyer is where you can begin to introduce the idea. You could use a Victorian era painting with a small spotlight right above your calling bell. Should your theme be Indian, then you could use an antique bell suspended from a carved metal strap or even an entwined bandhini dupatta, should your interiors reflect Indian vibrancy.

Garden varieties
Survey your garden first. If you have an extensive lawn, then you could consider using garden furniture. Make sure your choice is made from material that is durable and all-weather, lest you end up with a corroded set of furniture on your lawns. Once again keep in mind that your garden furniture has to be coordinated with the rest of the exteriors of your home.

Besides garden furniture, you can also think of investing in bird baths or even a small swimming pool for the kids. All this can be done with the assistance of a landscape specialist.

Window dressing
While windows are your means to the outside world, it would be nice if they were dressed up well. One of the options you have is to put bonsais out on the sill. These lend an exotic look to your window exteriors. Of course, their placement will depend largely on the type of plant and the amount of sunlight it needs.

When it comes to window décor, you can choose from a wide range of decorative window shutters. These could be in a variety of materials depending on the exteriors of your home, as well as the image you are trying to portray.

For those with a penchant for greenery, a collection of bonsais displayed on your window sills could dress them up beautifully.

Try and make your selection from flowering bonsais or those that are fruit bearing. Bonsais are rather expensive, and so make sure you keep the older and hence costlier ones on the inside.

Terrariums are also an interesting choice of greenery for window décor. For those who prefer the elegance of carving, the parapets of windows these days can be dressed up in a multitude of carved patterns.

Terrace
Besides the obvious option of dressing up the balustrades of your terrace with creepers and twines, the terrace is a wonderful space to decorate.

If you have a really expansive terrace, you could think of cordoning off a part of the terrace and creating a huge terrace garden.

How and what goes into that garden will depend on various factors such as the sunlight it receives, the amount of shade, the drainage facilities, your gardener’s advice and finally your wallet.

One thing you have to keep in mind when it comes to greenery is that gardens can be planned based on the level of maintenance you are willing to take on. If you are the type who does not like to get dirty, opt for the more hassle-free kind of plants.  A terrace is also a place where you can relax.

You could think of creating a sheltered nook, like a small glass cabin with plenty of windows to let in the sun and the light.

These would be great for you to relax with a book, catch up with friends or it could even be a great place for your kids to study and do homework.

Since it is sheltered, even a light shower would look great with you on the inside.
Decorating the exterior of your home can be quite a task however; all you need is some clear thinking and a taste for good things.

Rest assured you will have a home that is beautiful on the outside as well as on the inside.

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