Photography by Virginia Macdonald | Styling by Christine Hanlon
Summer's the time to expand your space. Take advantage of the season's long days and warm weather to stretch your decorating flair beyond your home's four walls. Your backyard is your new best friend!
The beauty of July is that you can practically live outside—mosquitoes and blackflies notwithstanding. Make the most of your backyard oasis with decorative accents that create a relaxed and welcoming space. Mix and match the textures and colours in toss cushions, china, lanterns and the like so nothing feels too precious, and make sure you have lots of cozy seating with soft throws on hand. Pour some drinks, light a few candles and your summer retreat is open for business.
One of my favourite ways to spend summer's all-too-fleeting warm days is hanging out with family and friends. I love lazy weekend gatherings that go from afternoon get-togethers to impromptu happy hours to easy evening barbecues. By creating different outdoor entertaining zones, or "rooms," in my backyard, the transition from day to night is seamless and relaxed. For example, I usually plan to dine on the deck, close to the back door and near the barbecue. Then, after eating, guests move from the deck to the lawn, where the furniture is more comfy; I also spread out blankets and toss cushions on the grass for those who want to really feel at home. Using a variety of garden planters, several surfaces (gravel versus grass, say) and different kinds of lighting to delineate entertaining areas will make your outdoor party a success—but watch out: Your guests may never want to leave!