Spring 2021

New Season Outdoors

By Lauren Hurwitz

Heather Garrett, owner of Larchmont-based Heather Garrett Design LLC., says the past year has been an influx of requests for renewing and revisioning interiors in unique ways. The designer has found herself sourcing for the perfect home office chair or desk for the work from home lifestyle on a daily basis. But with Memorial Day weekend upon us, Westchester residents are settling into a new normal as they open their doors and gardens for the outdoor entertaining season.

“Although, I have enjoyed this new focus for the interior, I find myself looking forward to the next best thing that this pandemic has provided for us – the time we spend outdoors,” says Garrett. “The most important thing for your outdoor living space is to create an oasis that makes you happy, comfortable, with sufficient pieces to include all of your guests! Now more than ever, it’s a good time to invest or update your backyard, garden or patio. We are using it more often than other areas in our homes, and even further into the seasons.

Garrett says inspiration for an outdoor space should come from within. Here are a few things she suggests keeping in mind when determining how your outdoor space can provide the most enjoyment for you and your family:

Just like interiors, there are so many options and price ranges within this category. After determining the most cost-effective budget, you can source which materials fit your lifestyle. Whether you’re choosing for a small deck area or patio, or a sprawling hardscape area around a pool, it’s important to pick a material that you’ll be able to care for and maintain. For instance, some may choose an aluminum base with cushions versus a teak base because there is less maintenance on that kind of finish. In fact, many newly manufactured aluminum products meant to be left outdoors are rust-proof. 

For those who prioritize durability, teak is a great but expensive option. With a special annual coat of protection paint, teak furniture can last a lifetime and even develop a beautifully patina as the wood ages.   

Other woven or rattan furniture works better for settings that are covered, or in a closed in patio that isn’t as exposed to outdoor elements like sun, rain, etc. Today, most companies have specialty outdoor fabrics that can be washed while still attached to the furniture base itself making one, or more, less loads of laundry. She notes it’s important to research the fabric to determine if it has a sealant or UV protection so that it doesn’t fade. Products made with Sunbrella, Outdura, Tempotest Home and Phifertex are considered to be the best at protecting against colors fading in the sun so be sure to check the brands and labels of the material you choose. 

In terms of fabric colors, Garrett says her clients often start off thinking “the darker the better,” but the truth is no matter what color you choose, all cushions require care. You will need to clean them regularly, bring them inside, cover them during inclement weather, and store them during off season. 

When defining your individual style, Garrett recommends sticking to what presents well with the materials and colors in the stone or siding of your house. Take a peek from your outside area into your home. Do you have modern pieces with clean lines that you want to carry outside? Maybe you have more of a traditional setting and want to reflect that in the outdoor pieces you choose. You may also find that you can mix within different collections as long as there is a similarity in the line and curves of the furniture. For instance, when choosing your outdoor dining table you find one from a different brand or store that has better options to meet your needs. You may need an umbrella hole, or a larger table, or a round one the sofa collection you choose doesn’t provide. Just be sure there is a linking material, shape, or fabric to keep it consistent. Matching everything perfectly does not have to be an option.

Once you have chosen your style and materials, you can decide what pieces work best in your space. Think about how you entertain, what your view is, and how you envision the time you will be spending in this area. Who knows? Once spring is in full force, perhaps we can take the work from home office and bring it outdoors?!