29 June 2011

The Beautiful Outdoors

Summer is by far my favorite time of year.  I would much rather have it be 100 degrees than 30 degrees.  Obviously I’d prefer it to be 70s or 80s, but if it had to be an extreme, I’d take hot over cold any day.  When it’s warm and sunny, all I want to do is be outside.  Fortunately, St. Louis has a lot of great things to do outdoors, and so much of it is free!  So far, Vincent and I have gone to Shakespeare in the Park, Whitaker Music Festival at the Missouri Botanical Garden, and we’ve taken Colbert to Laumeier Sculpture Park.  St. Louis also boasts many well-maintained public parks, including Forest Park, which is larger than New York’s Central Park!  Having access to all of these parks and activities helps make up for our lack of outdoor space at our apartment.

While I love our tiny deck, it would be wonderful to have more usable space.  Growing up, summer was always synonymous with eating meals outside.  I find it so relaxing and comforting to eat al fresco.  Ideally, I want a patio large enough to accommodate an outdoor dining set as well as a casual lounge area, complete with fire pit!

Photo from EAD Living


I like this patio arrangement because it has the eating area, the outdoor living room (I would replace the coffee table with a fire pit, so that people are more likely to gather around it), and the canopy above.  I’m sure they used concrete as a cost-saver, but I’d rather use some sort of permeable paver allowing rain water to drain naturally with minimal runoff.

Photo from Caluco


For ours, I’d want outdoor furniture more like this Caluco Mirabella set (but with different pillows). 
Photo from Katiedid


I also like the idea of having a major focal piece, like this fountain, along one wall.  The metal’s natural patina provides a beautiful contrast with the rest of the wall.
Photo from Better Homes & Gardens


This would be another good option for us.  I tend to be drawn more towards courtyards or enclosed patio-gardens than expansive backyards.  Maybe it’s that they feel more architectural, or maybe I’m just lazy and don’t want to do yard work.  I’d like to say it’s the former, but the latter is probably more accurate!

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