We are so excited to partner with Van Zelst Landscape Development on this guest blog-post regarding exterior design. Though outdoor entertaining spaces initially represent a challenge (i.e. finding the right team, deciding what look you’re going for, spending the capital, etc.), we promise that this space will become a retreat you’ll enjoy for years to come! Read on to hear from the Van Zelst’s expert team regarding their best tips and tricks for getting the most use out of those outdoor entertaining spaces.
With the beautiful summer and fall months we experience here on the North Shore of Chicago, one of the most valuable investments we can make is to bring our interior design style outside. Utilizing the same design principles you follow with the interior, and with the help of a skilled landscape architect, your outdoor spaces will soon look and feel like a natural and beautiful extension of your home.
To begin with, in the same way that each room in your house has a purpose—whether it’s a den, dining room, or office—it is important to create a purpose for each of your exterior spaces. The key difference with outdoor areas is to designate separate seating arrangements throughout your yard.
In regard to the design of the exterior space, consider the details that were essential to you when designing your interior. How can you draw those details to the outside? This is one area where clients benefit from the help of a landscape designer—We concentrate on finding unique ways to carry the same style and tone of interiors to the exteriors of client homes. For instance, we have found that walkways are often an overlooked aspect of the exterior design, and yet they are the first impression one makes when welcoming guests into their home.
Further, one design principle we always capitalize on is the use of scale. Just as one varies the height of tablescapes on the interior, this same rule applies to your outdoor spaces. As landscape designers know, raised terraces and walkways provide visual interest, as do plants of varied heights and sizes.
And finally, don’t forget to think about lighting! The days in Winnetka are beautiful, but so are the evenings. Be sure to light your exterior entertaining space well enough so that they can be easily enjoyed at nighttime, too. Some ways to accomplish this include using string lights, large lanterns with candles, and small spotlights to accent all that you’ve done with your new outdoor space!
Don’t feel intimidated by taking your design outdoors—With the help of a landscape designer and your own personal style, you can transform those unused exterior spaces into a special place to entertain and enjoy for years to come.
A LITTLE MORE ABOUT VAN ZELST LANDSCAPE DEVELOPMENT:
David Van Zelst is the founder of Van Zelst Inc., a professional landscape architect, design and build company that services the Chicago North Shore. Van Zelst has been creating award-winning landscape designs in Winnetka and the surrounding suburbs for over 30 years. They have also been featured in many well-known publications, including Better Homes and Gardens, Chicagoland Gardening, and Chicago Home.