In these crazy days of climate change, sometimes the lovely transitional seasons of spring and autumn are gone before they even begin. While fall might be the most gorgeous of all seasons, many of us give up on outdoor time because of the impending chill. Why not reap the brisk charm of this fleeting period for as long as possible with any of these current trends in autumnal decor and design?
Bring the Indoors Outside
Lately, designers have been having fun blurring the lines between inside and out, even in the later months of the year -- exporting the coziest areas of the home into an enclosed patio or even a deck. You can bring the magic of your den into the backyard during the fall by setting up a (semi)outdoor home theater: curling up with the family beneath the stars to share a classic holiday movie is truly magical. Similarly, setting up amenities such as a beer tap or a cooking area is not only highly practical, it also sneaks a little kitchen intimacy where you’d never expect it.
If you’re going to extend your outdoor social season and enjoy your yard, you need to make you and your guests stay warm. One easy secret is to add cushions to any metal or plastic furniture: these may be great at resisting the elements, but poor for retaining heat. Knit blankets or afghans fulfill a similar role, and let you add color and texture to your seating area.
As anyone who’s ever dined out al fresco during the later part of the year knows, propane space heaters can make a closely controlled area warm enough to dine comfortably in winter. However, their appearance doesn’t do much in the way of ambiance, so consider a bio-ethanol fireplace kit for a more inviting alternative.
By fall, it’s probably a safe bet that swimming season is over. However, you can still enjoy the feeling of a soothing soak under fall skies if you indulge in a hot tub or spa. Granted, breaking ground for a traditional hot tub is a major undertaking, but there are many above-ground kits that provide the same feeling of cozy decadence without breaking the bank. Extra tip: if you like the novelty of lounging in water when it starts to get nippy, winter-proof your spa for the next season.
There’s no season when candles don’t add panache to an outdoor setting and the flicker of flames against fall hues is incredible. For an even better effect, hang candles in metal lanterns with die cut patterns to cast dramatic shadows. Any candles will do, but burgundy shades are great for fall, as are fragrances such as pine needle, fig, or pumpkin. Candle-lighting garden paths is an especially romantic idea, but make sure to take safety precautions.
While autumn is a time of falling leaves and the dark burnished hues that go with it, there is a whole slew of flora that add livelier colors to the fall palette and are relatively easy to maintain. Colchium, for example, with its massive purple blossoms, looks like a crocus that’s stepped out of season, while perennial sunflowers are great for people who want the feeling of summer to extend into the colder months. Of course you want to plant to accommodate your existing color scheme, but you might consider the effervescent lavender of the monkshood and the strikingly exotic red spider lily as both are highly recommended for this year.
Fall never seems to last long enough, and in fact you may ask yourself why bother revamping your outdoor space for such as fleeting period. Even just a few new highlights can dramatically shift the atmosphere, but after all a little work is worth it -- remember, you won’t be able to enjoy your outdoor space again for some time.
Uma Campbell is a freelance writer from Southern California. She’s looking forward to the weather cooling down, so she can start enjoying the brisk fall weather. Uma currently writes for Soothing Company.