One of the things I most look forward to about summer is spending time outdoors and specifically on my porch. I believe the best porches and verandas have all the style and functionality of an indoor space, with the added bonus of the incredible sights and sounds of nature. There is nothing I enjoy more than sipping my morning coffee while curled up on the porch and being serenaded by my backyard friends.

I believe outdoor living spaces should reflect the home’s interior but with a bit more whimsy and a much different expectation. While I encourage and collaborate with clients to create their personal outdoor oasis, I also remind them that mother nature always has the upper hand. Even with the latest technology in outdoor fabrics and weather resistant furnishings, it is nearly impossible to achieve porch perfection. With southern summer storms, tree debris and an abundance of outdoor critters, one must learn to live with an attitude of “perfectly imperfect”. Here are my suggestions for making the most of your outdoor living space this summer:

1. Mosquito Control – If you don’t have a screened porch, splurge for some type of professional mosquito control from a reputable company. The most beautiful porch in the world won’t be enjoyed if you are constantly battling these pesky insects.
2. Fans – Keep the air moving with ceiling fans or portable standing fans. It may not be an ocean breeze but will certainly keep you more comfortable during these hot and humid summer temperatures.
3. Lighting – Lamps, chandeliers, string lights, and candles can provide illumination as well as ambience and architectural interest.
4. Comfort – Incorporate upholstered furnishings, such as club chairs and ottomans, covered in outdoor fabrics; Add colorful accent pillows, throws and outdoor rugs. These elements used in a similar palette as your home’s interior, can create not only a beautiful outdoor living space, but also visually extend the interior.
5. Whimsy – Dare to add a touch of whimsy like a porch swing or an accent table that is a completely different style than you typically gravitate towards. Have fun and use more vibrant patterns – this is your opportunity to be more bold than you would with your interior.
6. Plants – Potted plants and flowers not only make for a chic, lush outdoor oasis, but ease the transition to the rest of your backyard.
7. Antiques – Antique garden elements, planters and wicker furnishings used in moderation help create that timeless and collected look that instantly elevates any space.

Now that you’ve got some of my favorite elements in place, all you need is a good book and a refreshing summer cocktail. This is the perfect recipe for a getaway that’s just a few steps outside your own back door!

My Dad’s Margarita Recipe

Hornitos Tequila Reposado – 8 ounces
Cointreau – 3 ounces
Bar Syrup – just a dribble
Margarita Mix – 8 ounces
One lime squeezed
Ice

Blend and Enjoy!