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Bring the Outside In and the Inside Out

This is the time of year when a metamorphosis begins in our gardens. Foliage and ivy emerge; bulbs and plants arise from the ground bursting full of anticipation for a new season. Spring blossoms pop out against a barren landscape. The early chirping of birds outside our bedroom windows gently wake us up and our hearts fill with joy for the coming of summer.

We begin to feel motivated to perform a spring cleaning and prepare ourselves for a new season that will bring the outside in, and the inside out. Whether you have a rooftop garden, an apartment balcony, or a yard, there’s opportunity to make the most of your outdoor space and make it a room alive with greenery and fresh air.

Many people write to ask how to make the most of their patios and yards. In my view, you can approach your exterior space in the same way that you approach the inside space of your house. Think of it as “exterior decoration.” Stonework, wood decking and ground cover function much like your indoor carpeting, tile work or wood floors; adding warmth and pattern underfoot and ultimately defining seating areas or pathways through a space. Trelliswork covered with flowering vines or ivy act as nature’s wallpaper; providing pattern and colour to an outdoor room. Clay pots filled with herbs or annuals are decorative accessories and accents that can add colour as well as delightful scents into the space. Adding sculpture, water features or unique planting beds are ways to create focal points of interest. And finally, trees and shrubs along fences are the window coverings; providing privacy and shelter from the sun and rain.

Ultimately, your outdoor space should reflect the same sense of style as the inside of your home. So, if you’re a modernist, bring in modern exterior furniture, horizontal or glass panel fencing and exotic grasses. If you’re a traditionalist with more formal taste, you can add the new wicker or cast aluminum furniture, square cut flagstone and sculpted boxwood hedging. For the romantic, consider a bistro set with lots of potted plants, ivy trellis, outdoor candles and sculptural ornaments.

Whatever the style, it’s great to bring the outside in and the inside out!

Sally Stanleigh

Sally Stanleigh, Founder of Outdoor Rooms Landscape Design is an accredited Landscape Designer and Floral Designer. She graduated with Honours in Landscape Design in 2005. Sally is passionate about creating beautiful gardens with timeless appeal and loves the challenge of transforming the most difficult spaces into beautiful ones. Sally has a sound knowledge of horticulture and Project Management. Learn more about her work at