When designing an outdoor space, the details are the finishing touches that capture the seamless elegance of the design. The same can be said about selecting site furnishings, because these pieces reflect the homeowner’s unique vision and taste. With the right tools, site furnishings can help transform a landscape into a sanctuary enlivened with a welcoming character.
A landscape is never empty, it is beautiful in its own right with its ever-changing mood, elegant forms, and sometimes romantic ambiance. As a way to enhance a landscape, site furnishings add the value of comfort. Depending on the style, outdoor furniture can be highly ornate or very simplistic.
In order to select the right furnishings, we have to understand our surroundings and the objective of our design. A study done by Jay Appleton explains our attraction towards nature and the vast landscape via the prospect-refuge theory. As humans, we are attracted to the vast landscape, because we feel safer being the observers. In addition, this theory runs parallel with the feeling of safety and privacy – where we like serene spaces with comfortable seating. Additional elements such as fire and water help carve the experience, water soothes our mind and fire answers one of the basic human needs.
Your landscape configurations vary greatly due to the allowable design space; therefore, it is important to choose the right site furnishings in order to maximize the use of your space. Different elements evoke certain feelings such as, soft, luxurious cushions invite you to linger around the warmth of the fire as you take a sip of wine on a winter night; whereas modern chaise lounges offer a quick recharge before taking a dip into the infinity-edged pool on a hot sunny day. If your vision is about large gathering and inviting spaces, you may choose multiple seats with circular arrangement around a fire table as the centerpiece. If your space allows for additional shade structure, it can provide another layer of privacy with soothing elements such as soft curtains and illuminating light fixtures.
Site furnishings establish order; they help accentuate the function of your outdoor spaces and create a sense of place. An area with a fire table surrounded by ample seating implies a function of social interaction. An area with water features and visible benches along a path may imply a sense of curiosity and invite you to explore the landscape. Creating a sense of place will result in a safe and comfortable space that supports social activity and interaction. Whether it be marking a strong separation between the indoor and outdoor or encouraging a seamless transition from the indoor to outdoor, site furnishings will help accomplish those desires.
Specific site furnishing manufacturers offer a variety of pieces. Materiality of the pieces also plays a role in creating a fitting ambiance to your liking. For example, selecting site furnishings with handcrafted wood material may give your outdoor space a quality feeling unmatched by mass-produced furnishings. The details involved simply make these pieces a great investment. Some popular material options include teak, cast aluminum, wrought iron, and steel. Wood material such as teak is touted for its all-weather capabilities, strength, and beautiful grained finish; however, it does require an intensive upkeep. If lightweight and durability are the main consideration, you may opt for cast aluminum pieces. They are great for easy rearrangement as well as substantial support; however, their lightweight attribute may not be suitable for high wind environment.
Prior to making big purchase on your outdoor pieces, it is advisable to consider factors such as cost, sustainability, and maintenance.
If your outdoor space is designed for many years of celebration, consider investing in high quality, lost-lasting pieces. The process of furnishing your outdoor space is similar to furnishing your interior space. The options to mix and match pieces are endless; you have the ability to work with your budget, high and low end pieces, that effortlessly helps evoke a personal style. The blending of pieces offers budgets to be met without sacrificing the functional goals of the outdoor spaces.
With a stronger shift towards sustainability, along with the rise of talented industrial designers in the Bay Area, it has become easier to source locally-made and environmentally certified furniture pieces.
It is recommended to purchase outdoor pieces with weather-resistant capabilities. In addition, weatherproof fabric and washable material are great as another layer of maintenance for those beautiful outdoor pieces. It is advisable to buy preweathered or sealed pieces to keep their brilliance overtime. On the contrary, if rustic feel is desired, the pieces can weather overtime without applying any protectant.
When it comes to selecting site furnishing for your landscape think of it as a blank canvas in which you can slowly add the brush to fill the space. Site furnishings complete the ambiance of your outdoor space; they hold both functional and sentimental value. At Terra Ferma Landscapes, we help you distill your design vision by providing a specifically curated gallery of your design ideas. Because we are a team of visual creatives, we use different modes of visual communication that help convey the truest form of your vision. We see your big picture, and we ask the right questions that determine even the smallest details in your design vision. As your outdoor space evolves piece by piece your style is a reflection of your vision.