Tag: Basic Design Ideas

Creating An Outdoor Oasis Under Retractable Awnings

The last few years saw a surge in home interior design, and that transitioned gracefully into an interest in designing a backyard with the same thoughtfulness and attention to comfort. Outdoor designs enhance the earthiness and roughness of nature, with the comfort and detail of indoors. This blend is integral to creating a polished, usable environment: the influence of indoor design brings structure and unity to the outdoor space.

Structure defines the space through construction like fences, patios, or gazebos, or through vegetation, like borders or shrubs. Modern retractable awnings are an uncomplicated and inexpensive method to introduce definition to an outdoor space without the high cost of construction or the high maintenance of complicated landscaping.

Define the Space with Retractable Awnings
Design is based on cohesion between decorating elements. For outdoor spaces, cohesion is predicated on structure, an outline for the area. With retractable awnings, the natural flow between the interior space and the new exterior space depends on the size and location of the retractable awnings:
Outdoor access, such as sliding doors
Shade needs for interior rooms; retractable awnings block heat, UV rays, glare, and sunlight, which makes them an asset for overly bright rooms or rooms with UV-susceptible elements, like paintings and photographs.
Sun orientation; retractable awnings which shade west and south facing rooms can reduce indoor temperature gains by 77%, so they are ideal for passive energy efficiency in sunny rooms
Size. The width of retractable awnings can be custom-sized by the inch, so it is possible to scale the retractable awning perfectly to match the desired location.

Incorporate drop screens to provide a natural fluidity to the area. Drop screens are mounted vertically and are lowered down. In areas around pools or for existing gazebos, stairways, or decks, drop screens mark pathways and create an enclosed feeling. Drop screens also have functional benefits, such as rain, UV, glare, pollen, and bug protection for exposed sitting areas.

Basic Design Ideas
Outdoor design is tied to the senses, and the primary sense is visual. First, retractable awnings provide a visual structure to the unordered outdoors. Second, retractable awnings create a color patter; the fabric and colors in the retractable awning define the overarching palette for the rest of the space and diffuse the ambient light, creating a subtle pervasive color.

This makes selecting the retractable awning fabric vitally important. Decide the mood or the natural element to emphasize.
Bright greens for lush vegetation.
Subtle patterns in dark greens and browns or woodlands.
Light blues, turquoises, and golds for waters and beaches.
Bright oranges, reds, and yellows for tropical or desert colors.

Subtle retractable awning features, like different colored frames, tie into the overall theme and contrast with the retractable awning fabric for visual depth. Valances for traditional lateral arm (flat extension) retractable awnings can have a dozen different patterns. For smooth and fluid environments, like beach themes, look for valances with movement to them, like scallops, with sharp angles to echo the rigidity of woods. Other distinct styles can be used throughout the space, such as fluttery sheets of fabric called butterfly awnings or fan-shaped awnings which can fit in corners.

The rest of the backyard space fall into place according to the core elements defined in the retractable awnings. The key is to pay attention to the details:
Seating, particularly with coordinating colors, luxurious pillows and throw blankets. The style of furniture is important, depending on the size of the area delineated by the retractable awning and the functional flow of traffic.
Plants. Retractable awnings cool temperatures as much as 20 degrees and provide protection from the harshest light, so it is possible to fill in the outdoor area with potted plants or types of plants which are prone to drying and heat damage in full sunlight, including ferns, some kinds of palms, flowers, and fresh herbs.
Lighting. Solar lights, strings of lights, and side lamps all provide safe and mild outdoor lighting, which can make the outdoor space enjoyable even after twilight. The retractable awning itself can support very light objects, like Chinese paper lanterns or Christmas lights, but its generally a bad idea to hang things from the retractable awning since that impedes its ability to retract.
Heating and fans. Free standing fans or outdoor heaters carry the seasonal life of the outdoor space from early spring well into early winter. Other heating options, like chimeneas, should be placed slightly outside the retractable awning, to prevent damage to the fabric from the smoke.

Retractable awnings are an interesting alternative for interesting spaces. Retractable awnings make a huge visual impact and provide the core structure and definition for planning an outdoor living space, while being a relatively inexpensive do-it-yourself project. Retractable awnings turn any outdoor space into a canvas for expression.