Hot outdoor living ideas for the spring

Pristine white resort-style furniture. Multipurpose spaces for yoga in the morning and movies at night. Plants and accessories with the “it” hues for 2018.

From staycation retreats to a showcase for design, outdoor spaces continue to evolve. Here are ways Atlanta landscapers, designers, garden experts and products are accentuating outdoor living this spring.

Wowing with white

White furniture and accessories give a clean aesthetic to outdoor spaces, designers say.

Outdoor seating options in white include the modern Camden lounge chair with a curved steel frame and the glossy white resin Cove coffee table from Frontgate.

“It has become more than just lounge chairs scattered on a patio than it used to be, and everyone wants comfort and convenience as they would like in a living room,” said Alice Cramer of Alice Cramer Interiors in Atlanta.

Outdoor fabrics also have evolved from a flat weave, Cramer said, into “true textures,” similar to a chenille or a velvet that are soft to the touch. White decorative accents include a vase covered with woven rattan from the new Anthropologie Home for Nordstrom collection.

Playing up the pool cabana

Pool cabanas are in demand because they offer shade and proximity to outdoor amenities, and they give a greater connection to the yard, compared to a porch or screened-in space, designer Carl Mattison said.

“Having some kind of cabana has become pretty popular because people continue to realize that our summers here in the South get hotter and hotter and this sun gets down blistering on you,” he said.

For the flooring of his garage-turned-pool cabana in Grant Park, Mattison used repurposed bricks from one of the fireplaces in his renovated 1905 Queen Anne home. Mattison, owner of Carl Mattison Design, also said he’s seen people repurpose parts of old buildings or sheds for bars or other yard amenities.

Mattison’s pool cabana contains a bathroom with a shower and a kitchenette. He said important items also include lighting, a ceiling fan with a remote and low-maintenance flooring to handle wet feet.

Gardeners also seek low-maintenance options, including perennials and native plants that are insect resistant, disease resistant and can handle drought, said TV host Joe Washington, whose garden is on the Master Gardener Volunteers of Cobb County 16th Annual Garden Tour on May 12.

“It just makes for a simple gardening experience,” he says.

Flex spaces for fitness and films

Some homeowners are focused on making their outdoor spaces an at-home getaway for favorite activities.

“It’s all about retreat, calm, being outdoors, away from your main house, but also having some amenities out there,” Mattison said.

The 2018 Residential Landscape Architecture Trends Survey by the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) found that the top trend in multifamily outdoor amenities is flexible use space for yoga, movies and other activities (74.2 percent).

“Yoga in outdoor spaces helps you become one with the world around you and facilitates an actual earth connection with no barriers,” said Scott Hostetler, chief designer, president and CEO of Atlanta-based Hostetler Design Worldwide.

The ASLA survey found that the Top 10 most popular outdoor design elements included this category: movie/TV/video theaters, wireless/internet and stereo systems (48 percent).

Ed Castro, owner of Roswell-based Ed Castro Landscape and a member of the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP), said even canvases or pieces of art that can withstand the outdoor elements can double as a movie screen.

Gardening in small and challenging spaces

A hydroponic garden tower will be on display at one of the Cobb tour’s stops, the community garden at Hyde Farm, to show how to grow food in a smaller space, said volunteer JoAnne Newman.

“It’s awesome, and it’s amazing how quickly things grow,” she said.

Renae Lemon, a master gardener coordinator for Cobb, said gardeners are creative when homeowner associations will not allow vegetables to be grown in the front yard and a shady backyard is problematic.

“What I’m seeing a lot of people doing is adding some herbs into their flower beds because it’s beautiful,” she said.

Herbs like Thai basil show how Pantone’s Color of the Year for 2018, Ultra Violet, can transcend from indoors to outdoors.

“We are seeing really bold colors,” Castro said. “Purple has been a really hot color.”