Why Everyone’s Bringing the Indoors Out

Everything inside is coming outside this summer, as designers transform ho-hum patios into elegant living environments.

Imagine lounge areas accented by pillows, rugs, sofas and a weather-resistant TV; dining areas connected to an outdoor kitchen; a built-in fire feature that warms up those chilly nights. Stone pavers, pergolas and attractive light fixtures can also help set the mood.

“We’re trying to pull in materials to soften up the hardscape, and normally you would do that with planters,” says Colleen Baader, senior vice president at VID Lifestyle in Elgin. “Then, you add outdoor rugs, which are beautiful, and you have a whole new look for an outdoor space.”

Baader’s team of interior designers is accustomed to leading full-scale remodels of homes and businesses, but their talents are also shaping amazing outdoor living environments. Using the same approach they take inside, these designers review the client’s wish list before sketching out ideas and hiring a landscaper.

Before approaching a designer, think about what you want. Are there activities you want to accommodate? Can you find pictures of something you like?

With ideas in hand, it’s time to start talking materials, and the choices abound. Baader finds that simple, clean, modern designs are a top preference.

“So, that means not as many curves, not as much greenery, just keeping things sleek and simple,” Baader says.

In one recent project, Baader used sleek lines and gray pavers to transform the space outside a navy-colored ranch home. Simplicity was the goal. Closer to the home, there’s a large space for seating, with planting areas under the windows. At the farthest corner from the house, there’s a squarish space with a knee-high wall surrounding a fire pit. Shorter shrubs create interest and color.

The design process started last fall, and the landscaper was booked by December – well ahead of schedule so that work could begin this March.

“That’s the great thing about having someone like us help with the design, is that we can get the process going and then the landscaper just has to put it in his calendar,” says Baader.

VID Lifestyle is located at 2000 Fox Lane, in Elgin, (847) 760-8206. ❚