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Garden chic for a long, haute summer Add to ...

If there was ever a summer for heat-seekers to drop all travel plans and take a staycation, it’s the one that lies ahead: Temperatures in Canada are expected to be hotter than Greece’s in the coming months. That doesn’t mean, however, that all you prospective pool loungers have to drop yourselves and your paperbacks into a plastic Adirondack. The latest trend in outdoor furniture at all price points is the luxury look, and it’s being driven by high-end hotels and restaurants whose art-directed patios have become oases of cool.

Andrew Bockner, co-founder and principal designer of Andrew Richard Designs, has furnished several high-end hotels and restaurants and sees “these trends translating more and more to residential design.”

An essential part of the look, Bockner says, is the introduction of uber-trendy industrial materials to outdoor spaces, mixing stainless steel, for instance, with more traditional patio materials such as teak. He also emphasizes the importance of including non-traditional elements in your outdoor mise en scène: “Daybeds, a luxury-hotel staple, are great pieces to consider for the backyard.”

Layering colour, pattern and scale is another way to give even a small yard the opulent look, according to Malcolm Patterson, a Toronto designer specializing in outdoor spaces (and the stylist behind the high-glam tableau featured here). “The more you layer an outdoor space, the more it will look like a room in your house,” he says.

Patterson applies the same rule to lighting, combining solar lighting with candles and landscape lights for heightened ambience. It makes a space look both richer and larger.

Larger is the operative word when it comes to the outdoors. The sky is a mighty backdrop and small objects tend to get lost when displayed outside. “Fewer and larger-scale pieces make for a strong, more luxurious statement than numerous small pieces,” says Patterson.

Greenery with bold geometric shapes, he adds, injects drama, while outdoor rugs or interlocking flooring lends polish to the look. And when you plate an al fresco meal, be sure to bring out the good china. It is the great outdoors, after all.

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