What’s trending now
Sneed, the manager at Mecox Gardens, says concrete (for concrete-topped tables) and teak furniture have always been popular. Recently, Mecox has been selling more synthetic woven materials that allow rain to easily seep through, as well as colorful outdoor ceramics and garden stools. “Now that it’s getting a little warmer and, I think, loosening restrictions, people are definitely doing more and kind of switching over to a little bit of entertaining,” Sneed says.
Dauwe has seen more interest for artificial turf, which attracts fewer insects. Clients have also been requesting retractable screens and in-ceiling infrared heaters.
Creating an outdoor oasis
Selecting a contractor is an important first step. Dauwe’s advice is to be wary of “self-proclaimed” builders and laborers, who often emerge when demand is high. Look for a company that has been active in our neighborhood for at least five years.
Architects will be able to map out an appropriate space for a project and its main features, and when it comes to furnishing the space, Sneed says measurements are key. Treat a trip to the store or showroom for buying outdoor furniture just the same as one for purchasing indoor furniture. “Really take the time to measure your space out and again, to know how you use it and live with it,” Sneed says. A higher price doesn’t always indicate a higher quality, he warns, but he recommends brands such as Palecek and Oasiq. Recognizing the purpose of the space is also important. It’s fine, for example, to opt for a more inexpensive table and chairs if they’re placed under a covered area that won’t get much use. But for an area that will undergo heavier use, it may be worth it to invest a little more.
A final piece of advice from Dauwe when it comes to creating an outdoor space: “Think three or four or five years down the road instead of just this summer.”