A ho-hum outdoor space is better than no outdoor space at all. But a well-designed terrace fit for morning coffee, evening cocktails, and everything in between? Now that’s worth bragging about.
The key to crafting your perfect Eden, according to Los Angeles-based interior designer Sarah Weichel, lies in durable material selections, long-lasting furniture, and a few choice decorative accents. Follow her expert advice and you’ll have a backyard retreat that you’ll never want to leave.
1. Opt for high-quality materials
Since even a partially covered patio or terrace is exposed to the elements, all outdoor spaces experience a level of wear and tear that you don’t see inside. “Investing in high-quality materials will ensure that your space not only looks chic, but will function in a practical way,” Weichel says.
For example, the innovative Dekton surface from Cosentino is highly resistant to heat, fire, and stains, making it the perfect material for outdoor floors and countertops.
“High-performance materials are always the way to go outside,” Weichel advises. “A bonus is that you won’t have to worry about replacing them often over time.” That’s especially true for Dekton surfaces, which come with a guaranteed 25-year warranty.
2. Choose classic, timeless furniture
Create a neutral base with simple furniture that won’t go out of style anytime soon—and opt for pieces that are made with materials made to last. “While something like teak may be the pricier option, it will last for years and withstand the elements over time,” Weichel says.
Teak is great for outdoor furniture because it’s one of the strongest and most durable hardwoods out there. It is also resistant to rotting due to a high level of natural oils.
3. Consider scale and proportion
When it comes to furniture and flooring materials, size matters; Weichel advises scaling both to the square footage of your outdoor space to make it feel cohesive.
“If you’re working with a small yard, consider material choices that are smaller in scale, like pebbles, 6×6 tiles, and bricks,” she suggests. If you have more ground to cover, opt for larger hardscaping, like large format Dekton slabs. The minimal joints create visual continuity throughout the space.
4. Be strategic with seating
Make sure you have plenty of places for friends and family (and you!) to sit. Weichel’s advice? Get multiple chairs instead of a sofa or loveseat for your patio or terrace. “People prefer their own seating,” she explains. “Plus, this gives you the freedom to play around with the layout.”
That means you can move things around as needed, like when you’re hosting and need to accommodate extra chairs or folding tables. Outdoor poufs, which can double as footstools, are great for additional seating.
5. Evade the fade
When it comes to designing a patio space, it’s important to choose pieces that can withstand the elements. “Avoid white fabrics for outdoor upholstery,” Weichel advises. “It looks chic at the hotel but is difficult to maintain.”
Think about the sun story when laying out your space, as UV rays can fade, bleach, and discolor furniture and warp plastic and wood. “If there is a specific area that gets the most sun,” says Weichel, “consider adding a pergola to help frame out the patio, or a sun shade as a less permanent solution.”
No matter how much shade you create, light will find its way onto your furniture and flooring. Pick a material, like Dekton, that is highly resistant to UV rays, so it will maintain its color and finish even when exposed to direct sun.
6. Add personality with accessories
Liven up your patio or terrace with fun touches like patterned pillows, colorful planters, and lush greenery. “I’m happy to see we’re trending towards more color in our personal spaces,” Weichel says. “Personally, I’ve purchased checkered tile top side tables for my patio and striped umbrellas to add to my backyard.”
For beautiful light at night, add string lights, lanterns, or a fire pit to the space. If you’re installing built-in fireplaces, Weichel suggests covering the surround with the same material used as your flooring—Dekton can be used as a fire pit tabletop and fireplace surround—to create a seamless look.
A fireplace or pit will also extend your enjoyment of your outdoor space into cooler months, so you can make the most of your own private oasis.