How To Create A Stylish And Functional Outdoor Space

Just in time for the warm weather, Sabine shares her best tips for creating an outdoor oasis in your backyard.

Sabine H. Schoenberg, host of web series Sabine’s New House and founder of PrimeSitesCT knows a thing or two about creating a stylish and functional outdoor space, so we picked her brain for tips on prepping our yards and patios for summer leisure. 

Q: What’s your number-one tip for creating a stylish and functional outdoor space? 
A: There is great outdoor furniture on the market today—getting a table, chairs, and a few lounge chairs is the way to go. Having a fabulous grill makes a lot of sense too. Personally, I like either a heated, covered area—either a porch or cabana. At my house, we have had great outdoor dinners in the middle of November (due to overhead heaters), and even if it starts to pour. It makes for a memorable outdoor dinner experience, and our guests are still talking about those times.

Q: What type of furniture do you think everyone should try to have (if they have the space)? 

A: Every outdoor space should have an area with lounge chairs for social seating and a table and chair area [for dining]. Heaters are nice to have to extend the outdoor season. And fire features like a fire pit make for cozy great gathering places.

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Q: What’s your favorite aspect of your own outdoor space? 
A: One of my favorite things is the right lightingnot too bright and on the romantic side. And it doesn’t just have to be lighting where people are gathering. Here is something unexpected: I love to place one of the new LED Rock or Ball lights (they even come in different colors) at a far corner or floating on the pool. This depth of field is visually interesting and an instant conversation piece. It’s always good to add in some candles in hurricane lamps to underscore the romantic side.

Q: What is the most outrageous flourish you’ve ever seen? 
A: I remember visiting an estate with an amazing and large grotto complete with waterfalls and Koi fish. It was installed next to several swimming pools, and it was all surrounded by stunning landscaping. While it was certainly large and over-the-top, it was exceptionally well done. That’s what made the difference.

Q: What is your favorite piece of outdoor technology?
It may sound funny. but an outdoor television is a great addition. At our current project house for Sabine’s New House, we have a specially designed television for outdoor use made by SunBriteTV. The porch area is also benefiting from outdoor speakers from Crestron, which are tied into the home automation system. Gatherings with friends around sports events, for example, can now happen all summer long. Everyone will come to your house, count on it.

Q: What, above all, does every outdoor space need? 
A: A place for everyone to sit and eat. Great outdoor spaces are well-designed social spaces. If you want [and can] hang out there, cook, eat, and enjoy, the space is a success.

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