From yards and terraces to patios and porches, these easy decorating ideas can work for any outdoor space you have big plans to beautify.

1. Use a bright exterior paint scheme

You don’t need acres of lawn or beds profuse with blooms to add colour to your outdoor space. Make your home the talk of the neighborhood – in a good way – with an exterior paint scheme that pops.

You’ll want to choose a quality paint specially designed for outdoor use, and ensure you follow the application instructions to get the best wear out of your product.

In addition to its protective value, a lick of paint is aesthetically pleasing provided you consider certain factors, such as your landscaping and existing architectural elements (like roofs and chimneys that won’t be painted) when choosing your palette.

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2.  Invest in good material

Cushions, tablecloths, umbrellas and awnings are a great way of adding colour to your outdoor space without having to commit to anything overly permanent. When accessorising your patio, consider the colour schemes of both your garden and your home décor.

Fortunately, many materials on the market today are manufactured in both interior and weather-resistant exterior fabrications, which makes it easy to create a seamless indoor-outdoor flow. Mildew growth can be a problem for fabrics used outside. To prevent this it is essential to keep these materials clean: a mild, soapy solution with lukewarm – not hot – water should do the trick.

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3. Try wooden surfaces

Its obvious affinity to nature makes timber the ideal choice for outdoor décor. Decking or wooden wall panels add both natural flair and real value to your home, but bear in mind that timber requires regular upkeep.

Oiling wooden surfaces will seal them against the damaging effects of UV rays, which can dry them out and cause boards to shrink or crack. The application of a stain, meanwhile, can give your deck or timber wall panels a lustrous, consistent look. Again, look for a stain that provides sun protection and is weather resistant.

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4. Add a walkway

A garden path can issue an enticing invitation to backyard visitors, or just provide a convenient route for plant maintenance.

When choosing materials, you’ll need to weigh up aesthetics versus functionality: hardwearing pavers or mortared paths, for instance, are good for high-traffic areas while gravel or wood-mulch paths may be less hardy but they look natural and are relatively inexpensive.

Consider, the shape of your pathway: straight paths are preferred if you’re wanting to lead the eye to a focal point in the garden while curving paths create a sense of mystery and can also help make narrow areas appear larger.

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5. Create your own artpiece

You hang art inside your home, so why not do the same outside? Vertical gardens are all the rage but if you’re not blessed with green fingers there are plenty of creative DIY ideas that will add equal exterior interest.

Wall mounted baskets filled with herbs, recycled garden implements suspended from hooks or rustic plant holders fashioned from rope are consistent with a natural, outdoorsy look and can be achieved on a meager budget in little more than a weekend. Given that outdoor spaces are exposed to the elements, think ‘robust’ when choosing your al fresco décor.

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For more inspired outdoor decorating ideas and expert advice, don’t miss Decorex Cape Town, South Africa’s premier décor, design and lifestyle expo, on from 29 April to 2 May at the CTICC. Visit www.decorex.co.za for more information.

Images: Istock

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