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Outdoor Space Inspiration :: Creating A Home In Nature

outdoor space

Fall has arrived, and if you haven’t been spending much time in your outdoor space, now is the time! From morning coffee on the patio to after-dinner drinks under twinkle lights, your outdoor space has the potential to become a special extension of your home. We’re pulling our outdoor space inspiration from Amy Marsh-Draper in Frederick, Maryland, and Julie Gaver in Myersville, Maryland.

Amy’s Outdoor Space

How long have you lived in your home?

We moved into this house 21 years ago. The house was built in 1940 and it was surprising that there was only one tree and a couple of shrubs on the whole lot. With a chain link fence surrounding a blacktop patio, it looked more like a municipal parking lot rather than a residential garden! While I was disappointed that few old plantings remained, I saw a blank canvas and envisioned a field of possibilities.

Where do you find your inspiration?

Nature is an abundant source of inspiration for me.  I often take field trips to botanical gardens and interesting garden centers to help spark my creativity. And I love to look through home and garden magazines for ideas and insight.

What’s your advice to people who want to create a more lovely outdoor space, but don’t know where to begin?

Consider your outdoor area as a restorative place to rest and retreat. Find a quiet corner of your yard and set up a simple seating area, treat the space as an outdoor room  and “decorate” it so that it feels comfortable and inviting. Embrace nature and play off the natural surroundings of your yard. Use container gardens and potted plants to define the space and create a lush backdrop. 

What makes your outdoor living area unique?

I like to create outdoor rooms that are linked through pathways that encourage exploration and discovery and to transform spaces and reinvent them in new ways. I particularly love using outbuildings as living spaces. My detached garage transformed into a cottage and my tool shed into a writers retreat. 

Julie’s Outdoor Space

How long have you lived in your home?

We’ve lived in our home for a year now. We took a year to renovate before moving in and mostly began working on the outdoor spaces last summer after we moved in.

Where do you find your inspiration?

I have a definite “style.”  I’m drawn to spaces that have a romantic cottage feel. Garden magazines and Pinterest provide inspiration but I love going to cool vintage shops, finding a unique piece and then just dreaming up how I can use it in my outdoor spaces. I like repurposing objects typically used inside the home, outside, for example, mirrors, frames, sheers, unique wall pieces all add uniqueness to an outdoor space.

What’s your advice to people who want to create a more lovely outdoor space, but don’t know where to begin?

Spend time looking at magazines and cut out pictures that move or inspire you in some way. Then look for the patterns… what do these pictures have in common? That can give you some insight into your style. Choose one area of your backyard and start small. Think about what you want the purpose of the space to be and then find pieces that help you achieve that goal. Take risks. Let it reflect your personality.

Photos of Amy's space (including feature image) provided by Amy Marsh-Draper. Photos of Julie's space provided by Cullember Photography.

Comments (3)

  1. Jo butler says:

    Beautiful outdoor spaces and Julie’s talents and creativity are always inspirational.

  2. Jo butler says:

    Beautiful outdoor spaces. Both Julie and Amy are very inspiring and great ideas

  3. Marj Berkheimer says:

    I’ve had the pleasure of being in both of these lovely areas.
    And I’d love to spend more time just looking and meditating

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