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Extend the Life of Your Outdoor Space

Design Ideas For Three-Season Outdoor Living

Just because the season is transitioning doesn’t mean you have to give up use of your outdoor space. The best way to make use of your outdoor space three seasons out of the year is to design it with all weather in mind. We’ve curated some of the best and most current design ideas for patios, porches, and backyard green spaces to bring your outdoors from spring, through summer, and all the way into deepest fall. 

Fire features aren’t necessarily anything new, but one fire feature that will truly outlast the summer weather is a patio fireplace. While the traditional fire pit evokes s’mores and summer soirees, the free-standing fireplace makes your outdoor space feel like a cozy living room, even as temperatures plummet. Online retailers like WoodlandDirect offer masonry outdoor fireplace kits in a range of sizes and finishes. All fireplaces can be customized to match the design and look of your particular space. 

Speaking of cozy, bringing fabrics outside is another way to transition your space from summer into fall. Indoor/outdoor rugs can help a space feel welcoming, even in cooler months, and they also help delineate individual spaces. If your outdoor space is comprised of bluestone, fieldstone, brick, or paving stones, a rug will help provide a layer of insulation on cooler nights. 

Brands like Ruggable, already known for their high-traffic rugs that can be placed in the washing machine, are a great place to look for rugged-but-beautiful outdoor textiles in all shapes and sizes. The company produces washable, power-loomed indoor/outdoor rugs made from 100 percent polypropylene. These rugs can also be placed in the washing machine when the elements have ganged up on them. 

Photo: Courtesy of Ruggable

Adding other textiles, like layered outdoor cushions and pillows, can also help transition your patio or outdoor space from warmer months to cooler months, too. Sunbrella’s outdoor pillows and cushions, which come in a host of colors, are built to last. As cooler months approach, consider adding additional pillows to your space, including oversized floor pillows (the brand makes tufted versions of these in conjunction with Mosaic, and you can buy them through Wayfair and Walmart online). Create a warm and welcoming seating area with lantern lighting, blankets, and plenty of moisture-resistant pillows and you’re on your way to the transitional space of your dreams. 

Believe it or not, plants are another key to an inspirational, three-season setup in your outdoor space. Choosing plants that have a long blooming cycle — long grasses, for instance, or yellow daisies, zinnias, Russian sage, asters, yarrow, English lavender, black-eyed Susan, coneflower, or even butterfly bush — can help extend the life of both your garden and your outdoor space. While some blooms may be short-lived, choosing perennials that bloom longer or more than once can make your space feel vibrant all the way from early spring into the heart of fall, breathing new life into the intimate space you have created.

Shop for your plants at local East End nurseries, like Gabrielsen Farms, in Jamesport; Sang Lee Farms, in Peconic; and Vanderber’s Nursery & Garden Center, in Riverhead.