I was inspired to cover minimalist decor outside because of the wealth of articles I’m reading lately on Maximalism. This Maximalist style indoors is warm and lively, but we can turn it on its head to create a similar atmosphere outside, by applying a minimalist approach to furniture and accessories selections.
Neutral colours and smooth textures
A trademark of minimalist spaces is the neutral colour palette, because it’s one of the best ways to achieve a calm environment without venturing into the austere. Neutrals are used on the ground, fabrics, furnishings, and even the simple accessories. Klaussner Outdoor’s Urban Retreat Collection is neutrals exemplified.
When I think of minimalist outdoor living design, I often think of greys, beiges, and grieges for the furniture. A natural finished wood or even a well-done faux wood texture can provide that sense of natural neutrality. In minimalist decor, the textures tend to be smooth with clean lines.
Neutral hues are used so often in outdoor spaces because they’re the perfect complement to the lush outdoors. Green grass, bright annuals, and colourful perennials look even more vibrant and inviting against a calm, neutral background.
Muted colour palette
For some people, a neutral colour scheme might seem too cold or drain the space of energy. If this is the case, opt for muted hues which will allow you to explore interesting colour combinations that enhance the space.
As a jumping off point, I like to create a balance between the outdoor colours — like different shades of greenery, flora, and the home’s exterior paint and trim — and the indoor colours used in the rooms leading outside. But you’re not restricted to using the same colour palette from indoors in your outdoor space.
Materials as decor
In minimalist design, the materials are front and center, which is a great opportunity to use interesting stone or uncommon materials. Every outdoor space is unique because it’s a representation of the homeowner. While you may prefer unpainted, galvanized, corrugated metal, your neighbour may like the natural, weathered look of red oak.
Whatever your style, it’s important to limit the number of different materials in order to preserve the minimalist style. If in doubt, keep it simple.
The beauty of outdoor spaces is that you’re not restricted to “outdoor materials” like stone or concrete. I personally love working with woven wicker, driftwood, teak, and wrought iron to add interest to an outdoor living space. This driftwood and teak table is a great example of unique materials. The true beauty comes from pairing these materials with softer, inviting fabrics. Fabrics are a great way to add warmth to your minimalist outdoor decor.
Geometric shapes and patterns
Another feature of minimalist design is strong, clean lines, which is exactly why you’ll see interesting shapes and unique geometric patterns. These patterns can be intricate and detailed or bold and dynamic, but either way they add a sliver of complexity to an arrangement without detracting from the calming environment.
Minimalism is where form and shape really get to shine, and manufacturers have created some truly beautiful pieces, like this hexagon stool from Palecek. Minimalism as an interior design style began as an extreme form of abstract art; the art was often composed of simple and exaggerated geometric shapes, and this expression continues in decorating today.
I love incorporating geometric shapes and patterns into the background of a space such as the placement of pavestones or in the design of an outdoor rug. But I think you can really bring a space to life with a bold pattern designed right into a piece such as this wrought iron and stone table.
Nature as design
The best way to achieve the look you want when you’re doing a full backyard project is to introduce your landscaper and decorator. It’s important for everyone involved to have the big picture, so they can create designs that fulfill your goals.
Whether I’m working with a sprawling garden or an urban patio, I view nature as my primary design tool. Looking at the natural growth and greenery, I plot out the overall layout and orientation of the entire outdoor space. Take for example, how natural light filters through the surrounding trees. If the landscaping will introduces any changes, I need to know.