interior design gets dirty

outdoor dining in the summer
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outdoor dining in the summer
take it outside cover

by Kate Jonuska

mixing design with gardening creates beautiful results

SOME FOLKS come to gardening from the dirt up, interested first in plants, flowers and botany. Other folks, like the authors of “Take It Outside: A Guide to Designing Beautiful Spaces Just Beyond Your Door,” find their way to plants via party planning. Interior designers Mel Brasier and James DeSantis loved planning outdoor birthday parties with and for graphic designer Garrett Magee, so the trio found new careers together in landscape design bent on creating wonderful outdoor spaces for others to enjoy.

In this book, the trio’s perspective on outdoor design is, unsurprisingly, grounded in many interior-design concepts, such as starting by mapping out the functions of your outdoors, preferably with one area each to chill, gather, cook, grow (plants) and play. They embrace melding the outside and in and creating deeply layered spaces. Says DeSantis, “Some of the most beautiful homes in the world flow seamlessly between the interior and exterior and are designed with that balance foremost in mind.”

That perspective allows for unique and valuable advice that blends the best of gardening ideas with great design tips. For instance, few gardening books include entire sections on textiles, rugs and objet d’art alongside information about drainage and soil pH, but such oft-absent finishing touches create outdoor spaces you not only use but truly enjoy.

Such temporary ideas are also vital for renters or city dwellers with only concrete outdoor space, significantly widening the audience and usefulness of this gardening resource. Plus, the book’s information about container gardening as well as gardening large yards makes beautification even more accessible, regardless of your space.

So beautiful, in fact, that you might just throw a few inspirational parties of your own.