DIY Outdoor Projects Inspired by Boutique Hotels
When it comes to outdoor living, no one knows luxury like the world's finest resorts. Take a tour of award-winning hotels and let their relaxing gardens, decks and lanais inspire your own.
By: Jennifer O'Neil and Kitty O'Neil
Cabanas Are Cozy
The tranquil, seaside sunbeds at the Afro Chic Diani Beach Kenya rest on one of the most beautiful beaches in all of Africa. These inviting bungalows provide shelter from the sun with stretched canvas rooftops and pillows galore. Sheer, billowing curtains not only create privacy, they look posh and luxurious. Image courtesy Elwana Collection
Fashion a Hideaway
Craft your own private cabana by hanging white cotton sheers around your deck or balcony. Give it resort-style flair by tying them back with sunny yellow scarves. For a beachy touch, set out jars filled with sand, seashells and pillar candles.
Dramatize Your Surroundings
To heighten drama on your veranda, combine contrasting cushions that have bold patterns. Add upscale accessories like a bed scarf, sculptures or vases and a single orchid. A coffee table book makes this exterior feel a little more like a living room.
Pools Encourage Reflection
The oceanfront pool at the Montage Laguna Beach reflects the calming blue of the sky and the sea. Just the sight of the turquoise water soothes and relaxes. Imagine a carefree day sitting by the pool reading and daydreaming. Photo courtesy Montage Laguna Beach
Paint a Patio Pool
Create your own relaxation zone with a hand-painted rug inspired by a mosaic swimming pool. A plain bamboo mat takes on the color of azure waters with just a can of exterior spray paint, painted acrylic designs and a coat of clear sealant. Then pull up a chair, dive into in a good book and get away from it all.
Daybeds Are Dreamy
The Palmilla in Los Cabos, Mexico, is famous for its five-star accommodations, including private patios you may never want to leave. Spend the morning sipping coffee at your own bistro table, recline in a lounger and enjoy the view, then while away the afternoon curled up on a comfy divan loaded with colorful cushions.
Dream Up a Daybed
Improvise your own place to lounge by converting a chaise into a daybed. Lay the headrest flat, then flank the sides with all kinds of pillows. Mix and match stripes and patterns in a vibrant and trendy palette that says, "I'm on vacation."
Alfresco Dining Is on the Menu
Have a romantic dinner or drink for two with a view of the Chicago skyline at the Peninsula Hotel Chicago. With candles, cabanas and more, it's an unforgettable evening. Image courtesy Peninsula Hotels
Arrange an Affair to Remember
Defining an outdoor space can be as simple as laying out a rug and arranging a few floor pillows. Repurpose outdoor chair pads as floor seating by simply cutting off the ties. Make a low table out of a wicker trunk topped with a cloth napkin. Candles enhance the atmosphere even if your intimate setting is just the backyard.
Lighting Is Magical
Make Your Garden Glow
Whether you're decorating a grand terrace or a small side yard, lighting can make all the difference. Hang swags of cafe lights in the trees — the more strings the better — and leave them up year round like a luxury hotel. For parties or special occasions, add bright paper lanterns; battery-operated ones can be hung just about anywhere.
Happy Hour Refreshes
The hoteliers at the Peninsula Beverly Hills know how to pamper their movie star guests. And when it comes to the mini bar, "mini" just won't do. Their exclusive villa suites come with fully stocked bars that turn poolside happy hour into a glamorous Hollywood gala. Photo courtesy Peninsula Hotels
Mix Up a Mini Bar
Setting up your own Beverly Hills bar cart is as easy as mixing a martini. Simply attach casters to a side table and top it with a rattan tray secured with screws. Then stock it with wine, spirits, goblets and a cocktail shaker. Don't forget the bubbly!
A Living Wall Amazes
The Hotel Pershing Hall in Paris showcases a lush planted wall that stands more than 98 feet tall. Vertical gardens like this one allow greenery to thrive in unexpected places, transforming ordinary walls and building exteriors into extraordinary celebrations of Mother Nature. It's no wonder vertical gardens are sprouting up everywhere.
Bring a Wall to Life
While a whole living wall might be daunting even if you have a green thumb, anyone can get the effect in a snap. Use metal magazine racks as your planters. Spray-paint them, line them with coir, fill them with soil and nestle your plants inside. Place taller ones in back and trailing ones in front, then mount the planters on a wall or fence.