Design Budgeting 101: Outdoor Rooms

Professional designers know how to stretch a buck. Joan Grabel and Katie Z. Leavy share some of their best ideas for decorating an outdoor space for less.

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Grabel-color-porch Paint a pergola and other architectural elements a bright color. Add coordinating Spanish tile to one wall to bring everything together. Design by Joan Grabel.

Decorating beautifully on a budget can be challenging. We asked top designers how they stretch their clients' budgets.

Question: If a DIY decorator had only $100 to beautify an outdoor space, what would you suggest he or she buy to get the biggest bang for their buck?

Grabel-color-porch

Katie Z. Leavy, owner of Capital Design LLC, says, "A brightly colored market umbrella."

Question: What should you not buy with $100? “Tacky yard ornaments like gnomes,” Katie says.

Landscape designer Joan Grabel, owner of Park Slope Design, says, "Do not buy things that have a short life span or that do not enhance the style that you are going for, or that is small and will not be noticed."

Grabel-color-porchAdd a large planter that goes with the style of your home. Design by Joan Grabel.

Question: If a DIY decorator had $500 to beautify an outdoor space, what would you suggest he or she buy to get the biggest bang for their buck?

Joan suggests “buying three to five fabulous, large planters with large plant materials that correspond with the look you are going for. Have a theme.”

Grabel-color-porchCreate a focal-point wall in tile. This technique is especially effective when designing a Mediterranean-inspired space. Design by Joan Grabel.

With a $500 budget, Katie says, "There are some wonderful outdoor fabrics that can be made into cushions, pillows and tablecloths that will add a great splash of color to your space. Investing in a set of transitionally styled planters is smart as well," she says. "Plants can be changed out seasonally and your planters will last forever."

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