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Our top tips for creating your own backyard oasis

June 23, 2020

I'm Caireen, Owner and Principal Designer at Shift Modern Home, lover of wallpaper, tiles, gin, Formula 1 Racing and potatoes. Who's with me?

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With the need to staycation this summer, I’m sure like me, you are keen to create a beautiful outdoor space for relaxing and hanging out with family and friends – all from an acceptable distance of course!

I take the same design principles that I use for interiors and translate them to outdoor living spaces.

Here’s how you can too:

1 AREA RUG – anchor your seating area with an outdoor rug. Remember to go large – at a minimum the front legs of all your furniture should sit on the rug. Rugs are also a good way to introduce colour and pattern – I say go bold in your choices here. It is summer after all!

2. PATIO FURNITURE – I tend to work with sets of furniture outside, something I would never do inside, but it works outside to create a cohesive feel as space is typically at a premium. Often I will use a matching sofa and chair, or sofa and loveseat, but add different side chairs and contrasting coffee and side tables for a more collected feel.

3. SHADE – cantilevered umbrella’s are a great option for a seating area. They shade the area fully and keep the conversation area open. Make sure you have room for the base on your deck or patio, as they are quite large. A cool alternative is a shade sail that stays in place over the summer months hung over your seating or dining area.

4. LIGHTING – isn’t there something magical about ambient outdoor lighting? String lights are a favourite, and remind me of dining al fresco in Palm Springs. Hurricane lamps and lanterns look great clustered together on a table in different sizes, or placed around your deck or patio space. I personally love the rechargeable LED style. You may also want to consider lighting steps and pathways using motion sensor solar powered fixtures that stay in place year round.

5. ACCESSORIES – bring in your personality and style preference with outdoor accent cushions and baskets for blankets. Colour and pattern choices can be more bold than you would typically use indoors, in part because the strong daylight washes out colour.

6. PLANTS – a mix of plants and containers clustered around your deck or patio creates a lush feel, and can also double to create a private oasis. Play around with various heights and textures of your plantings to create more interest.



Here are some patio spaces that I found really inspiring in my travels around the interweb – I hope you do too!





If you follow me over on Instagram, keep an eye on my stories as I will be chatting about a few upgrades I’m making this year to make my deck more enjoyable.

Be sure to share with me how your outside oasis is shaping up.

Thanks for popping in!



If choosing your exterior paint colours for your home feels overwhelming, help is just a couple of clicks away.

SMH’s Custom Exterior Palette package takes away all the guesswork, with paint colours, accessories and lighting customized for you, giving you the confidence to create a modern looking house that you love coming home to.



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Modern, fresh design for fun, stylish people

Calgary, Alberta