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Benefits and Uses of Artificial Plants and Flowers

Benefits and Uses of

Artificial Plants and Flowers

 

“No matter how long the winter, spring is sure to follow.”

English Proverb

 

 

We all feel the urge to get outside when the sun is shining and the days are getting longer and warmer. And with the advent of spring around us, our thoughts inevitably turn to our own gardening, whether that is crop, vegetable, herb or flower gardening, in acres of fields, large plots, back yards, or small containers.

 

Working in nature on larger scale, or decorating with plants, has become very popular recent times, since the start of the pandemic for sure, as we seek to reconnect with nature and explore its soul-nourishing impact and benefits. Many of us enjoy frequent visits to our local green houses, and sorting out the shrubs and flowers we want to plant for this season, or splitting existing plants with our gardener friends to spread the green bounty. But some of us with less green thumbs, who have trouble keeping anything green alive (I’m looking in the mirror) or with more challenging locations, like high summer heat, south-facing flower beds and patios, find our live plants require even more care, demand more time that we have, and seem to need replacing mid-season when the sun scorches them to bits, or if not replaced, leaving an undecorated space, which is not ideal.

 

And so, I’ve now discovered a little secret: professional decorators, even the famous ones, use artificial plants because they’re easy to incorporate with nature, bringing in some colour and joy into the space. Some avid flower gardeners have also shared that their live plant habit is very expensive when considering not only the plants themselves, but also the fertilizer, ground cover fabric, mulch, water, tools and time required to monitor and care for the plantings; so they too, are beginning to selectively choose artificial plants.

 

Where to start if you’ve never considered artificial plants before and are just venturing into this alternative to dressing your outdoor space? The following  are a few key tips to make artificial plants look real, and make you appear to have that proverbial green thumb!

 

  • Buy quality plants and greenery. Stay away from the dollar store or bargain bin choices. Cottage Culture is now stocking some high quality, made in Canada, artificial plants and trees in hanging baskets and big planters.
  • Keep your faux plants looking fresh and natural. Use a flower and plant UV protector to prevent discolouration or fading, also available at Cottage Culture, at the start of each season.
  • Keep your artificial plants free of dust. Wipe down the leaves and flowers every now and then. A feather duster makes this task easy.
  • Consider the shapes and patterns found in nature. Use them to create a flowing and seamless design – rocks, pebbles, wood can help create a sense of balance and harmony.
  • Add moss, real soil or rocks to the container. That will help hide any plastic-y parts.
  • Add water to a vase of plant stems or leaves. This contributes to the look of live greens. Also trim any metal bits protruding from the stems or paint with clear nail polish to prevent rust marks on the vase or container.

 

The next natural step is to consider how to incorporate artificial plants into your garden scheme or your patio, porch or balcony planter displays to add a touch of greenery and warmth to breathe new life into your outdoor environment. The following list of ideas should help spur your creativity.

 

  1. Consider the Sun and Shade Consider the amount of sun and shade hitting each side of your garden or patio, and how live plants react to those factors, allowing you to select the types of faux plants consistent with each condition, and providing more realism. For example, if you have a shady spot in your garden, you can choose fake ferns, ivy, or hostas, which are all known to thrive in low-light conditions. On the other hand, if you have a sunny spot, you can choose faux succulents, cacti, or other sun-loving plants like bougainvillea and geraniums.
  2. Mix artificial and live plants and flowers Mixing faux plants with real plants makes for a more realistic showing, whether it’s a mix of pots or a display within your garden.
  3. Captivate with Planters and Containers One of the easiest ways to incorporate faux plants allowing you to create stunning arrangements of different types of plants, which can be placed in various locations throughout your garden.
  4. Go Big on Variety A variety of faux plants in your garden can add depth and interest to your decor. Mixing different types of plants, such as flowers, succulents, tropicals and exotics and greenery, can create a vibrant and natural look. Consider using plants in different sizes, colors, and textures to create a dynamic garden display.
  5. Vertical Wall Displays This allows you to add greenery to your garden without taking up valuable ‘floor space’. A variety of materials to create your vertical display include pallets, wire mesh, and hanging planters.

  6. Hanging Garden Plant Display A hanging garden planter or basket design is a great idea to make use of the vertical space in your garden while also incorporating faux plants. You might create this look by using a hanging planter with multiple levels and filling each level with a variety of faux plants, or use a series of hanging baskets, creating a lush and full display perfect for adding color and texture to your outdoor space. These can be hung from a variety of metal garden hangers, tree branch, pergola or awning frame to create a stunning and eye-catching display.

  7. Variations of Height Varying the height of your plants creates a layered look, achieved by placing taller plants towards the back of your garden and shorter plants towards the front,  and a garden both visually appealing and unique. Repurposing an old shelving unit, tiered stand or old step ladder is a creative way to add a touch of charm to your home garden decoration. You can place a variety of fake plants on each level to create an eye-catching display. This idea is particularly useful for smaller gardens or balconies where floor space is limited. To create this look, choose different types of plants with varying heights and textures. You can place taller plants at the top of the tiered stand or ladder and shorter ones at the bottom to create a balanced display. You could also add hanging planters or add hooks to the sides of a ladder to create even more space for plants.

  8. Flowerpot Centerpiece A flower pot centerpiece is a simple and elegant way to incorporate faux plants into your garden decor. To create this look, you can use a large decorative pot and fill it with a variety of artificial garden flowers, succulents, or greenery. Then place the pot on a table or other elevated surface in your garden to create a beautiful and eye-catching centerpiece. Larger free standing urns may be employed as well, with real and faux plants sharing space, such as live dracaena with faux flowers surrounding it.

  9. Stylishly Dress Up Garden Entrances To make a grand entrance to your garden, consider adding stylish decorations at the entrance. One idea is to use a decorative arch or trellis with climbing faux plants. Other ideas include using large stately urns on either side to mark the garden entrance, or potted plants and flowers to line the pathway to the garden. You can also add decorative items like hanging plants, lanterns, or strings of twinkle lights to create an inviting and welcoming entrance.

    Use Every Corner of Your Garden When decorating your garden with faux plants, don’t be afraid to use every corner of the space, including vertical surfaces like walls and fences. You can use artificial boxwood greenery walls, hanging flower baskets, wall planters, and trellis to add interest and texture to your garden. You might also consider using artificial grass for the garden to create a border along the edge of your garden or to fill in empty spaces between real plants. This will help create a cohesive and lush look throughout your garden.

  10. Turn Your Garden into a Tropical Oasis If your vision is to create a relaxing and exotic atmosphere in your garden, consider turning it into a tropical oasis using faux plants. This can be achieved by using plants with large leaves, bright colors such as bougainvillea, and unique textures, such as palm trees, birds of paradise, or bamboo.

  11. Make Use of Garden Ornaments as a Finishing Touch To add a finishing touch to your garden decor, consider the use of decorative ornaments like statues, birdbaths, or wind chimes. These ornaments can help tie together the different elements of your garden decor and create a cohesive and polished look. You can also use ornaments to add a touch of personality to your garden by choosing items that reflect your personal style and interests. For example, if you love animals, you can use animal-themed ornaments like bird feeders or animal statues to add a playful and whimsical touch to your garden. Another option to use is artificial topiary balls or topiary animals. And to complete your artificial garden decor look, you can add accessories like lanterns, outdoor rugs, and furniture made from natural look materials like rattan or wicker.

     

 

The artificial plants and flowers which Cottage Culture stocks are very low maintenance, Canadian-made, long-lasting and come in a variety of styles and sizes, ready to add a touch of greenery and warmth to your space.

 

If you are still feeling tentative or have questions, the staff at Cottage Culture is here to help, offering free styling advice. We can also create layouts of furniture you may be considering for your outdoor space. Visit our showroom in Hensall, Ont.

 

 

Janet Baird-Jackson at 6:05 PM
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Creating your own backyard escape

Creating You own Backyard Escape

 

Where to Begin? 

These last few days of sunny, warmer weather that we have enjoyed (plus the absence of those pesky snow flurries, finally!) has us beginning to plan our summer outdoor life. I’m sure we’re not alone in dreaming of lovely summer days in the sunshine, relaxing in a comfortable chair or lounge, with an iced beverage and a good book!

 

Turning your backyard into a relaxing retreat can be a wonderful way to create a tranquil and inviting space. Wondering just how to achieve your vision? And how to ensure it looks stylish?

We all want our patio, decks and backyard areas to look like the enticing versions we see in the pages of outdoor design magazines, but often are unsure how to elevate our own spaces to a place where they look thoughtfully planned. 

 

You can create your own escape! The following series of steps may help you in your creative thinking about the transformation of your backyard into a peaceful oasis. More thoughts on  styling follow this multi-point list.

 

Plan and Design:

  • Assess the available space and consider the layout, size and any existing features.
  • Determine the purpose of your retreat. Do you want a space for dining, entertaining, gardening, quiet reading or contemplation, or a combination of activities?
  • Sketch a rough scaled layout or create a digital design to visualize the elements you want to incorporate. You might also consider working with a professional designer to create a detailed plan.

Create a Focal Point:​

  • Choose a focal point that will draw attention and create a sense of serenity. It could be a water feature like a fountain or pond, a beautiful tree, a sculpture or a seating area.
  • Organize the design so that the focal point is in a visually appealing location where it can be easily seen and enjoyed.

Define Spaces:

  • Consider dividing your backyard into different functional zones based on your needs, or how you will use the space, plus space available. For example, you could have separate areas for dining, conversation, gardening, lounging and relaxation.
  • Use hedges, fences, pergolas, lattice, or even a row of smaller evergreens in planters to create physical boundaries and provide privacy for each space.
  • If the space available is limited, consider your key priorities to help in deciding how you might create a multi-function space.

Seating and Comfort:

  • Select comfortable outdoor furniture the suits your style and the purpose of each area. Where space is limited, opt for seating which will address more than one need, such as the relaxed conversation seating/dining selection found in Cottage Culture’s Samvaro collection.
  • Opt for weather-resistant materials like sustainable teak, all-weather wicker or metal such as powder coated aluminum. Choose UV and stain resistant, all weather outdoor fabrics such as Sunbrella or Olefin, the European version of Sunbrella.
  • Provide ample seating options including chairs, benches or loungers to accommodate different preferences and activities.

Landscaping and Plantings:

  • Choose plants and flowers that promote relaxation and a calming atmosphere. Consider using aromatic herbs like lavender or plants with soft textures and soothing colours. If there is a very hot, high sun area which destroys plants, consider artificial greenery.
  • Incorporate a variety of foliage to add depth and interest to your backyard. Include a mix of trees, shrubs and groundcovers. Consider mixing artificial plants with live plants for more variety and interest.
  • Create a balance between open spaces and areas with more dense vegetation to ensure a harmonious environment.

Lighting:

  • Install appropriate outdoor lighting to add ambience and extend the useability of your backyard retreat into the evening.
  • Utilize a combination of ambient lighting such as twinkly fairy lights, strings of Edison-bulb-type lights, or lanterns, and task lighting for specific areas like pathways, tables and food areas.
  • Consider adding candle lanterns or torches for a warm inviting glow.
  • If space allows, consider a firepit for warmth and charm, as well as cooking opportunities to extend the use of your space earlier and later in the season.

Canvas Shade:

  • Consider a deck umbrella, a sun (sail) shade, or an awning, either attached to your home, or one which perhaps forms the ‘ceiling’ of a pergola, to add some necessary respite from direct sun for your company or yourself.

Permanent Shade:

  • If you find yourself using your space more than anticipated, then as time and budget permit, you may wish to consider adding a permanent shade structure - perhaps attached to your home, or a gazebo to create a focal point in your backyard.

Final Touches:

  • Add outdoor rugs, side tables and/or coffee table, a footstool or two, cushions, and throws to enhance comfort and create a cozy ambience.
  • Layer in other personal touches such as storage baskets, wall art, outdoor speakers and tabletop accessories to truly make the space your own.

Thoughts on Style 

Considering Your Budget

A stylish outdoor space doesn’t necessarily require a large budget, and it truly is all about the styling! Timelessness never goes out of style, and there’s nothing better for the budget than that!

 

While it may be tempting to try to save money on the seemingly more utilitarian parts of a project, it’s something you can live to regret. To borrow a fashionista’s way of justifying a bigger spend, you have to consider the cost per use. Selecting well made, clean-lined, architectural outdoor furniture in neutral shades will ensure a classic, comfortable look that will last for years.

 

Alternatively, you might consider outdoor furniture that doesn’t look like outdoor furniture, but rather, pieces that could be chic enough to be brought indoors for the winter season, providing more use throughout the year for your initial investment.

 

Or if you are looking for a slight reinvigoration while keeping your existing well-loved furniture, you can freshen up your existing layout with a statement piece or two. Doing so would be to adopt the Scandinavian aesthetic, which leans into styling with a fabulous eclectic mix that is unexpected but perfectly designed.

 

Another approach, particularly if undertaking a lot of landscaping, whether hardscaping and/or gardening in addition to adding or updating furniture, is to start small. Choose that portion of your overall plan which is your priority area and work at it over time, providing an even greater sense of accomplishment when complete.

 

Any of these options provides you with an enduring investment certain to bring a lifetime of enjoyment and the timeless aesthetic you want. Then all you require if you wish to freshen the look over time is to change up the pillows or throws, not replace all the furniture.

Choosing a Style

In choosing a style, your outdoor furniture choices will reflect your personal style and taste, whether teak frame, all-weather wicker or powder-coated aluminum with either all-weather cushions or mesh sling styles. Or you might choose furniture that mimics the style and design of the décor within your home for a truly cohesive look.

 

If you are shopping for new furniture, the Scandinavian design outdoor furniture at Cottage Culture, with its beautiful, clean lines, minimalism, functionality and neutral, monochromatic colours which harmonize with the outdoors, fits this classic design aesthetic.  This furniture provides the timelessness and longevity of a look you will enjoy for many years to come.

 

Organic and natural materials often take pride of place in Scandinavian design, reflecting the Scandinavian and Nordic countries relationship to nature. Wood, lightened to fit with a neutral color palette, stone, cotton, and wool feature heavily in Scandinavian design, as do plants.

 

This clean but warm theme, alongside the calming nature of a large, light-filled space without any clutter, is partly why Scandinavian design is so popular. Don’t you already feel more calm and relaxed, and breathing more deeply, as you read this?

 

A Few Other Budget conscious Style Tricks

Use a tray to display

A styling trick is to group items together on a tray; examples would be on a footstool with books and candles, or a side table with lantern and coaster for your iced tea. This strategy makes a space feel more considered and adds another layer of texture and colour too!

 

Add a pop of red

A flash of red in your exterior does for your space what a good red lip does for your outfit (Our 99-year old mother swears by her red lipstick, and who’s to argue with her?) – it delivers a good dose of dopamine, while remaining classic. As such, it’s a standard designer trick – though you might not have consciously noticed.  That pop of red elevates a space by adding an unexpected and contrasting element, allowing the eye to rest on one area or one piece in the space. Having a statement red accessory can break up a space and stop it from feeling too ‘put-together’. If looking for ideas, you could paint a back door red, or for a smaller change, consider accessorizing with a red footstool or candlesticks. You might also consider using live plants in bright bold reds to provide dimension and contrast, whether in planters, hangings baskets or plantings in your garden. A few fabulous choices include ranunculus, lipstick plants, or easy-care plants such as azaleas available in bold red colours or geraniums.

 

Save on cushions and throws

Breathe some fresh newness into your rooms with the addition of some throws and toss cushions, whether in muted Scandi tones, brighter splashes of colour or some pattern.

 

Cottage Culture has an assortment of Pokoloko throws currently on sale, and all-weather cushions which will add freshness to your interior and can move outside as the weather warms up. The all-weather fabric is easy clean, a handy feature with kids, pets and parties!

 

If you are still feeling tentative or have questions the staff at Cottage Culture is here to help, offering free styling advice and layouts of the furniture for your outdoor space. Visit our showroom in Hensall, Ont. to sit in and get a feel for your new patio furniture before you make your purchase. With free delivery (within an hour distance from Hensall) and installation our goal is to make it as easy as possible for you to enjoy your personal outdoor retreat!

Janet Baird-Jackson at 2:50 PM
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Planning for Summer Entertaining in Winter

Planning for Summer Entertaining in Winter

Designing your dream outdoor patio is an exhilarating journey of creativity. Envisioning the perfect oasis for relaxation, entertainment, and connection with nature, it really is wonderful thing to think about on a cold, grey, winter day. Picture a sprawling space seamlessly blending with the natural surroundings, where every element is meticulously curated to evoke a sense of tranquility and luxury. The design begins with the layout, carefully crafted to optimize functionality and flow, with designated areas for dining, lounging, and gathering around a cozy fire pit. Lush greenery and vibrant flowers cascade from elegant planters, adding layers of texture and color to the landscape. The focal point of the patio is a stylish pergola draped with billowing curtains, providing shade and intimacy, while twinkling string lights create a magical ambiance as the sun sets. Luxurious outdoor furniture upholstered in sumptuous fabrics beckons you to sink into its plush cushions, while a bubbling fountain serenades with its soothing melody. Every detail, from the choice of materials to the arrangement of accessories, is thoughtfully considered to elevate the outdoor experience and transform your patio into a sanctuary of serenity and sophistication. With all the details and planning that are required to design your dream outdoor patio it can seem a little overwhelming so we have put together a few tips to help with your planning.

 

Renovating your patio during the winter months can be a strategic move, as it allows you to take advantage of the off-season and potentially get better deals on materials and services. Here's a comprehensive plan for your summer patio renovations:

 

 

Define Your Goals:

 

Determine what you want to achieve with your patio renovation. Are you looking to improve functionality, aesthetics, or both? Do you want to add features like an outdoor kitchen, fire pit, or seating area? To help you define your vision snip photos out of magazines (or save pins on Pinterest) when you find a patio or backyard that inspires you. What are the elements of the photo that you are attracted to the most? Keep track of these items.

 

Budget Planning:

Establish a budget for your renovation project. Consider the costs of materials, labor, permits, and any additional features you want to incorporate. Leave some room in your budget for unexpected expenses.

 

Research and Design:

Browse online resources, magazines, and social media platforms for inspiration.
Sketch out a rough design or work with a professional designer to create a detailed plan.
Consider factors like the layout, materials, color scheme, and landscaping elements.

 

Select Materials:

Choose high-quality materials that suit your design aesthetic and climate conditions.
Research different options for flooring, paving stones, decking, outdoor furniture, lighting fixtures, and decorative elements.
Consider factors like durability, maintenance requirements, and sustainability.

 

Hire Contractors:

Research and interview contractors or landscapers with experience in patio renovations.
Check references, licenses, and insurance to ensure you're working with reputable professionals.
Get multiple quotes and compare them based on cost, timeline, and services offered.

 

Obtain Permits:

Check local building codes and regulations to determine if you need permits for your renovation project.
Apply for permits well in advance to avoid delays in the construction process.

 

Order Materials:

Once you've finalized your design and selected materials, place orders for everything you'll need for the renovation.
Consider lead times for delivery and factor them into your project timeline.

 

Preparation:

Clear the patio area of any furniture, plants, or debris.
Arrange for any necessary utilities to be shut off or relocated temporarily.
Prepare the site for construction by leveling the ground, removing old paving, and addressing any drainage issues.

 

Construction Phase:

Work closely with your contractors to ensure the project stays on schedule and meets your expectations.
Monitor the progress of the construction and address any concerns or changes promptly.
Keep communication lines open with your contractors to avoid misunderstandings.

 

Final Touches:

Once the major construction work is complete, focus on the finishing touches. The little details are what make the most impact on your finished product.
Install lighting, outdoor furniture, planters, and any other decorative elements.
Make sure all elements of the patio are functioning correctly and meet your quality standards. For more inspiration and information we have included a few links:

 

Making Your Deck Truly Exceptional with Accessories and Decor

Scandinavian Furniture Canada: Elevate Your Cottage Retreat

10 Must-Have Furniture Pieces for Outdoor Living

 

 

Maintenance and Enjoyment:

Develop a maintenance plan to keep your newly renovated patio in top condition.
Regularly clean and inspect the patio, repair any damage, and seal surfaces as needed. Invest in quality covers to protect your furniture in the winter months. For more information and tips on covering your furniture for the winter months visit our blog - Covering your patio furniture for winter weather.


Finally, sit back, relax, and enjoy your beautifully renovated outdoor space with family and friends during the summer months.

 

 

Saving money on your patio renovaiton

Saving money on your patio renovation doesn't mean sacrificing quality or style. Here are several ways to cut costs without compromising the overall outcome:

  1. Set a Realistic Budget: Establish a clear budget from the outset and stick to it. Be sure to include a buffer for unexpected expenses.

  2. Plan Ahead: Avoid rush decisions by planning your renovation well in advance. This allows you to take advantage of sales, discounts, and off-season pricing for materials and services.

  3. DIY Where Possible: Consider tackling certain aspects of the renovation yourself, such as demolition, painting, or simple landscaping tasks. However, be honest about your skills and limitations to avoid costly mistakes.

  4. Reuse and Repurpose: Salvage and repurpose existing materials, such as pavers, bricks, or furniture, whenever possible. This reduces the need for new purchases and saves money on disposal fees.

  5. Comparison Shop: Take the time to research and compare prices for materials and services from different suppliers and contractors. Don't forget to factor in the quality and reputation of the products and professionals.

  6. Consider Alternative Materials: Explore cost-effective alternatives to high-end materials. For example, concrete can mimic the look of more expensive stone or wood decking at a fraction of the cost.

  7. Opt for Standard Sizes: Choose standard-sized materials and fixtures whenever possible, as custom or specialized items often come with a higher price tag.

  8. Minimize Structural Changes: Stick to the existing layout of your patio to avoid costly structural modifications or permits. Focus on cosmetic improvements and enhancements instead.

  9. Shop Sales and Clearance: Keep an eye out for sales, clearance events, and discounts at home improvement stores, online retailers, and local suppliers. You can often find great deals on last season's inventory or discontinued items.

  10. Negotiate with Contractors: Don't hesitate to negotiate with contractors for a better price or ask if they offer discounts for bundling services or referrals.

  11. Prioritize Needs Over Wants: Focus your budget on essential elements of your patio renovation, such as structural repairs or functional upgrades, before splurging on optional features or luxuries.

  12. Phased Approach: If your budget is limited, consider dividing your renovation into smaller phases and completing them over time as funds become available. This allows you to spread out the costs and avoid financial strain.

By implementing these strategies and being strategic with your spending, you can achieve a beautiful and functional patio renovation while staying within your budget.

Although at times it will be tiring and frustrating, the end result will be worth it  as you sip on a cool drink and soak in the serenity of your surroundings, you can't help but smile, grateful for this moment of blissful tranquility. Time seems to slow down, allowing you to fully appreciate the simple yet profound joy of being present in the here and now. In this moment, surrounded by the beauty of nature and the comfort of your newly finished patio, you feel a deep sense of peace and contentment wash over you, leaving you feeling refreshed and renewed.

 

If you are still feeling overwhelmed or have questions the staff at Cottage Culture is here to help, offering free styling advise and layouts of the furniture in your outdoor space. Visit our showroom in Hensall, Ont. to sit in and get a feel for your new patio furniture before you make your purchase. With free delivery (within an hour distance from Hensall) and installation our goal is to make it as easy as possible for you to enjoy your personal outdoor oasis!

 

Looking for more outdoor living inspiration follow us on FacebookInstagram and Pinterest!

Janet Baird-Jackson at 12:18 PM
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Canadian Winter Fire Pit Guide: Outdoor Living Essentials

Canadian Winter Fire Pit Guide: Outdoor Living Essentials

Entertaining outdoors during the winter holds a unique charm. The winter landscapes often showcase a serene and magical beauty with snow-covered surroundings and glistening frost with the natural winter scenery becoming a picturesque backdrop, adding a special touch of enchantment to outdoor events. However, as enchanting as winter landscapes may be, they are also cold. An outdoor fire pit is essential to an enhanced winter outdoor gathering for many reasons.

 

              Cozy Ambiance. The contrast of the chilly weather against the cozy warmth of the flames that emanate from the outdoor fire pit creates a relaxed and inviting atmosphere.

 

              Focal Point. A fire pit becomes the centerpiece of the outdoor setting, providing warmth and mesmerizing visual element. The dancing flames create a captivating and comforting atmosphere, encouraging guests to gather around and share stories.

 

              Functional Warmth. Winter evenings or afternoons can be chilly, but a fire pit provides functional warmth, making the outdoor space comfortable for socializing. It allows people to stay outside for longer periods without feeling the biting cold.

 

              Cooking and S’mores. Fire pits can be used for cooking, whether it’s roasting marshmallows for s’mores or preparing simple snacks. This adds an interactive and enjoyable element to the gathering, as people engage in the process of creating and sharing food.

 

              Encourage Outdoor Activities. Winter sports and activities like ice skating, sledding, or even a simple walk in the snow can be complemented by a cozy fire pit setting for relaxation afterward.

 

              Decorative Lighting. The soft glow of the fire pit, combined with other decorative lighting elements, can create a magical and enchanting outdoor space, making winter entertaining visually appealing.

 

In summary, outdoor entertaining in winter has a charm tooted in the season’s unique qualities. A fire pit enhances this experience by providing warmth, a focal point for socializing, and an opportunity for interactive activities, all while creating a cozy and inviting atmosphere in the crisp winter air.

 

Selecting the Right Fire Pit for Your Cottage

Choosing an outdoor fire pit for your outdoor space can be overwhelming as there are many options. The outdoor fire pits from Iron Embers are not only high in quality but also high in design. With each fire pit having their own unique features, we have highlighted some the different options available.

The Octagonal Cottager. Built from ¼” steel, this fire pit is made to last. The Octagonal Cottager is the perfect balance of style and function. Unique rod rings surrounding the fire pit add an eye-catching design as well as create the perfect resting spot for your cast iron frying pan. To further the outdoor cooking experience, this fire pit comes with a grill adapter giving you the option for a stainless-steel cooking grill that is adjustable to help you get the perfect temperature or the option of a BBQ plate grill with a fixed height design sturdy enough for heavy items.

The Polygon Fire Bowl. If you are looking for elegance, then look no further than the Polygon Fire Bowl from Iron Embers. Crafted with precision laser cut parts to create an eye-catching design, this fire bowl is designed to be a star at your next gathering. Available in three different sizes, there is sure to be a perfect-sized Polygon Fire Bowl to fit your outdoor space.

The Pyramid Fireplace.  This outdoor fireplace is a stunning architectural feature for your outdoor space, even when it is not in use! Designed to kick the heat out on all sides of the pyramid, keeping warm by the fire is not a problem. A large hinged door with an easy grip handle allows easy access to add fuel to your outdoor fire all while keeping it contained. All of these benefits of the Pyramid Fireplace make it our most popular outdoor fireplace.

The Modern Cube. With clean lines and modern design, the Modern Cube is a functional piece of craftmanship in your own backyard. The deep, thick sides of this fire pit radiate the heat outwards while protecting your legs from the flames.  With a variety of different sizes and a small footprint the Modern Cube Fire Pit is a popular choice for many backyard landscapes. For versatility there is the option of an additional steel flat top lid that fits perfectly on top of the fire pit when it is not use creating a stunning coffee table.

 

Safety First

Using a fire pit in the winter can be a cozy and enjoyable experience, but it’s important to prioritize safety. Here are some tips for safety using an outdoor fire pit during the winter months:

  1. Check with local regulations. Before setting up a fire pit, check with local regulation and restrictions regarding outdoor fires. Some areas may have specific rules about fire pit usage, especially during the winter months.
  2. Choose a safe location. Place the fire pit on a stable, non-flammable surface, such as concrete or gravel. Avoid placing it on wooden decks or near overhanging branches.
  3. Maintain a safe distance. Keep the fire pit at least 10 feet away from buildings, structures, trees, and any flammable materials. This helps prevent accidental fires and ensures the safety of nearby objects.
  4. Clear the area. Remove leaves, dry grass and other combustible materials from around the fire pit. This minimizes the risk of sparks igniting nearby vegetation.
  5. Use the right fuel. Use dry, seasoned firewood or manufactured fire logs. Never burn treated wood, trash, or other materials that can release harmful fumes or produce excessive sparks.
  6. Control the size of your outdoor fire. Avoid building a fire that is so too large for the fire pit. Keep the flames at a manageable height to prevent sparks form flying out and causing accidents. To help with this Iron Embers has a wide selection of spark screens available for their Canadian-made Iron Embers fire pits designed for safety and style!
  7. Monitor the weather conditions. Be aware of wind conditions. If it’s too windy, embers and sparks can be carried away, posing a fire hazard. Consider postponing the fire if conditions are unfavorable.
  8. Have a fire extinguisher or water source nearby. Keep a bucket of water, a hose, or a fire extinguisher nearby in case the fire needs to be quickly extinguished. Make sure everyone knows the location and how to use the fire extinguisher.
  9. Supervise the fire. Never leave the fire unattended, especially if there are children or pets around. Assign someone to be responsible for the fire at all times.
  10. Dress appropriately. Wear appropriate clothing for winter weather, and avoid loose or flowing garments that could catch fire. Keep a safe distance form the fire to prevent accidental burns.
  11. Extinguish the fire properly. Use water or sand to completely extinguish the fire when you are finished. Stir the ashes to ensure that no hot embers remain.

By following these safety tips, you can enjoy the warmth and ambiance of an outdoor fire in the winter while minimizing the risks associated with outdoor fires.

 

Outdoor Fire Pit Maintenance and Care

As far as maintenance of your Canadian-made outdoor fire pit, Iron Embers offers perfectly fitted covers for all of their outdoor fire pits. These covers not only help to protect your outdoor fire pit from the natural elements but also keep your fire pit dry so it is ready for you to use when you want to build your outdoor winter fire.

It is recommended that once a year you give your fire pit a good cleaning and scrap off any surface rust that may appear.  Once the surface rust is scraped off and you have removed any remaining particles apply a coat of Matte Black Touch Up Paint available from your Iron Embers provider to make your fire pit look brand new! It is important to use the specified Matte Black Touch Up Paint from your provider as this paint is a high-heat enamel paint designed for the outdoor fire pits.

As you can see, there is not a great deal of maintenance involved in caring for your Canadian-made outdoor fire pit. With just a little amount of care, your Iron Embers fire pit will be enjoyed for generations by your family.

In Conclusion

Whether we like it or not, winter is part of living in Canada and although for some of us it seems like it lasts forever, this too shall pass so why not try and enjoy it! Winter outdoor entertaining can be a unique and delightful experience, offering a chance to enjoy the crisp winter air. For more information and helpful tips on entertaining outdoors in the winter months be sure to visit the following blogs:

Hygge – The Scandinavian Lifestyle of Cozy

How to Cook Over An Open Fire

Making Fall Cottaging Cozy with Canadian Fire Pits

How To Choose An Outdoor Fire Pit For Your Space

With thoughtful planning, winter outdoor entertaining in the Canadian winters can be a joyful and memorable experience for everyone involved.

 

Angela Roth at 9:51 AM
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Scandinavian Christmas: Outdoor Cottage Décor Ideas

Scandinavian Christmas:

Outdoor Cottage Decor Ideas

Embracing the crisp wintry air, adorned with twinkling lights and joyous melodies, the holiday season gracefully dances upon our doorstep once more. Amidst the frosty embrace of December, let us gather around the hearth of togetherness and celebrate the season! Celebrating the holidays at the cottage surrounded by nature holds a unique and enchanting charm that captivates hearts and creates unforgettable memories. Integrating Scandinavian design elements into your festive outdoor winter space is easy to do and helps make your gathering cozy and memorable for your guests.

The Essence of Scandinavian Christmas Décor

Scandinavian Christmas décor is renowned for its simplicity, natural elements, and cozy yet elegant style. When extended to outdoor space, it beautifully blends with the winter landscape, creating a serene and inviting atmosphere. Here are some examples of how Scandinavian Christmas décor complements outdoor spaces:

 

Natural Elements:  Scandinavian décor often incorporates natural elements like pine cones, evergreen branches, and birch wood. Outdoors. These elements seamlessly blend with the surroundings, especially against a backdrop of snow, adding a rustic and authentic feel to the space.


Candlelight and Warmth:  Candles play a significant role in Scandinavian Christmas décor. Placing lanterns, candle holders, or string lights along pathways or on outdoor tables creates a warm and welcoming ambiance, especially during the darker winter evenings.


Simple and Elegant Design:  Scandinavian décor embraces simplicity and minimalism. Using simple yet elegant ornaments, such as wooden decorations, straw ornaments, or minimalist wreaths on doors and fences, brings a touch of sophistication to outdoor spaces without overwhelming the natural beauty.


Hygge-Inspired Coziness: The concept of ‘hygge’ which embodies coziness and comfort, is central to Scandinavian culture. Adding soft blankets, fur throws, or comfortable seating around a fire pit or outdoor seating area encourages people to gather, relax and enjoy the winter landscape.


Red and White accents: Traditional Scandinavian colours for Christmas are often red and white. Integrating these colours through textiles like cushions, tablecloths, or ribbons on wreaths and garlands adds a festive touch while harmonizing with the wintery scenery.


Evergreen Decorations: Evergreen wreaths, garlands, and swags made of pine, spruce, or fir can be adorned with simple white or red ribbons, berries, or wooden ornaments. Placed on doors, fences, or outdoor structures, these decorations evoke the freshness of the season.

 

Natural Centerpieces: Decorating outdoor tables or gathering space with natural centerpieces composed of branches, pinecones, and seasonal foliage in vases or baskets adds a rustic yet charming appeal to the settling.

 

Incorporating Scandinavian Christmas décor into outdoor space revolves around embracing nature, simplicity, warmth, and creating a welcoming environment that celebrates the beauty of winter. It’s about harmonizing with the surroundings while infusing a touch of festive cheer and comfort into the outdoor setting.

 

Creating an Outdoor Winter Wonderland

Creating an outdoor festive winter wonderland with a Scandinavian vibe can transform your space into a cozy and inviting area for holiday gatherings and help make your function memorable for your guests. Here are some helpful tips to get you started:

  • Select Simple and Functional Furniture

Choose outdoor furniture that embodies Scandinavian design principles – clean lines, minimalistic style, and functionality. Opt for wooden or metal pieces in light tones to compliment the Nordic theme.
Consider wooden benches, simple chairs, or sleek tables that blend well with the natural surroundings.

  • Incorporate Cozy Textiles

Enhance the furniture with cozy textiles in neutral tones or classic Scandinavian patterns like simple stripes or checks. Use wool, alpaca or faux-wool blankets, cushions, and sheepskin throws for warmth and comfort.

  • Create a Gathering Space

Arrange the furniture in a central gathering area, such as around a fire pit or an outdoor fireplace. This focal point will encourage coziness and conversation.

Natural and Minimalist Decorations

Embrace natural elements in your decorations. Adorn the furniture and nearby areas with evergreen garlands, spuce branches, pinecones, and birchwood accents.
Incorporate minimalist and handmade decorations like simple wreaths, wooden ornaments, or straw decorations, which are characteristic of Scandinavian design.

  • Warm and Soft Lighting

Use soft and warm lighting to create a cozy atmosphere. Opt for lanterns, string lights, or candles placed in lantern holders or hurricane lamps to illuminate the space softly.

Scandinavian Colour Palette

Stick to a neutral colour palette with pops of red or green. Use whites, greys, and natural wood tones as the primary colours, adding subtle touches of traditional holiday colours sparingly.

  • Hygge-inspired Comfort

Introduce elements that evoke “hygge,” the Danish concept of coziness and contentment. Consider placing blankets in baskets or providing warm drinks like mulled wine or hot cocoa to enhance the cozy ambiance.

  • Rustic and Functional Areas

Incorporate rustic and functional accents such as wooden crates or baskets filled with firewood, adding both a decorative and practical touch to the space.

  • Natural Focal Points

If available, incorporate natural focal points like trees or bushes. Adorn them with simple lights or garlands, keeping the decoration minimalistic yet festive.

  • Weather-Resistant and Maintenance

Ensure that the outdoor furniture is weather-resistant and easy to maintain. Allow your teak furniture to complete dry before storing again indoors. Do not put any outdoor furniture, throws or blankets away again in storage damp. Allow all pieces that you use in your outdoor winter wonderland to dry completely.

 

By integrating Scandinavian design elements, natural accents, cozy textiles, and soft lighting into your outdoor space, you can create a serene and inviting festive winter wonderland that captures the essence of Nordic charm and warmth.

Lighting up your Outdoor Cottage Retreat

Outdoor lighting can not be overlooked, even in the daytime. String lights around the main area that you will be gathering is a must, even during the daytime the winter skies in Canada are more grey than blue, so better to be prepared and have the string lights hung and ready to go for when guests arrive.

 

Twinkle lights in nearby shrubs, bushes and trees create a depth to your outdoor setting adding to the magic.  Keep in mind these shrubs, bushes and trees don’t all have to be evergreens to adorn them with strings of twinkle lights, placing these lights on bare branches also gives a special ambiance.

 

Another form of lighting to add to your Scandinavian Christmas outdoor cottage retreat are lanterns. Place the candle-filled lanterns on steps, by chairs or on tables to add a feeling of warmth to the outdoor space (they will not give off enough heat to warm a person, but the glow is sometimes all you need to feel warm!). Grouping these lanterns in small groups of three maybe with a spruce bough entwined creates a focal point in a corner if needed.

 

When using candles for outdoor use, don’t overlook the battery-operated versions.  Admittedly these are a more expensive option, when you are hosting your get-together, you won’t have to worry about the candles staying lit. Just remember to bring the candles in when you are done with them. Regular candles also work well and are a more cost-effective option.

Finishing Touches and Accessories

Throws, Sheepskins, and hot chocolate! These are the three things that you can not have too many of.  Drape throws on the backs or arms of chairs as well as pile extras in baskets. Easy access will make your guests more inclined to snuggle up and enjoy themselves.

Sheepskins on chair seats, strewn on benches or even placed on the back of chairs to help create a wind break add to the cozy factor and create a sense of warmth and hygge.

 

Hot chocolate as well as all of the extra additives at the ready make for happy guests old or young! Consider leaving out a tray filled with candy canes, marshmallows, cinnamon sticks, White chocolate chunks, butterscotch and chocolate sauce or whatever else you can think of that would make for a great hot chocolate. 

Bringing it All Together

All in all, if you keep in mind simplicity, nature and function when you are putting together your Scandinavian inspired outdoor space to entertain in you will end up with a cozy place for you and your company to make memories in!

 

Preparing for the Elements

Remember when choosing your patio furniture to use for your Outdoor Scandinavian inspired entertaining space that not all outdoor furniture is suitable for winter months.  Stay away from pieces that have deep cushion, although these are warmer to sit in, they will be cumbersome to move around and take a long time to dry.  Opt for warm blankets, throws and sheepskins to warm and soften your seating areas as these are easy to bring indoors and dry off in no time.

 

Glass-top tables are another item that we do not recommend using in your Outdoor Scandinavian inspired entertaining space as the cold temperatures are hard on glass and nobody wants to be finding pieces of broken glass in the snow!

 

For more informaion regarding Hygge and patio furniture in the winter, click on these blog posts for an interesting read!

 

Conclusion

We all know that the holiday season can be stressful, trying to make everything perfect for everyone. Be sure to take time to stop and enjoy your family and friends during this time.  It’s the little moments that will be remembered. Indulge in conversation with loved ones you haven’t seen in a long time, the rest can wait. By choosing furniture you may already have or simple wooden furniture that is easy to store, decorating simply with what nature has already provided, and having food and drinks at the ready for guests to munch on you will decrease your stress level creating a calm atmosphere for everyone to enjoy.

 

May this cherished season be a symphony of kindness, a celebration of love, and an ode to the beauty found in simple moments shared.

 

Angela Roth at 3:21 PM
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