Gardening can be a rewarding and relaxing activity that serves as a quiet retreat or a fun, family-friendly activity at home. Gardening also enhances any outdoor living space by adding colour, privacy, shade, and even edible plants. Adding a garden to your deck can also be incredibly helpful for pollinators, especially if you live in an urban area.
For many people, there is tremendous joy in tending to a fragile seedling or plant and watching it grow throughout the season. However, getting started as a beginner can be intimidating, and many people worry they do not have enough space to have a thriving garden.
The good news is that deck gardens are possible even if you have a small space, an awkward layout, or minimal sunlight throughout the day. There are unlimited options for flowers, plants, fruits, and vegetables that will do well in different growing conditions. You will also find an abundance of stylish pots and planters to accommodate your style, budget, and growing needs.
Below, we provide some deck gardening tips for beginners so you can start thinking through the steps for planning, planting, maintaining, and enjoying your container garden on your deck this year.
Remember to contact Cottage Culture if you need help choosing the right patio furniture to compliment your deck space and tie your design into your garden.
Every outdoor living space is unique in terms of size, layout, and hours of direct or indirect sunlight, so your gardening options will be based on those criteria. Regardless of which conditions you have available to you, there are many ways to start a garden on your deck.
The amount of space available and the hours of sunlight and shade your space receives will impact how much you can grow and what you can grow. However, with a little bit of creativity, you can easily achieve a thriving garden on a deck, patio, or balcony.
If you have a small space, consider using your vertical space or opting for planters that can hang on your deck railing. Window boxes and hanging baskets can also be incorporated into tighter areas without limiting your living space.
For shady decks that do not receive a lot of direct or indirect sunlight throughout the day, plan to select shade-loving plants and vegetables for your space. Typically, plants grown for their leaves will do fine in partial shade, while plants grown for their fruit, root, or flowers will require more consistent sunlight.
As you can see, the realities of your space and daily growing conditions are critical factors in the decisions you will make next!
Once you have evaluated your deck's size, layout, and conditions, you can consider which types of flowers, fruits, vegetables, and other plants you would like to grow.
What you choose will be a personal decision, but you may consider deck garden ideas such as:
All of these options are possible even in a small space – some may just require you to get creative and invest time in planning. Remember to consider how much light each area of your deck will receive each day and choose your plants accordingly.
Of course, you will also need to purchase garden supplies so you can start your deck garden in your new pots and planters. Potting soil, a trowel, and a hose or watering can
are the essentials for a deck garden, but you can build up your tools and gardening supplies over time.
Depending on what you are growing in planters and pots on your deck garden, you may also choose to purchase gardening shears, a bucket for clippings and weeds, gloves, a foam kneeling mat, and other tools that will help you keep your deck garden healthy.
What you ultimately need will be a matter of the types of plants you choose and whether you purchase your plants from a nursery or start seeds indoors at home. However, soil, a hand trowel, and a water source are an absolute must!
While some of your new flowers, fruit bushes, and vegetable plants may be able to stay in the container you brought them home from the nursery in, most will likely benefit from being moved to your planters or a larger pot. Be sure to pay attention to what type of conditions each plant prefers before deciding where or how to plant them.
Pre-made urn planters, window boxes, herb bundles, and hanging baskets are typically intended to stay in their original container, while younger vegetable plants and flowers need more space to reach their maturity.
A knowledgeable employee at your local nursery or garden centre will be able to help answer any questions you have about repotting and maintaining your new plants.
Planning and planting your deck garden are exciting parts of the process, but it is important to remember that your flowers, shrubs, vegetables, and fruit plants will require ongoing maintenance in order to produce for you.
Ensure you have the time to take care of regular watering, weeding, deadheading, harvesting, and treating pests. You can also expect garden cleanup and maintenance at the end of the season.
It is also important to note that container gardens tend to dry out more quickly than in-ground gardens, so neglecting them for even a week can wreak havoc on your plants. Consider asking a neighbour, friend, or family member to check on your deck garden if you will be away on vacation over the summer, particularly if there isn't any rain in the forecast while you are away.
A perfect deck garden is not complete without incorporating furniture and accessories that allow you to relax, dine, and entertain. Consider adding a dining table and chairs, patio sofas or sectionals, lounge chairs, and accessories like rugs, outdoor pillows, and baskets to elevate your deck garden.
You may also want to find a stylish storage box to tuck away your gardening tools and extra pots. We love the Grasse Storage Box for keeping our deck spaces tidy.
Starting a garden on your deck is a great way to learn a new hobby, grow your own food, beautify your space, help the pollinators, and add privacy or shade to outdoor living spaces.
Everyone can learn how to garden on their deck regardless of their space, deck layout, and sunlight considerations – including you! With a bit of planning and creativity, you will find plants that can thrive on your deck.
You'll love the variety of options available for pots and planter styles, and you are sure to find one that aligns with your planting needs, deck aesthetic, and budget.
Remember that building a deck garden can be a lot of work throughout the growing season, but you are likely to get back more from the gardening process than you put in – especially when you incorporate high-end patio furniture and accessories that add comfort and elegance to your deck garden.
If you are ready to put your deck garden plan into action, Cottage Culture is here to help! We offer a wide variety of high-quality patio furniture and accessories that will complement the aesthetic of your patio, balcony, or deck.
Browse our online collection or visit our showroom in beautiful Hensall, Ontario to see what we have available. Our passionate professionals will provide expert guidance on outdoor furniture and accessories and ensure you find what you are seeking. We also offer delivery and installation services and are proud to be a family-owned business offering a fun and personalized shopping experience.
Are you dreaming of spending this spring and summer at your cottage or in your backyard? Are you excited to eat dinner outside, entertain friends and family, or lay by the pool or lake? Is your current patio furniture up to these jobs? If not, it is definitely time to start thinking about upgrading your outdoor furniture, so you're ready to enjoy the warmer months to the max!
Buying patio furniture can be an investment, so it is important to ensure you find pieces that you will love – and that will last – for many years to come. In addition, shopping can be overwhelming when you see the abundance of styles, materials, and layouts available on the market today. For that reason, we are here to help you navigate choosing the best patio furniture for you.
Continue reading to learn more about planning your space, choosing high-quality pieces, exploring different options, and making use of the expertise of outdoor furniture retailers near you!
Like most people, your backyard, balcony, or patio has become a valued extension of your main living space. However, how you use that space is entirely based on your personal preferences and priorities. Each area is also unique and will accommodate different styles and sizes of outdoor furniture. For that reason, considering your lifestyle and the size of your space is our first tip!
It is always fun to dream up your perfect yard or balcony, but you also want to be realistic about how much outdoor furniture will fit comfortably in the space you have. You also do not want to invest in pieces that will be underutilized or take up valuable space for gardens, walkways, a fire pit, planters, or play areas. Therefore, solid planning will make a big difference when it comes time to start shopping for patio furniture perfect for you.
Consider Your Lifestyle
Perhaps you love to host lively outdoor dinner parties with friends and family. Or maybe you prefer to use your space to curl up with a good book in tranquil solitude. You may also like to have your coffee on the deck in the morning or stretch out on a lounger while you work on your tan. For you, it may even be a combination of all these fun summer activities. Therefore, how you and your family like to enjoy your outdoor living area will impact what types of patio furniture will suit your needs for entertaining, relaxing, dining, and lounging.
Consider the Size of Your Space
The size of your space will also be a significant factor in what your outdoor living area can accommodate comfortably. If you have ample room, you may easily be able to have an outdoor dining area, sectional sofas, coffee tables, lounge chairs, and more. However, if
you have a smaller space, you may prefer multi-use foldable furniture or a small bistro table with seating. Crowding your area can make your space visually overwhelming and awkward to navigate, so be sure to consider what you truly have room for before dreaming up your new outdoor oasis.
Our team can help you design the outdoor layout that fits your family’s lifestyle. Book a conversation with our patio furniture experts to get started.
It is easy to arrive at an outdoor furniture store and find many pieces that you love. However, it is also common to over or underestimate what will fit into your available space. For this reason, always measure your outdoor area and prepare a rough sketch of the layout you have in mind. Even if you change up your plan once you see the available patio furniture options at the store, your measurements will come in handy. Bring your sketch with you to make it easier to decide what will suit your space best.
Across Canada, we experience various weather conditions that can impact the longevity and functionality of patio furniture. Therefore, your weather can make a big difference in the outdoor furniture and accessories you choose for your home. If you live on the coast, you may have salty air and need to be conscious of how some patio sets will hold up. If your backyard gets full sun from dusk until dawn, you will want to look for UV-resistant materials. If your space is very open and you get heavy wind gusts, furniture made with heavier materials will be your best bet.
No matter what kind of weather you experience in your part of Canada, there is patio furniture that will withstand to harsh conditions! Experts here at Cottage Culture will be able to guide you on materials designed to withstand the elements in your region.
When shopping for patio furniture, it can be tempting to buy cheaper sets to save some money in the short run. However, it is important to remember that you get what you pay for. Bargain sets may seem like a good idea at the time, but they are also prone to degrading more quickly. On the other hand, high-quality patio furniture can last for decades when cared for correctly, making it a worthwhile investment that saves you money and time in the long run.
High-quality outdoor furniture will also be more comfortable, provide you with more customization options, and offer you better customer service.
There is an abundance of options for materials used in high-quality patio furniture. Common materials include cast aluminum, wrought aluminum, stainless steel, wicker, teak, and wrought iron, to name a few. Each material has its own benefits, and the option you select will be based mainly on your style, weather conditions, how often you plan to rearrange your furniture, and how much maintenance you are up for each year.
No matter which style and material appeals to you, talk to our patio design team and we will be able to help you narrow down what will work best for your climate and specific needs.
Before buying any outdoor furniture, be sure to visit a showroom to get a feel for what you like and don't like. Sometimes you may think a particular style is perfect until you see it in person. Unfortunately, this surprise can be incredibly disappointing when it arrives on your doorstep - and shipping unwanted furniture back can cost a pretty penny.
When visiting a showroom, don't be shy to take floor model patio furniture for a spin so you can see if the length, width, height, angles, and cushions are comfortable for you. Also, be sure to ask any questions you may have about product specifications, opportunities for customization, and maintenance requirements.
With your vision, rough layout, dimensions, knowledge of your weather conditions, and an idea of what materials may work best for you, you’ll be ready to start creating your backyard oasis in no time!
Setting up your patio in the spring is always something to look forward to because it signifies that longer days and warmer weather are coming soon. After being cooped up for the winter, many people cannot wait to pull everything out of storage and start hosting BBQs, lounging with friends, and relaxing by the pool. However, there are some important steps to take to ensure you are ready to enjoy your patio furniture, accessories, and décor to the fullest. These to-dos include cleaning your patio furniture and getting your other décor prepared for a fun-filled summer.
Below, we provide tips on cleaning your outdoor cushions, umbrellas, rugs, fire pits, and BBQs. Cleaning is all part of regular maintenance and will keep your backyard or patio looking neat and tidy while also prolonging the life of your outdoor décor.
Outdoor cushions often take the brunt of wet bathing suits, grass-stained feet, bug spray, sunscreen, sweat, and other spills, making them difficult to keep clean throughout the season. Luckily, most outdoor cushions are designed to withstand heavy use and exposure to the elements better than indoor fabrics. For that reason, they can be cleaned many times before it is time to replace them.
Depending on the state of your cushions, there are many methods for cleaning outdoor fabric - some of which use cleaning supplies you likely already have at home! For lightly soiled cushions, a quick vacuum and some spot cleaning may do that trick, while stains and stinky smells will require a more thorough wash.
For a natural cleaning solution that kills bacteria and helps remove unpleasant smells, combine ¼ cup distilled white vinegar with 4 cups of warm water. Spray the cleaning solution on your cushions and pillows and let it stand for 15 mins. Next, scrub with a soft brush, rinse them off with your hose or pressure washer, and place them upright in the sun until fully dry.
For oily stains from food, sunscreen, and bug spray, grease-cutting cleaning supplies like dish soap or laundry detergent mixed with water can help. Other tricks include placing baking soda on an oily spot to draw out greasy residue. A mixture of borax, dish soap, and water has also been known to help remove tougher stains.
Outdoor umbrellas are appreciated in the peak heat of summer and when the rain starts to drizzle at dinner, but many people often forget to clean this patio staple regularly. While "out of sight, out of mind" may apply when the umbrella is raised, dust, dirt, debris, sap, and bird droppings are undoubtedly accumulating. For this reason, regular cleaning is part of keeping your outdoor umbrella (and your dining table) looking fresh.
To clean an outdoor fabric umbrella, lay it flat on your deck or driveway. Rinse all sides with a hose or power washer to remove dirt and dust. Next, lightly scrub your umbrella with a mixture of water and liquid laundry detergent. Once you have cleaned all sections, rinse it off again and allow it to dry.
In addition to cleaning umbrella fabric, be sure to wipe down the frame. This part of your umbrella is most likely to collect germs and show fingerprints and watermarks. A simple mixture of dish soap and water will work wonders to remove grime from aluminum frames. Just be sure to use a non-abrasive cloth or sponge that will not cause scratches. For wooden frames, use only a soft, damp cloth dipped into a dish soap and water mixture. Be careful not to over saturate your frame.
Outdoor rugs are another patio accessory that can get dirty and stained quickly. Spilled wine, food crumbs, and dirt from messy paws and shoes are common, but cleaning can be pretty easy – especially if you purchased a high-quality outdoor rug built to last for many seasons.
To clean your outdoor rug, start by blotting up any wet spills with a paper towel or absorbent cleaning cloth. Next, vacuum or sweep your carpet to remove loose debris and dirt. If you are able, lift your rug, shake it out, and move it to another area so you can vacuum or sweep underneath it.
To deep clean your outdoor rug, mix a bucket of water with mild dish soap. Be sure to test your cleaning solution on a corner of your carpet or mat before applying it to the entire surface. If you do not see any discolouration after a few minutes, you should be safe to proceed. Use your hose or pressure washer to wet your rug. Next, apply a mixture of water and dish soap. Then use a soft-bristled brush or lint-free cloth to scrub.
Once your scrubbing is complete, rinse your rug with clean water until all the cleaning solution has been removed. Next, lift an end of your rug to help some of the water drain off, and then lay it out or hang it in the sun to dry.
Whether you have a masonry or metal wood-fired pit, regular cleaning can help keep it looking tidy. While you may be on top of removing wood ash after every few uses, you may not think to scrub soot and grime as often. However, doing so can improve the overall appearance of your firepit area.
To clean your firepit, remove all wood ash and dispose of it safely per your city's waste management rules. Ensure that you do not remove the ash until it is fully cooled. Place it in a metal container to ensure you do not accidentally cause a fire. Wait to dispose of it until you are absolutely sure that there are no embers sneakily burning slowly.
Once the ash is removed, spray your firepit with your hose or pressure washer. If you have a metal firepit, dump out the water. Continue this process until most of the debris has been rinsed away. Next, use a dish soap and water mixture and a soft-bristled scrub brush or cloth to scrub away stuck-on stains. Rinse again until all soapy residue is cleared away.
If you have a masonry fire pit and have trouble removing soot stains, a natural solution is to make a paste with a 1:1 baking soda and water ratio. Prepare your paste and spread it on the problem areas. Let it sit for ten minutes. Next, take a stiff-bristled brush and scrub the area. Rinse away the residue with your hose or pressure washer when you are done.
A highlight of every summer is BBQing in the backyard for friends and family, but grills are notorious for collecting gunk. To avoid BBQ grease fires and ensure you are cooking on a clean surface, regularly cleaning your grill is necessary. In addition to scraping your grilling grates before each use, plan to do a deeper dive in the spring, at least once or twice during peak grilling season, and before you tuck it away for the winter.
First and foremost, always ensure you keep an eye on your grease trap. This trap can become full quickly if you like to entertain or cook outside often in the warmer months. Neglecting to empty your grease trap will leave a nasty mess on your deck or patio if it overflows. To avoid this, remove and dump it often, and give it a quick wash with soap and water to keep it clean.
To clean all other parts of your BBQ, you will need a vacuum or shop vac, hot soapy water, a scouring brush or pad, and a cloth or rag. Start by scraping off as much of the burnt-on residue inside your grill as possible. Next, vacuum up any loose particles on the grill and within the firebox. As you remove your grill and burner hoods to gain access to the firebox, place them in a container of hot soapy water. Letting them soak can make the later steps easier.
While the grill and burner hoods soak, move on to scrubbing the BBQ lid with your dish soap and water mixture. Working from the top-down helps make the process more efficient. Next, wipe the exposed burners and scrub the firebox with your soap mixture and a scouring pad. Rinse until all debris has been washed away. Dry with a clean cloth.
Once the inside of your grill is clean, remove your burner hoods from their soak and scrub them thoroughly with a scouring pad. Rinse, dry, and place them back inside your firebox.
Now move on to scrubbing your grill with your scouring pad or wire brush. When satisfied with your work, rinse, dry, and place back inside your BBQ. After giving the outside of your BBQ a quick wipe, you'll be ready to invite some friends over and enjoy a fantastic day of great food and fun!
If you've cleaned your older outdoor décor and they are still looking like they are past their prime, it could be time to start shopping for an upgrade. Cottage Culture is here to help you pick out new accessories that will match your vision and style! We offer a wide variety of high-quality patio furniture and decor that will exude comfort, quality, and character.
Browse our patio furniture and decor online or visit our showroom in beautiful Hensall, Ontario to see our extensive collection of outdoor furniture, patio umbrellas, outdoor rugs, firepits, and so much more! You'll love dreaming up your perfect backyard while you browse all that we have to offer through our family-owned local business!
Spring and Summer 2022 is finally upon us! After spending a long winter indoors Canadians are looking forward to maximizing the outdoors in the warmer weather. Your outdoor lifestyle can take on many different looks. Do you prefer to create a relaxing outdoor sanctuary for fresh air relaxation, or intimate alfresco dining with friends on your deck, or host large parties with friends and family in your backyard. As you start to think about how you will enjoy the outdoor extension of your home, let us share some trends for 2022.
You may be updating your current outdoor space or creating a brand-new deck. Or, you may simply be looking for ways to freshen up the space that you still love; a rug to define a seating area, a new cozy chair, simple ways to increase functionality such as options to increase seats or just to decorate with a pop of colour. We hope that this list will give you a few ideas to maximize your enjoyment this Spring and Summer 2022 to help you make the outdoor space of your dreams!
We are experiencing clients looking for colour and not necessarily just to keep up with the 2022 colour of the year, although we love it!
There are a few notable colour trends this year and the approach to each is very exciting. Colour resonates in distinct ways for different people and these pandemic times are no exception. Some gravitate to uplifting, bold colours while others have found comfort in soothing neutrals. As we near the end of the pandemic (hopefully), people are embracing vibrant colours once again.
Who doesn't’t love to note annual colour trends and incorporate them into their existing decor? Here is a list of the 9 colour of the year picks that companies are predicting will rule 2022. Architectural Digest
Interestingly, Scandinavian colour trends for the year reflect a similar diverse approach with colour palettes embracing the notion that colour affects our senses and our moods. Colour is a big part of creating the renewed atmosphere you are wishing to generate. A palette can calm us down and others can spark creativity. Than Scandinavian Feeling
Scandinavian design is centered around the harmonious connection between living spaces and nature. If embracing a minimalist approach to the design of you outdoor space, you can still add a few pops of colour with outdoor cushions or other accessories or stay true to the minimalistic design and add natural hues.
The key to implementing colour is to make sure that is is not overdone. To ensure that your bright colours are making the statement that you are looking for balance them with neutrals. The neutral soothing colours of greys, browns, whites, and blacks give the vibrant colours a launching pad and help to ground them.
As our outdoor spaces become more a reflection of our indoor, we are seeing spaces more clearly defined to create comfortable and welcoming vibes. Colour is one way to define a space and is being combined with the desire for contrasting colour splashes.
The Millboard Company notes that they “are beginning to see examples of choosing decking boards in contrasting colors to draw attention to a focal point, such as an outdoor bar or an inviting garden room”
A new outdoor rug made from high quality textiles can change the look of a space while defining an area, whether it be a dining table, lounge space or even a kids play area. A rug can offer a neutral backdrop to allow other coloured accessories to shine or a fun brightly coloured rug can change the whole feel of a space to brighten a mood and freshen up a space.
Planters – shades of green continue to dominate this season. Monochromatic decorherefore begs for the use of simple plantings in various shades of green in pots that offer the warm tones of terracotta, natural basket elements or warms woods and painted ceramics and what better way to add colour than beautiful florals that tie in with other accessories – tying in with natural elements is what 2022 is all about.
Planters also serve a purpose greater than their natural beauty.Planters can define spaces or set boundaries just like walls and dividers do indoors. As outdoor spaces become more and more a reflection of our indoor living spaces, this visible division of space makes an airy feel comfy and more welcoming.
The Miami palm leaf is back! We love House Beautiful’s advice “Get playful with vibrant colors, floral textiles, unique accent chairs, and painted ceramics to bring this fun trend to your backyard.” 2022’s hopeful joie de vive, is indeed displaying a stylized homage to nature. We like it paired with real rattan and outdoor synthetic styles to create a light, breezy feel. Organic materials such as light woods, paired with this bright, fun theme maintains the connection to nature but with a modern and lighthearted nod.
It’s all in the details! A quality outdoor dining table is a big investment and it should look and perform like it! This year Canadians are admiring the extravagant table frames from this year’s collections of the premium garden furniture manufacturers
When choosing your outdoor table consider how many people you will be having at your table as well as the space you have available for your outdoor eating area. Does an extend able table afford you the luxury of flexibility?Leg room is another consideration. Well placed legs make all the difference.When the legs of the table are placed in the centre of the table it is easier to squeeze in one or two more guests. A parsons-style table with a leg in each outer corner offers ample legroom but can limit seats depending on the width of your chairs.
According to Summer Living Direct modular furniture “has taken over the outdoors. Sectionals that can be easily reconfigured depending on the entertaining needs make it easy to change up the look and functionality of your space.”
Cottage Culture spotlights two such modular lines – the Villac and the Battleford. Simple, clean lines combined with comfort and versatility. Chaise lounge, Armchairs, armless lounge chairs, sectional or creative conversation areas with ample room for platters of hors’doeurves and cocktails.
Some describe it as a ’70s revival with a twist. Furniture frames with sleek contemporary silhouettes with woven synthetic wicker or real rattan to pair form and function.
Furniture with perforated patterns in resin or metal, in muted colors allow for easy cleaning, prevent pooling from spills or a rain shower and offer durable and sculptural silhouettes.
“Bohemia can be anywhere because it is not a place but a state of mind.” ‒ Arthur Ransome.
Bohemian design can mean a myriad of different things if you consider the intent to allow a person to be themselves in their many layers both figuratively and literally.Bohemian design revolves around elements from the natural world so it’s no surprise it’s a trend for outdoor spaces this year.
This fun, eclectic style is a fantastic way to express yourself in a joyous way and it really allows you to layer old and new – infusing energy into your space in a personal and stylish way.You can repurpose what you already own, giving it a free-spirited update with layers of colour and neutral textures.
Bohemian style often reflects an inspiration for travel, includes items not as traditionally expected in an outdoor environment such as mirrors, wall art and floor cushions.Mosaic tiles, ceramic pots, lanterns and rugs lend itself to this style.
The key is unique comfort and good vibes.
Never before have we relished our outdoor spaces more than we have in 2020 and 2021. We creatively found ways to take our normal day-to-day indoor activities, such as visiting with friends over a cup of coffee all the way to hosting a birthday party, outside.
“More and more people are creating outdoor spaces that extend the traditional summer season and serve as an additional room that can be used when it’s windy or raining. We want to create cozy living spaces outdoors as well.” Says Marie Berggvist, Product Manager at Brafab.
Use rattan or Synthetic Wicker for versatility.
Woven rattan for covered areas or sunrooms creates a coastal aesthetic. While synthetic wicker offers great durability for the outdoors and the elements. However, these airy styles can create more than just one look.
An added bonus, these pieces look good inside and out making them very versatile as the seasons change.
Make it right for you! Whether you are updating, renovating or creating a new outdoor space, the most important trend to take into consideration is to make it right for you?
At the end of the day everyone uses their outdoor spaces differently, we have our own personal ways to relax, entertain and even sit - taking the time to understand yours is key. Even knowing how much versatility you require should be factored in.
Think of how you intend to use your outdoor space, this will make it easier to choose the outdoor furniture that will best facilitate this. Once you have a vision of the needs your furniture must fulfill, you can address style, peppering in some of the new style trends or adding touches of your own to add the finishing touch to your space.
Make your outdoor space your own. In doing this you will be sure to end up with an outdoor oasis to relax and enjoy that is as unique as you!
With the frigid Canadian winter months firmly settled around us, some of us find this time of year less than appealing. One way to battle the winter blues is to embrace our Canadian climate and host a winter get together that offers the HYGGE experience. As I discover the concept of hygge, I’m feeling it’s as much of a mantra for seizing life’s simple moments with the people I love - in the most comfortable way possible – what’s not to love!
Hygge is a Danish term defined as:
The pleasure of simple living
A feeling that comes from the ability to make an ordinary day into an extraordinary day.
The art of building sanctuary and community by inviting closeness and awareness of what makes you feel open hearted and alive.
To create well-being through connection and warmth.
A feeling of belonging to the moment and to each other.
Celebrating every day.
Though it has been said that:
“Hygge was never meant to be translated. It was meant to be felt.” ~Tove Maren
It is pronounced hew-ga and interestingly, there is no direct English translation for this expression though it is characterized as togetherness or coziness. Hygge is a Danish way of life that spreads warmth and calm. As we shiver away in the middle of our Canadian winter, warmth and calm are feelings much needed to help us embrace the season.
Hygge is a lifestyle, a feeling and is not specific to any particular season though in Scandanavian countries that average 4 to 5 hours of daylight in the winter, it makes sense the Hygge is a big part of making winter enjoyable in that part of the world.
You may not plan to host a dinner in sub zero temperatures but that doesn’t mean you can’t use your outdoor space to celebrate the winter and shoulder seasons in your own discovery of Hygge.
We pride ourselves at Cottage Culture on embracing the outdoors as an extension of our indoor living space with quality, well and uniquely designed furniture. Not surprisingly, Scandanavian design embodies simplicity and functionality with neutral tones that provide a solid design base.
Furniture should provide a canvas for your lifestyle, and this fits with the Danish concept of Hygge where well-being and calm is the feeling is the goal. So, to with your furniture – simple design that is made well with high quality materials, natural textures and soothing hues can really elevate your outdoor experience. Choosing patio furniture to suit our varying climates can extend your enjoyment of the outdoors and your lounge space.
You shouldn’t necessarily have to buy a perfectly matching set in order to have pieces work well together. The pieces should work together to fit your needs – comfort, functionality and frankly to bring you enjoyment. Mixing textures and hues is an asset allowing you to combine various living spaces when the occasion calls for it. Synthetic rattan with painted aluminum blends modern lines with natural textures for a rich look.
Hygge is about enjoying life’s simple pleasures and if your patio furniture helps you achieve this in winter, then we say go for it! But common sense will help your furniture last longer as it weathers an extended season.
Material selection plays a big part in having furniture that can be used in all seasons:
All weather cushions that can dry quickly or lined cushions that repel moisture all together.
Storage bins with airflow to give you access to your cushions off season.
Synthetic rattan and textilene is low maintenance.
Teak is a very strong wood but it will weather, be clear when you buy of what to expect from wood – it is a natural material and will weather.
Good outdoor mats like Chilewich’s outdoor shag mat that can be used indoor and out to reduce snow from being tracked in as people use your washrooms. And, they add another layer from the cold for those sitting close to the ground.
Obviously, winter is harsh and so though you may use you furniture, it would be sensible to take care of it in the process:
Snow is heavy so don’t burden your furniture - it is a form of wear and tear and so it should be kept from extreme elements of any kind where possible – you wouldn’t leave a weight sitting on your new chair so don’t leave a pile of snow either.
Cover it up.
Make sure cushions and wood are dry before you cover it tightly or place in a storage box.
Clean fabrics before you store them away.
So, in the full hygge spirit, why not celebrate our Canadian climate by hosting an outdoor get together with friends and family off season. Here are some pointers from our Danish friends to incorporate hygge into your plans, creating lasting impressions of coziness, warmth, and calm for your guests.
After all, the Nordic people rank as the happiest in the world!
Be a present and grateful hostess. Exuding this positive mindset will be contagious, creating a wonderful atmosphere of happiness and gratitude. Learn to enjoy winter when you hate it.
Appreciate your surroundings – It’s winter - you don’t need a manicured lawn, just a backyard covered in snow! Mother nature provides the majority of the decor, you just need to add the finishing touches. You may not completely love this time of year, but you must admit it can be beautiful.
Coziness is the key so create a comfortable, warm atmosphere. Add throws on the backs of armchairs, toss pillows sheepskins randomly around your seating areas for a casual look and warmth.
Layers – its all about layers. A Norwegian friend has told me, there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing… wear wool or other natural fibres from head to toe and consider a basket of goodies for your guests - blankets, oversized mittens for layering and maybe even hot water bottle for anyone who gets a chill.
Hygge is a feeling, not a décor scheme so, keep it simple and add texture. Try to find natural materials to incorporate into your decor, wood, stones, wool, etc. and items that give you a feeling of calm and well-being.
Natural hues - stay away from jarring colours or busy designs that are distracting. Add greenery such as evergreen and cedar boughs used as centre pieces on the tables, furthering the connection to nature.
Outdoor Seating. An eclectic look with different types of seating is on trend and is perfect for an impromptu outdoor winter gathering. Don’t have enough patio chairs for all of your guests? Easily solved. Carve a bench out the snow, use cut logs or bring some of your indoor furniture outside. Don’t forget to cozy them up with some faux furs, throws and rugs. However, make sure you have enough seating around your main fire as this is where the most heat will be found (don’t forget to keep your favourite upholstered items away from sparks).
Lanterns, lamps and candles offer a feeling of relaxation and calm whether using real flame, battery operated candles, or electrical. Place them randomly around your entertaining area to create a spectacular feeling or warmth. No lanterns? No worries. Tea light candles in Mason jars are a budget-friendly option. Floor lamps like Cottage Culture’s Midway lamp radiate a beautiful shadow adding to the cozy atmosphere.
Mini/fairy lights give off a soft pleasant light without being overwhelming. Consider incorporating mini lights by finding a small branch and wind the cord around the branch, place the branch in a mason jar and you have a dry place for the battery pack for the mini lights.
Hot Beverages. Place thermoses of hot beverages around your entertaining area with paper cups to make clean up a breeze. Homemade hot chocolate with some peppermint schnapps on the side for the adults, marshmallows, and candy canes for the little ones are a sure-fire hit. Hot apple cider and chai tea are some other options to have available.
Start a fire – it’s an essential focal point for your winter outdoor get together and the hygge feelings of warmth and togetherness. When your guests arrive feeling the winter chill, the sight of a roaring fire is most welcoming. Iron Embers has an extensive selection of fire pits and accessories that will showcase your fire and help you make the most of your campfire whether you are cooking over an open flame or using your fire as a heat source.
Let food be part of the fun! Use the fire to cook an appetizer or dessert to be cooked over an open flame – interactive to boot! And, don’t forget the smores!
Simple and comforting is our suggestion. Sipping soups, BBQ kebabs, fondue and of course foods that still taste great as they cool. Why not ask your guests to each bring a dish? By making your outdoor party a potluck your guests feel like they are contributing, and it takes some stress off of you as the hostess. Prepare as much ahead of time as possible to ensure that you are able to mingle with your guests spreading hygge!
Add activities to stay warm and promote that togetherness – skating on a frozen river, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, hiking a local trail, strolling through a lit-up park, tobogganing, stargazing or a rousing game of snow football.
Disconnect – take a moment to be in the moment and encourage your guests to do the same.
Use your imagination.
The possibilities are endless when it comes to an outdoor winter party. Just remember the end goal is to create special memories bundling up and enjoying this time with your friends and family.