PSP: How involved should the homeowner be during the decorating/accessorizing process? Is there a point at which they should ‘back off’ and let the stylist do their job, or should they stay as vigilant as possible?
Richter: A homeowner needs to be very involved at the beginning of the decorating/accessorizing process. This is when a very clear direction needs to be decided upon between the client and designer. Once this has been established, a client needs to put some trust in the person they’ve hired. There should definitely be input and approval on costly items or details that are more permanent and difficult to change; however, allow the designer some creative freedom. This is empowering, and allows them to feel ownership to put together the best finished product they can for a client.
PSP: Do you have some basic rules/advice you can share specific to stylizing and decorating a backyard?
Richter: There are some very basic guidelines that can be followed when styling a backyard. First, use items and finishes that suit your lifestyle, such as patterned or textured fabrics when there are children or pets, or low-maintenance cast aluminum or resin wicker frames for furniture when you have limited free time. Second, be sure to add lighting to extend the use of the yard into the evening. Candles, lanterns, deck lighting, and string lights can all help create wonderful ambiance when used correctly. And lastly, incorporate a heat source like a firepit or an outdoor heater to stretch out the patio season.
PSP: What, if any, special considerations should you make when the backyard space includes a swimming pool and/or hot tub?
Richter: If you have a hot tub or swimming pool, you may want to take the following into consideration:
1) The finishes and fabrics you choose need to be able to withstand the chemicals used in the maintenance of your pool or tub.
2) Incorporate non-slip floor surfaces around these areas.
3) Privacy is important, so consider installing fencing, decorative screens, draperies, or plant life to help create an oasis.
PSP: What are some simple budget-friendly ways to add style to a backyard space?
Richter: You don’t have to spend a fortune to update your backyard living space. You can easily freshen it up with new accent pillows, a few big lanterns, patio lights, or an arrangement of potted or hanging plants. Also, if you have rusted metal patio furniture or weathered, beat-up wooden furniture, a simple coat of paint will make it look like a brand new piece! A cost-effective umbrella and bistro set or lounge chair can create a cozy nook in an unused portion of your yard. You could also consider adding an inexpensive DIY water feature.