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Written by Karen Marley
Imagery by Courtesy of Nardone Home and Garden

“Surrounding yourself in a beautiful setting doesn’t stop with the indoors,” says Joseph Nardone, Interior Designer and owner of Nardone Home & Garden.
   With a magnetism and personality all their own, charismatic outdoor spaces can inspire your creativity, soothe your senses, and lure you away from life’s hustle and bustle. Just like their interior counterparts, outdoor rooms vary in size but tend to be larger spaces while nooks and corners are smaller and add definition to an overlooked or underutilized outdoor area.
   Nardone lives and designs by the mantra, “rediscover the beauty around you.” As an interior designer with an eye to the exterior, he shares his secrets for creating luscious outdoor rooms, nooks, and corners.

Depending on your landscape, creating outdoor rooms and corners can be done with existing trees or shrubs.
   “Have fun with what you have,” explains Nardone. “For example, take that huge umbrella-shaped weeping tree and turn it into a room with a natural roof. Add a circular sofa or pair of chairs. Hang a candle chandelier from the branches. Add a trio of potted plants or lanterns to soften the corners of the furniture. Now you have a room.”

An outdoor carpet is one way to define a space. But to give a space allure, you need to get a little more creative. One way is to delineate your outdoor room with borders and layers of plants. Nardone says rows of low growing evergreens provide year-round interest and formation but it’s key to include multiple rows of perennials and annuals for added texture, color, and perhaps fragrance during the warmer months.

Nardone cautions against getting carried away at the nursery and forgetting about your outdoor color scheme. Just like your living room, it’s important to accentuate your outdoor living space with continuity in colors and textures. Choose seasonal plants so they complement what you have for outdoor fabrics.
   Nardone insists, “Everything should tie together. If you have a favorite color, carry it through the blossoms to the pillows on your chaise.”
   For example, brilliant lime and chartreuse-colored pillows are perfect with summer phlox pinks or other lime-colored flowers like Lady’s Mantle, Lemon Sedum, or Limelight Hydrangea.

Just as halls and foyers lead to rooms, nothing is more welcoming than a charming pathway. If you prefer a softer look, consider creeping perennials underfoot leading to a row of dwarf blooming trees. Stone material should look as natural as possible. For color, Nardone recommends monochromatic shades of green and whites for a peaceful look, a splash of purple or blue for something more unexpected. But just like outdoor rooms, stay with the same color palette to avoid a pathway that feels too busy or unsettling.

Just as we commit to a certain style expectation on the interior, it’s important to do the same outdoors. Know your limits and resources so appearances can be maintained. Be careful not to overbuy or overplant. It’s better to plant a few interesting plants in fewer pots or carve out a special corner for two and truly enjoy the fresh air, revitalized spirit, and organic beauty that comes with spending time outside in your own captivating outdoor space.

Joseph Nardone, owner of Nardone Home & Garden, with his dog, Charlotte.

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Ever wonder how the yard of a neighbor or friend is transformed from a blank slate into an enviable resort-like setting? How do you start the process? Where do you turn?

“You don’t need decoration. You need an exquisite collection of furniture, fabrics, art, lighting, and personal effects.“