Personalize your outdoor space in a creative way

By: Taylor Christensen | Metro | Published March 19, 2024

Shutterstock image


METRO DETROIT — As winter comes to a close, outdoor spaces are open, and people are starting to enjoy the warmer weather.

Decorating a home to fit the personality of the occupant is a common practice, and outdoor spaces are just as important.

Backyard decorating began after World War II, according to the Smithsonian website, Following World War II, people began to move to suburban developments that had their own private backyards.

People began working 40-hour work weeks and secured an increase of disposable income. The average family now had the ability to start creating their own do-it-yourself creations, resulting in personalized backyard spaces, according to the Smithsonian.

In the years following, people were looking to be different from their neighbors, and in an effort to bring more personality and comfortability to the space, many homeowners started to change up their outdoor decorating.

English Gardens Vice President of Store Operations and Merchandising Manager Dean Darin said that in the recent past, outdoor decorating included a table, chairs and an umbrella.

“Twenty years ago, a popular set was a wrought-iron metal set that wasn’t very comfortable,” he said. “Yeah, it was OK to dine on, but if you wanted to sit there for three or four hours to relax, it was not very comfortable.”

“Around 10 years ago, people started to transform their patio into more of an outdoor room rather than just a patio with a table on it,” he said.

Darin said that with new technology and furniture innovation, what once would be seen as indoor seating can now be put outside and survive the elements. All-weather wicker is a very popular look, he said, and ensures the longevity of outdoor furniture.

Around 12 years ago, Darin said, fairy gardens or miniature gardens started to become a trend to bring more whimsy to outdoor spaces.

The first fairy garden or miniature garden was created by famous British engineer, author and gardener Annette Ashberry.

Ashberry began designing “out of the ordinary” window boxes, according to the Loughborough History and Heritage Network website, Soon finding out that these tiny landscapes were a hot commodity, she began her own commercial venture in 1938.

People have been creating their own take on miniature gardens ever since.

Waterford resident Pam McCoy found that creating a fairy garden not only brought whimsy into her backyard space, but also provided a sense of peace to her as well.

“I wanted to get out of my own little head, so I slowly started purchasing a couple of items and creating my fairy garden,” she said.

Retrieving most of her items from Dollar Tree, and some from Telly’s Greenhouse in Troy, McCoy was able to escape into her own ideally created town of fairies.

“It allowed me to create and design something that was cute and whimsical,” she said. “Like I said, I have always wanted a fairy garden, and it allowed me to get into my creative side.”

English Gardens has miniature garden supplies, according to Darin, but he has noticed a downward trend in popularity over the past few years.

“Most of the miniature gardening we do today and the supplies we have is for doing it indoors,” he said.

Fairy gardens are just one way to bring creativity to the outdoor space, according to Darin. There are plenty of other types of outdoor decor that bring just as much personality.

Pottery seems to be the most popular choice Darin has seen.

“People plant annuals, or sometimes even colorful plants, palm plants, in with annuals for color,” he said. “There are also different kinds of garden stakes, accents, wind chimes and wind spinners that come in a lot of different styles.”

Incorporating fountains into a backyard space for the sound of running water, or wind chimes for that soft tinkling sound, is also popular and promotes a calm environment.

“It’s all about sight, sound and feel,” he said.

Statues are another well-liked decorative choice for homeowners. According to Darin, utilizing statues in the garden and around the patio can help accomplish a specific theme or look.

English Gardens has year-round DIY outdoor decorating programs to assist people in creating their outdoor spaces. Darin also said that the business has a landscape company that can do all the work for you.

“Many people are investing in their backyards and landscape in their front yards because it adds value to the home,” he said. “We will do a design pretty much any time of the year. We have various different levels of a do-it-yourself program to get people started on their landscaping.”