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a home + living guide for the post-college, pre-parenthood, quasi-adult generation

04.19.2004

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let's take it outside make an outdoor living space by Kelly Beachell Gasner | 1 2 3 4
continued from page 3

Don't let heat and humidity ruin the allure of summer nights outside. Instead, get the air moving by installing a fan or two and appreciate the feel of a sultry breeze across your bare skin. If you own your home and have a covered porch, it might be worth the investment to install overhead ceiling fans. Otherwise, a couple of strategically located standing fans with an oscillation feature can get the air moving just as effectively. Or just set out a container of cheap hand-held paper fans to cool off the old-fashioned way.

Finally, it's not the great outdoors without some plant life. Potted plants not only help to define the space, but add color, fragrance, and personality to your outdoor room. Fill big floor pots with small fruit trees or giant ferns. Hang flower baskets from the corners of a shade tent. Line a balcony rail with window boxes full of herbs. Before you buy, consider your space again. Does your covered balcony face north? Plant impatiens in every color and accent with the shade-loving plants of tropical rain forests. Have a south-facing desert patio? A succulent garden will love the hot, dry conditions. If you're allergic to bee stings, avoid the fragrant flowering plants that attract them and stick to variegated foliage plants for color. Find a good nursery or garden center in your area and get some help from a knowledgeable employee, who will guide your purchases based on the available growing conditions, your level of commitment to gardening, and your budget.

An outdoor room may be just the motivation you need to get outside and appreciate nature in all its beauty during the warmer months. Create your space now and you'll be able to focus on more important things this summer -- like refining your margarita recipe, or the sound the birds make on a bright June morning.

Kelly Beachell Gasner is a freelance lifestyles writer.  She lives in San Diego, CA.

  more articles by kelly beachell gasner: please pass the blarney: a st patrick's day dinner party | the love: a valentine's day party | the lost art of baking bread

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