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Thanks to this summer’s sweltering heat wave, the patio is the place to be, and is getting an exponential amount of face time from visiting family, friends and neighbours without patios.

To prepare you for a busy season of outdoor lounging and entertaining, Western Living spoke to designers Chad Falkenberg, Alykhan Velji and Amanda Forrest to get a run-down of this year’s top patio home and decor trends on the West Coast.

falken reynolds patio
A Vancouver patio from Falken Reynolds. (Photo by Ema Peter.)

Hot Patio Trends for Summer 2015

1. Outdoor furniture that doesn’t look ‘outdoorsy’

According to Chad Falkenberg of Vancouver design firm Falken Reynolds, outdoor furniture that looks and feels like indoor furniture is one of the biggest trends gracing patios this season.

“Outdoor is really becoming more like a living room I think, especially in smaller spaces,” says Falkenberg.

Not only is the latest breed of outdoor furniture constructed well enough to stand up to the West Coast elements, but Falkenberg says these pieces (lighting, chairs and accessories) are as comfortable as their indoor counterparts, and could fit in as well indoors as out.

The Picks:


Butterfly B&B Italia Outdoor Sofa:

“When we were in Milan B and B Italia launched a new outdoor sofa—it’s really, really comfortable, it fits like an indoor sofa, it looks like an indoor sofa, but it’s for outdoor,” says Chad Falkenberg.

bend lucy
Left: Patio from Falken Reynolds featuring the Bend Lucy chairs. (Photo by Ema Peter.) Right: The Lucy chair from L.A.-based Bend in white powder-coated steel (available in Vancouver at Provide).

Lucy Chair from Bend:

“If somebody was having a dinner party and they didn’t always have dining for eight set up in their small condo, they could bring in those chairs from outside and they work perfectly.”


2. The Skinny on Planters

Mercifully, for modest urban patios everywhere, containers are starting to trend on the slim side.

“A lot of [planters], they’re 12 or 14 or 16 inches deep, so it takes up a lot of real estate on a small balcony,” says the Vancouver designer.

Skinny planters are running as small as seven-inches deep, come in different heights for everything from seasonal flowers to urban garden herbs.

The Pick:

Falkenberg recommends the skinny planters from Vancouver-based Object Outdoors for smaller urban patios. (Photo by Falken Reynolds.)
Falkenberg recommends the skinny planters from Vancouver-based Object Outdoors for smaller urban patios. (Photo by Falken Reynolds.)

Object Outdoors Troughs:

Falkenberg recommends Vancouver’s Object Outdoors planters which come in a variety of widths, heights and colours to fit any kind of city balcony.

3. Rugs on the Rise

Another feature in high demand is the al fresco rug.

“It’s something that really kind of takes it to that next level of making an outdoor space feel more indoors,” says Falkenberg.

“Because it’s a bigger item, or a larger-sized item, we’ll probably tend to go more neutral on it, and maybe in some spaces we’ll try and continue the floor colour from inside the house.”

The Pick:


Limited Edition Poolside Rug:

Falkenberg recommended using something like this Poolside Rug to match and visually connect the indoor to the outdoor space so it’s like one big living room (available in Vancouver through Inform Interiors).


4. Falling for Flamingo

Designer Amanda Forrest says the most intriguing trend this season is flamingo. “I am surprised at how popular flamingo prints have become,” she says. “I love it and I’m considering flamingo wallpaper in my laundry room.”

Calgary’s Alykhan Velji also named flamingo as a huge emerging trend.

“The thing about outdoor spaces is that you can get away with doing outrageous fabrics that really are fun and whimsical,” he says.

“You are seeing this on fabrics, but also lawn ornaments. Oh yes, flamingos are back!”

The Picks:


Premier Flamingo Print Pillow Cover:

Alykhan Velji likes this flamingo print number in hot pink (left) from RosaMariasShop on Etsy.

Flamingo Toss Cushion:

This vibrant water-colour flamingo pillow (right) from Urban Barn is a top pick from Amanda Forrest.


5. Welcome to Miami

 According to Velji, another big textile trend is palm print, which he sees popping up absolutely everywhere.

“Palm prints are bringing a little Miami into our spaces, and who doesn’t love a little Miami?”

Falken Reynolds’ Chad Falkenberg says overall, West Coast homeowners tend to err on the side of neutrals, which is natural with our grey, muted weather.

“But on the flip-side of that … it’s great to do things like toss pillows and maybe a tray, those smaller types of things in a pop of colour and that way they can do something that feels a little more fashion in terms of colour, and is a little bit more on-trend, which is fun,” says Falkenberg.

The Picks:


Palm City Toss Cushion:

Tropical, Miami-like prints are also a hit with celeb designer Amanda Forrest, who loves this Palm City Toss Cushion for its summer colour palette and relaxed beach vibe.

Tahiti Square Floor Cushion:

We can’t get enough of Gallant & Jones’ palm print cushions, chairs and stools this season.


6. Patio Rock Stars

“Concrete is in,” declares Velji. The Calgary designer says concrete is great because it adds an organic quality to the space and it’s something he’s seeing being introduced in all forms—from accessories, to fire features and even furniture.

The Picks:


Element Coffee Table:

This handmade square cement table from CB2—inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater—is an aggregate of marble, granite, stone and natural fibres and will suit indoors and out.

Sculpted Drum Side Table:

Get the concrete look without the concrete weight. West Elm used a so-called “special material” to give the Sculpted Drum the same look as concrete, but it won’t hurt half as much if you stub you toe.

7. Edgy geometrics

Add an instantly trendy feel and a healthy dose of edge factor to outdoor spaces with geometrics, recommends Forrest.

“I love to move clients out of their comfort zone with design,” she says.

And geometrics aren’t limited to textiles—try incorporating the pattern or shape with accessories like lanterns and planters.

The Picks:


Metalwork Hurricane:

These Anthropologie hurricanes add that geometric element without overdoing it.

Core Marble Planters:

Chad Falkenberg is a big fan of these sculptural, geometric marble planters made by Jean-Claude LeBlanc in Vancouver (and sold through Inform Interiors.) Why stick plants in terracotta pots when they can live in this?

8. Hot Right Now: Campfire Factor

“Fire bowls are on fire this season!” says Forrest. “The warm glow of a fire draws a crowd when entertaining.”

The Picks:


Dreamcast Fire Bowl:

This rounded fire bowl comes with a CSA-approved gas-fit burner and is available in eight different colours.


Marset FollowMe Table Lamp (Fire-free alternative):

Chad Falkenberg recommends the portable FollowMe lamp from Marset (available at Lightform in Vancouver) that you can charge up and take outside; which comes with an oak handle, LED technology and a dimmer. “Especially in an urban setting, put it on a coffee table or something like that and it almost gives you that feeling of a campfire because it’s low … you can move it around and people can gather around it,” says Falkenberg.

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Happy Patio Decorating!

Amanda xox