Take a cue from one of the West’s boldest designers, and turn your backyard into an exotic retreat
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“There’s something calming about being in a space that’s a little wild,” says while standing in her Los Angeles backyard, an evergreen tangle of rose bushes, tropical plants, and jade. “You just feel a bit like—” as she takes a deep yogic breath and exhales with a satisfied aah. “It’s how I want people to feel in a space that I’ve decorated.”
A prolific designer, artist, blogger, and author (of the bestselling book The New Bohemians), Blakeney gave us her best advice for transforming a boring backyard into a lush retreat.
A rug and canopy that came with the house define the area while a pendant lamp allows lounging to go into the evening. , from $169. , $225.
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Keep seating flexible
“We move around this lightweight sectional all the time to create different arrangements for entertaining, naps, or dinners alfresco,” says Blakeney. She reupholstered the sofa’s cushions in a suzani-print fabric; pillows from her collection mix with vintage Moroccan cushions. , from $1,750. (P0401), from $179, and (P0400), from $159; Justina Blakeney for Loloi.
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Max out your greenery
Oversize ravenea and tetrapanax suggest a sense of enclosure; a philodendron dangles overhead. “Hanging plants create a lush vibe in a patio,” she says.
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Create a versatile base
The tables range in style from Moroccan to modern but share a certain chameleonic quality. “I like to pick neutral pieces so that I can switch things up with textiles and accents from season to season,” she says. in silver, $159. (tall center table), $445. in red, from $143. , $68; , from $28; and , from $28.
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Soften the landing
Blakeney layers rugs for yoga sessions as well as for her daughter to play on; it’s a move that’s aesthetically minded too—for her, the visual interest lies in the interplay among patterns. , from $1,309. , from $109.
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Let it flow
Blakeney installed French doors to connect the bedroom and patio, tying the spaces together with a gold palette. in gold, by Justina Blakeney, $165/roll. (inside), $179.
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The brass planters and shaggy pillows play against the rattan chair. “I love the look of rattan,” she says. “Even as it gets weathered over the years, it becomes more charming with age.” Zahra peacock chair, $990, and Lala stool, $195, by . , from $219, by Justina Blakeney for Loloi.
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Use plants as decor
On its own, a potted plant is just that. But when plants like these succulents and cactus (from ) are clustered, they have design presence. , from $22. , from $125, by Justina Blakeney for Selamat.