Take a cue from one of the West’s boldest designers, and turn your backyard into an exotic retreat
August 10, 2016
| Updated April 24, 2020
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“There’s something calming about being in a space that’s a little wild,” says Justina Blakeney 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.
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. Martini side table, $127.