Take It Outside

With warmer temps sweeping in for the season, it’s time to make the most of your outdoor space. Exterior designer Daniel Keeley offers tips and tricks for getting your backyard Spring-ready.

What’s an exterior designer to do with an unsightly rusty-brown deck that’s more an afterthought than an amenity? At this historic Fayetteville home, Daniel Keeley decided to turn the eyesore into a destination. “We needed to define it, shade it, give it its own appeal,” says Keeley. “We wanted it to be transitional—the house is very traditional, but we wanted to take it a little contemporary.” The first step was to coat the deck and built-in bench in a dark charcoal stain. A custom cabana gave the space dimension, and sweeping curtains added privacy and protection from the elements. In keeping with the home’s white-brick-and-black-shutter scheme, Keeley created a monochromatic palette punctuated by pops of apple green. An eclectic mix of furnishings—upholstered sofas, restaurant-style tables, and a dramatic centerpiece of a banquette—completed the space. “It’s meant to be comfortable and versatile, but still has an element of drama,” says Keeley. “I’m all about bring the indoors out. Why can’t an outdoor space be interior-worthy?”


To make his exterior spaces an extension of the home’s entertaining space, Keeley keeps the mix of furnishings and accessories eclectic and interesting—no matching sets allowed. Here, Brown Jordan sofas mix with a custom-cushioned, built-in bench. Easy-to-move cafe tables and multipurpose Chinese stools keep the space versatile and crowd-friendly. Keeley brought in indoor-worthy elements—sophisticated lighting, custom throw pillows, a flat-screen TV—to create a comfortable, inviting living space.

To create an eye-pleasing contrast to the deck’s charcoal stain, Keeley chose a mix of white planters and kept the floral palette fresh and crisp. For added interest, Keeley rounded up a mix of pots and planters—some terra cotta, some plastic—and spray-painted them with a coat of glossy white. He filled them with Majesty palms, New Guinea impatiens and asparagus fern, which is his go-to for summer planting. “It’s almost impossible to kill it,” he says.

Design Resources:

Canopy: Razorback Awning, Fayetteville

Audio/Visual: Custom Electronics, Fayetteville

Electrical Work: King Electric, Fayetteville

Furnishings, accessories and plants: Through DK Design

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