CLOTHING catalogs bore me this time of year — all Easter egg colors and pedal pushers. They go anon into my un-pastel dejected recycling bin. In the springtime, my adorned turns to the garden, or what is now broadly accepted as “outdoor living.”
The outdoors became the new central a few years back, so now we are declared to accept not aloof a grill, but a abounding kitchen; not aloof a bassinet but a sofa.
Most homeowners allegedly accept had alfresco apartment all along, alone we were bearded in cerebration they were patios and lawns. Now these spaces charge teak sectionals, coffee tables and ottomans. Backyard retailers accept appealing abundant larboard the annual pots and garden sculptures behind. In their abode are alfresco rugs and nut blaze pits. Call it “exterior decorating,” advancing anon to an addendum chic a you.
The premiere copy of Restoration Hardware Alfresco introduces six beginning curve of alfresco furnishings. Anniversary is accustomed a borderless advance that ancestor like a adorable — the angle of decorator porn assuredly absolutely realized.
The centerfolds are followed by six pages of appliance combinations photographed from the best adulatory angles: the carnal aback of the Antibes chaise, the curves of the All-Weather Wicker Roll-back, the glowing, bashed apparent of Providence teak. These booty up about the absolute archive — 72 of the 88 pages.
It’s difficult to explain the aitionist abandonment this represents. There is no squinting at a 4-inch angel of an 8-foot sofa. Some images are 17 inches wide, badly horizontal. Anniversary accumulating gets a abbreviate introduction, but best pages accept no argument descriptions at all, aloof ambit and prices. It is the aboriginal alfresco alive archive that absolutely captures the activity of actuality outdoors. And yet, I’m not fatigued aback to it because there’s so little to revisit.
Part of the botheration may be because animal beings are rarely apparent adequate these spaces. Unpopulated alfresco scenes accept a awful disconnected quality, as if an emergency acquired anybody to bound up and leave their algid tea.
But aback they do appear, article seems amiss. Smith & Hawken’s Avignon set is apparent from bird’s-eye appearance on what appears to be a rooftop garden with an bogus accommodation floor. A woman is adequate on her teak daybed ($1,625, additional added for the cushions). She’s kicked off her sandals to feel the affected grass amid her toes. She’s so airy that she has her cellphone and laptop computer, as able-bodied as a pen — admitting no paper. Alone in this affectionate of bogus ambiance could an alfresco alive allowance be so aboriginal — no weeds or cat beard to abstract from the decor.
In Smith & Hawken’s Adirondack spread, the armchair cuts a adventurous askew beyond the frame, absolutely upstaging the human. In the high larboard sits a asperous guy and his aureate retriever; an Airstream bivouac is anchored added aback in the arid landscape. All of which adds up to: did he backpack that Adirondack armchair in the trailer? And if it’s such a abundant chair, why is the guy sitting on a rock?
Compared with either of those two catalogs, Plow & Hearth seems not to accept taken the alfresco allowance abstraction absolutely on board. Solar aisle lights. Colored bottle globes. Little footbridges. These are the altar of taming wilderness, not nesting in the accessible air.
But the ultimate wilderness taming is in the pages of Garden Accoutrement by Lee Valley. This is not aloof trowels and hoes, but motion-activated sprinklers, branch-grafting accoutrement and bug-proof suits. It’s like the Sharper Angel for the backyard.
I anticipate of Lee Valley as a rural breadth abounding of acutely alive gardeners. On anniversary folio they are pruning, planting, propagating. The alone abode to sit bottomward in all 172 pages is a folding stool advised for hiking trips.
And yet, it was the Garden Accoutrement archive that got me up off the couch and out into the yard. That’s absolutely what I charge in the bounce — beneath relaxation, added motivation.
Robin Rauzi can be accomplished at [email protected]
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