Shakespearean inspiration for your outdoor spaces

1 December, 2014

Your backyard is as much a part of your living space at your home's interior, so it deserves special attention in the design department. From outdoor furniture sets to landscaping elements, you can impart a style on your yard. Of course, you have a ton of options when it comes to choosing a theme – have you seen gardening and home decor magazines lately? The trick to making a successful backyard design scheme is having a clear vision and picking details that support it. You can find inspiration in many places, even from literature! If you love the romance and drama of William Shakespeare's works, then use these tips to execute a fitting design:

Think Mediterranean
"Two houses, both alike in dignity, In fair Verona where we lay our scene," – "Romeo and Juliet"

Many of Shakespeare's plays take place in a Mediterranean setting. "Romeo and Juliet" is staged in Verona, Italy. "The Merchant of Venice" occurs in, you guessed it, Venice. "A Midsummer Night's Dream" is near Athens. So if you want your yard to be sweeter than a summer's day, then you might consider going with a Mediterranean design. This category of architecture and interior decorating takes inspiration from the landscape in this region. Blue waters, red earth and green trees all lend to the style. You'll also find Greek, Italian, Spanish, Moroccan and African elements in the design, as those countries circle the Mediterranean sea.

Design features
Mediterranean style includes more than seaside colors and local architectural inspiration – the area yields certain materials that make their way into design. As such, you should include such materials in your backyard. For instance, you'll find stone, stucco, clay tiles and wrought iron in many Mediterranean schemes. Just picture it: Your red stone-paved porch acts as a lounge space while your yard is fenced in with wrought iron. It would be a fitting spot for Juliet. 

You can also include plant life native to the Mediterranean region. Lemon trees, rosemary, lavender, succulents and Oriental grass are all common near the sea. Use these plants in your yard to invoke the feel of a romantic Mediterranean seating area where one of Shakespeare's characters might relax.

Having a stone patio, iron fence and a pergola might create the perfect romantic atmosphere, but gardening and materials only get you halfway there. Outdoor seating, lighting and decoration finishes up the look. 

Furniture: You can choose pieces that incorporate colors and materials common in Mediterranean design. For instance, Mercutio may have lounged with his friends on a chair made with metal covered in burnt orange covers – that look is very Italian. The couples from "A Midsummer Night's Dream" on the other hand, may like a light rattan wicker sofa with blue cushions, as it's more Greek-inspired.

Lighting: Warm tones define the Mediterranean/romantic look that's appropriate for a Shakespeare play about love. Lighting can help you achieve warmth in your design. Use candles, chandeliers or a fire pit to bring about the right atmosphere.

With the right design choices, your backyard can become the setting of a Shakespearean romance – we hope our tips help!