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10 things gardeners and interior designers would never have in their outdoor spaces

Alyssa Towns Swantkoski   

10 things gardeners and interior designers would never have in their outdoor spaces
Certain kinds of furniture and plants can really detract from a backyard.Hannamariah/Shutterstock
  • Business Insider asked gardeners and interior designers how they decorate outdoor spaces.
  • The experts said they wouldn't have plastic flamingos, wind chimes, or indoor fabrics.

Outdoor space is a luxury. For those lucky enough to have a private yard, patio, or balcony, it can significantly increase your home's curb appeal and resale value — if you style it properly.

Business Insider asked interior designers and gardeners what features, items, and trends they'd never have in their own outdoor spaces.

Here's what they said.

Synthetic turf isn’t worth it.

Synthetic turf isn’t worth it.
You still have to clean turf to maintain it, especially if you have outdoor pets.      doublelee/Shutterstock

Turf may seem appealing for a year-round green lawn. But Lara Hermanson, a licensed landscape contractor and the principal and cofounder of Farmscape, recommends a more sustainable and natural approach to outdoor design.

"Synthetic turf grass might look like real grass but will ultimately end up in the landfill," she told BI.

The expert also said turf can trap heat in your yard and still requires extra maintenance to keep it clean, especially if you have pets.

Over-paving your yard interferes with soil moisture.

Over-paving your yard interferes with soil moisture.
Having more concrete than grass can be harmful to the local ecosystem.      Artazum/Shutterstock

Hermanson said she avoids continuous paving in outdoor spaces because it prevents soil from obtaining moisture and causes high heat.

"When we receive precious rain, it's important that the water makes it into our soil for long-term storage," she told BI. "Lots of hard, reflective surfaces heat the local environment, making it virtually uninhabitable during the daytime in summer months."

Plastic flamingos lack natural appeal.

Plastic flamingos lack natural appeal.
There are better kitschy garden decorations than plastic flamingos.      Reeva/Shutterstock

According to Alice Moszczynski, an interior designer at Planner 5D, plastic flamingos can diminish the natural beauty of your outdoor space.

"Plastic flamingos may have a kitschy charm, but they often lack the elegance and natural appeal desired in outdoor spaces," she told BI.

Invasive plant species cause too much disruption.

Invasive plant species cause too much disruption.
Japanese knotweed is an invasive plant.      Tomas Vynikal/Shutterstock

Moszczynski wouldn't introduce invasive plant species — like buckthorn, garlic mustard, or Japanese knotweed — into her outdoor space.

"As a responsible gardener, it's crucial to avoid planting species that can harm the environment and native wildlife," she told BI.

Moszczynski recommends contacting local garden centers to learn more about what plants work best in your area.

Certain outdoor accessories, like wind chimes, can be annoying.

Certain outdoor accessories, like wind chimes, can be annoying.
Wind chimes aren't great if you get a lot of storms where you live.      HannaTor/Shutterstock

When reaching for outdoor accessories, Jessica Holmes Holiday, founder and principal designer of HSH Collective Home and Design, said she always keeps local weather patterns in mind.

"We avoid noisy wind chimes or anything similar that is easy to break or get knocked over by the weather — especially in Florida," she told BI.

Fabrics made for interiors don’t belong outside.

Fabrics made for interiors don’t belong outside.
Fluffy blankets, upholstered furniture, and woven rugs don't belong outside.      Ground Picture/Shutterstock

Marisa Bettencourt, founder of North + Fair Interior Design, told BI, "I avoid fabrics primarily meant for indoor use, such as cotton, leather, or velvet."

On the other hand, fabrics like acrylic and polyester, are typically designed to withstand outdoor weather conditions.

The designer recommended using weather-resistant cushions and decorative pillows to keep them clean, mold-free, and undamaged.

Terracotta pots are a tiresome option for plants.

Terracotta pots are a tiresome option for plants.
Terracotta planters are usually heavy and hard to move.      Paul Maguire/Shutterstock

Donna Letier, gardening expert and founder and CEO of Gardenuity, said she never uses terracotta pots in her outdoor spaces.

"This might be surprising, but I would never buy anything including terracotta pots or designs with a terracotta color theme," she told BI. "The pots are heavy to move around and not the best containers for plants."

Skip the hammock — it's never as comfortable as you think.

Skip the hammock — it
It's never easy to get in and out of a hammock.      stock_studio/Shutterstock

Hammocks might look aesthetically appealing and comfortable, but according to Letier, they aren't worth the hassle.

"I don't find them that comfortable. The minute you get situated in the hammock, you think of something you forgot, and getting in and out can be challenging," she said.

Cushioned furniture isn’t practical.

Cushioned furniture isn’t practical.
You don't need a bunch of decorative pillows outside.      Ground Picture/Shutterstock

Laura Redd, interior designer at Laura Redd Interiors, doesn't keep cushioned furniture — chairs, couches, or otherwise — in uncovered outdoor areas.

"I would never put cushioned pieces of furniture out in the open air," the interior designer told BI. "They always seem to mold and mildew and stay wet when needed for seating."

She also recommended having a chest for any removable outdoor cushions to protect them from the elements.

A monoculture lawn can be problematic.

A monoculture lawn can be problematic.
Big, basic lawns don't encourage biodiversity.      romakoma/Shutterstock

Sarah Warner, Greenhouse Manager and Organic Farmer at the Case Western Reserve University Farm, keeps her garden diverse.

"Personally, I would not have an outdoor space where only one type of crop grows. By doing this, I am limiting the food supply and habitat for wildlife," she told BI. "This can also create pest and disease issues, along with supporting very little biodiversity for soil life."

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