Bring the Outside In
Relaxing SightsOutdoor Pictures
Scenes from nature are poignant, particularly if you live in an urban center. Luckily, you have many options for art.
- Scour antiques or thrift stores for landscape paintings and prints, and keep your eye open for botanical prints, such as have been culled from antique books.
- Display professional photography or your own snapshots, such as a favorite outdoor spot in different seasons.
- Cut out and frame pictures from calendars or greeting cards; enlarge on a color copy machine if necessary.
- Use stencils or hire a decorative painter to create a woodland or beachy wall mural.
- Use sun-sensitive paper (available at art stores) to beautifully record the negative image of items such as leaves, twigs, and grass.
Treat every window as a frame, and choose yard plantings that compose the best view.
- Include framing vertical elements, such as a columnlike cypress tree or a diminutive dogwood tree.
- Decide on a focal point, whether that be a bench, birdbath, or hydrangea bush.
- Accent both the foreground and background with complementary plants, flowers, or shrubs.
- Keep treatments simple to maximize an outdoor view.
- In addition, consider installing a window box inside the house. Something growing on a windowsill can help you stay in touch with the outside world. Flowers, cut or growing, add color and sometimes even scent to a room. If you lack a green thumb, realistic silk plants can add a garden touch.
Being attentive to animals keeps you in touch with the rhythms of nature.
- Within a window's view, hang birdfeeders and scatter seed to attract squirrels and chipmunks.
- Where conditions permit, plant a garden to lure butterflies and dragonflies.
If you collect natural souvenirs -- driftwood, sand, rocks, seashells -- from sentimental locations or exciting vacations, put them on display.
- Stack shells and rocks, or layers of different-color dirt, in clear glass cylindrical vases. For interest, use different-size vases and stack items at various heights. Group the vases together on a mantel, side table, or bookshelf.
- Mount items inside a shadowbox frame, or create a mini-landscape beneath the glass top of a curio table.
- Don't collect natural materials? Department and home stores carry a wide selection of fountains small and large that keep a trickle of water flowing. Choose from tabletop, wall-mounted, or freestanding styles.