We love to talk about how life moves outdoors in the summer. The Island, including our homes and yards, glisten in the sunlight. But it’s possible to enjoy beauty and art indoors and outdoors during warmer and cooler months and sunny and rainy days. Instead of thinking of your home and yard as two separate entities, it’s possible to erase the wall between the two and create an open, cohesive and gorgeous space.
Giles Nursery in Baiting Hollow specializes in creating handmade, one-of-a-kind furniture and growing plants that can transition seamlessly from indoors to outdoors, hot to cool, rain to sun. Co-owner Rebecca Giles shared genius tips and products that will make your property a seasonless space. Get ready to enjoy dinner with a view year-round.
Furniture helps set the tone for a space. Think about the vibe you want for your entertaining areas—would you like dinner parties to feel like they’re being held in an elegant restaurant or a beach bungalow? Once you have that in mind, you can select a type and color of wood. Giles Nursery epitomizes “buy local” by stocking Maple, Oak, Walnut, Hickory, Catalpa and Cherry woods that come from Long Island trees that have been downed. For a classic look, Giles suggested Walnut. “The richness and dark color just exudes classy and elegant.” Those who wish beach days would never end can get down-by-the-sea vibes 12 months a year by opting for Catalpa, Maple or Hickory. “I associate the lightness in color with a beach-y theme.”
Preservation is Key
All of the furniture Giles Nursery builds can be used indoors or outdoors. But it’s important to take a few extra steps on any furniture that will see fun in the sun (or rain) to keep these investment pieces looking their best for years to come. Giles said the nursery often welds bases to help preserve pieces for years, but if a client wants wood on top they recommend a natural application of boiled linseed oil and a top application of butcher wax. You can find it at a local hardware store. To increase the longevity, consider a two-part Polymer Epoxy. Most flooring stores have them.
Wind chimes, paintings and colorful throw pillows are nice, but a sculpture can add a three-dimensional and at times larger-than-life accent to a space. Right now, Giles Nursery is loving sculptures that move, like a fan the Giles family recently constructed from an old air conditioning fan and lawn mower parts. Though a piece like that is best suited for outdoors, it can still be enjoyed from a living room. “Even when you’re inside looking out, you’re still experiencing the beauty of it.” Giles said the nursery can also construct smaller sculptures that would look right at home in an indoor garden. She recommended bringing specs and even photos of the space you want to put it in. “We would likely use fixed objects, like a repurposed wine bottle holder, that would look great in a contained area.”
Perennials can be enjoyed in the spring, summer and fall—deer be damned. “We specialize in deer-resistant florals.” Think Agastache, a spring/summer flower that has a licorice fragrance Giles said is “unbecoming to deer. They smell it and they brush by it, which often helps protect non-deer resistant blooms behind it.” Other good blooms for spring and summer include Russian Sage and Salvia. For a beach-y look, take a gander at some of Giles Nursery’s grasses, which are deer-resistant and indoor-friendly. Come fall, Amsonia, Chelone and Ligularia produce gorgeous foliage. Anyone with an irrigation system or a hose can plant and begin to enjoy the flowers in their spring/summer forms now. The best part about perennials? “They only need to be planted once and they’ll come back each year.” Though Giles said they’re more of an outdoorsy plant, the same thing applies to perennials as the sculptures: on cooler or rainy days, enjoy them from your window.
Sustain the Space
Be sure to water indoor plants (3 to 5 days on average) and give them sunlight. Consider getting outdoor heaters and lights to keep the party going. You can find these at big box stores, but Giles has scored some sweet finds antiquing. On a recent trip to Pennsylvania, she found an old industrial light from a chicken coop. Her husband rewired it and welded it so it could sit over the grill. “Rusted, old, wood—all those different, eclectic elements will give spaces more interest.”