Living out West, you are used to enjoying the out of doors most of the year, but probably you most appreciate being out in the Spring. The temperate climate lends itself to outdoor living, and the ability to bring in the outdoors is something that folks across the nation often envy. How to best make use of the outdoors is a matter of personal preference.
I have seen many beautiful gardens, and I am often surprised how little these gardens are used; they can be an easy focal point for many homeowners who are missing a great opportunity. On some level, folks love their interiors and their exterior grounds, but they do not see the connection or realize how easily the two areas can be integrated to a fuller extent.
Your windows are key to that integration. It is one thing to use window coverings for privacy, to protect your furnishings from the sun, to maintain a comfortable interior temperature during the cool months; but to miss the beauty of a garden or the vistas provided by nature is truly unfortunate.
Look at your windows as portals to the outside for your enjoyment-- unless you have a neighbor only a few yards away. Each window with a view that made you fall in love with your home in the first place should be exploited. Try removing heavy drapes and layers of curtains to expose your views; doing so is like a breath of fresh air after months of being closed up inside.
Many potential homebuyers will put a view above many other practical necessities of home ownership, because locations and views are nearly as important to them as kitchens and baths and in some cases more important.
There are many clever ways to protect privacy while still enjoying the outdoors; semi-sheer drapes and window shades are just two. However, consider nothing at all on those windows that afford you the prettiest views when privacy is not a factor. Another option is to use a pleated shade hidden under a cornice box or valance for those times of the day when either privacy or protection from the sun is important.
If you have to replace windows in your home, another way to enjoy your view is to keep the glass plain, that is, panes without grids, common to homes built in the 1980’s. When there is no view, these grids may add charm; but where there is a view, they are distracting and further complicate your design if your window treatments have horizontal lines, like shutters or wood blinds. The idea is to open up and love your view.
If you do not have a pretty view, create one! Use props like a trellis to frame a view outside your formerly uninteresting window. Use colorful pots with hardy perennials for structure and annuals for color. Add a simple water feature and feed it with a drip tube attached to your watering system. You will attract birds and butterflies so your newly created view is vibrant with color and song.