Drapes define an outdoor entertaining space while adding pratical features.

Creative Ways to Hang Outdoor Drapes

by D Ann Kross

Backyard features, such as a swimming pool or gazebo, often connect to a finished patio or deck. Customized outdoor spaces provide many of the luxuries found inside a home, including fully appointed outdoor kitchens, media centers and entertainment spaces. Exposure from elements such as ultraviolet rays and thunderstorms is minimized with operable drapes to enclose the space. Your outdoor space will benefit from a dramatic fabric treatment that has more to offer than just good looks.

Keep the Fun in Function

An operable outdoor drapery treatment provides functional detailing. Apply grommets instead of pleats or rod pockets at drapery headings and install drapery panels across drapery tension wires or metal poles for attractive, low-maintenance, hand-drawn drapery. Tiebacks can define the corners and pathways and create a framing backdrop for the outdoor area. To accomplish corner tieback effects, create extra-long 6- to 8-inch-wide bands of drapery fabric, lined with crinoline, and add hook-and-loop tape to maintain its grip around large corners and fabric expanses.

Fabric is the Thing

Fade-resistant and antimicrobial features are found on certain fabrics, which extends the durable life of outdoor drapes. Marine and outdoor-use fabrics have breathable fibers, are designed to be impervious to the elements, and are available in a variety of awning-striped, solid colors and traditional patterns. They are ideal for lace-up fabric panels with sewn-in ties that mimic shoelace details to stretch lengths of fabric between two support beams or freestanding poles inserted directly into the ground. Coordinating patterns are available to extend the added durability factor to outdoor seat cushions and awnings.

Style Options

A lightweight PVC pipe frame will support outdoor drapes across a single expanse or can create a cubical-type frame that defines four walls of outside space. Use outdoor fabric to create loose rod-pocket headings on individual panels and sheer them across the PVC pipe sections to complete the cozy drapery treatment. Outdoor roller shades or tie-up adjustable shades, fabricated with outdoor fabrics, also provide needed shade in the summer and help keep the wind chill away for winter backyard gatherings.

Outdoor Lifestyles

A free-standing covered deck or gazebo with wrap-around views can be enhanced with clustered gathers of full-length fabric panels installed at the corner posts with hook-and-loop tape to create a stagelike setting. Create a matching wraparound valance with a cut-out hemline for awninglike details. Use laminated or weather-resistant fabric to minimize the effects of extended exposure. Consider blending in elements of nature, such using as a long tree branch as a curtain rod to hang tab-topped sheer panels on an outside porch.

About the Author

As an allied ASID member, D'Ann Kross co-owned and managed an Interior design business serving the greater New Orleans area for 20 years, and has been the lead designer for a major home furnishings franchise. She has published several articles as a contributing editor for "Gulf Coast Woman Magazine."

Photo Credits

  • David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images