Escape to the Patio

Transforming a small, hedge-engulfed patio into a chic, luxurious mecca was the challenge for two local pros. Interior designer Dayna Katlin and landscape artist John Lyons show how they pulled it off.

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    Linda Grasso

There used to be a big divide between indoor and outdoor furniture. But lucky for us outdoors-lovin’ Californians, not any more. These days, plush, stylish, weather-resistant pieces with colorful, textured fabrics—suitable for the swankiest of living rooms—are available everywhere. 

That was what immediately came to Dayna Katlin’s mind ( after glancing at the rarely used patio off the master bedroom at an Encino ranch house. Easily compiling a list of local resources, she envisioned a picturesque, Zen-like outdoor lounge filled with generous, woven rattan pieces. 

“I wanted to make the patio a place for breakfast, lunch, evening relaxing, a spot for a glass of wine—one person napping while the other is reading. I also wanted it dog- and kid-friendly,” Dayna remarks. The use of Sunbrella, she adds, “makes it all possible. It’s a miracle fabric. It holds up well to wet swimsuits, sun and dirt.”

Before furniture was even discussed, though, Dayna and John Lyons ( zeroed in on landscaping. They agreed: The four-foot hedge had to go. “The hedge was a little claustrophobic and too monochromatic. I wanted to create something with a lively but subtle palette of color that wouldn’t get too high,” John explains.

John headed to the pristine, plant-filled West Valley Nursery in Tarzana, selecting low shrubs that hold up well to heat. “As they grow, they’ll form a lovely tapestry of hues,” John says. For a pop of color, blue salvia was added to the foreground. 

To accent the canopy bed, John placed potted, silver-hued dwarf olive trees. “Slow-growing, the trees will reach four to six feet, depending on pot size. They can be root-pruned every few years to keep them truly dwarf.”

Dayna’s selection of pillow fabrics was key for giving the space a “playful vibe.” She chose three prints: a Missoni-style chevron, a basic stripe and one with dragonflies. “It is pretty eclectic but still visually cohesive. The combination is fun and spirited. Outdoors should not be serious,” she remarks.

And to add a touch of of whimsy, the interior designer used accessories in unconventional ways. The blue-and-white ceramic planter serves as a beverage cooler; the metal planter becomes a towel holder. “You don’t have to buy everything new to achieve this look. I’m always advising clients to look at what they already have and use it in a different way,” Dayna quips. 

Now the homeowners have an additional space offering beach-resort comfort almost year round—perfect for everything from dining to dozing. No construction necessary. Just clever ideas and unexpected choices.



Place settings and flatware 
Cost Plus World Market,
Blue-and-white ceramic pot, $175
A State of Mind
12429 Ventura Blvd. Studio City, 818-760-8330


All-weather rattan swivel rocker chairs, $1,225 each
Coffee table, $602
Canopy bed, $4,195
Patio Heaven, 310-694-7355 
Pillow fabric Duralee


Bluebird house, $258
Porcelain plant markers, $7.75 each
Aum & Garden 
13363 Ventura Blvd. Sherman Oaks, 818-788-3400


Metal French Planter (used to hold towels), $450- Aum & Garden
Monogrammed towels – Encino Dry Cleaners 16946 Ventura Blvd.  818-986-8464 


Le Cadeaux salad plate in white, $14
Le Cadeaux dinner plate in blue, $18
Le Cadeaux bowl in blue, $14
Aum & Garden


Dwarf olive tree 
‘Little Ollie’ Pittosporum 
‘Creme de Menthe’ Pittosporum
‘Wheeler’s Dwarf’ Coleonema Pulchrum 
‘Sunset Gold’ Salvia
‘Mystic Spires’ West Valley Nursery
19035 Ventura Blvd., Tarzana, 818-342-2623