Outfitting a ship may be the ultimate design challenge—every item has to fit perfectly within a limited space and be impervious to wind, rain, and sun, all while doing justice to the natural surroundings and relaxed vibe. Since setting up an outdoor space for everyone’s enjoyment presents many of the same issues, it makes sense to look to yacht layout and decor as inspiration for the task. For proof, look no further than the breezy, durable furniture collections from Sutherland and the p0lished modern textiles from its sister brand, Perennials, both of which have found a following both onboard luxury cruisers and ashore on elegant patios.
Even if you’re not kitting up a pleasure boat of your own, you might consider integrating the ingenious principles of Sutherland’s maritime designs into your outdoor space. Use our primer below to turn your backyard, patio, or balcony into a deck that will have you making waves.
On a yacht, every square inch must do its job and then some—seating doubles as storage, and a table may serve as an overflow prep space for the galley before being set for dinner. How to do all this without a cluttered look? Focus on larger pieces rendered in light colors, like this ultra-durable Rippling Water Tibetan Knot rug in a soft taupe shade. Reminiscent of sandy beaches, it can help even the smallest covered patio or apartment balcony look wider and brighter. Sometimes seating itself can afford multiple possibilities: On a boat, a luxurious Mariner 316 Swivel Tub Chair placed next to a picture window is the perfect place to curl up with a book or simply watch the waves; at home, it’s a comfortable spot for enjoying morning coffee or evening cocktails alfresco.
On most yachts, the main hangout areas—think the interior living and dining areas and the decks—are laid out in an open-plan style, meaning designers have to take a blank space and create separate, purpose-driven areas for formal dinners, late-night dance parties, luxe relaxation zones for rainy days, and beyond. If you have a large patio or backyard, this sleek Gallery Rectangular Dining Table is the perfect anchor for visually defining an area devoted to serving five-star meals, while a low Peninsula Round Coffee Table in an opposite corner can act as the focal point of an after-dinner lounge. Since both pieces have a similar aesthetic, they’ll also establish a cohesive vibe. Add a few of these chrome-legged Tucroma 316 Dining Chairs for your guests, and a backyard barbecue feels a little more like vacation.
On any given trip, guests on a yacht might take in a dozen shades of blue, from the early-morning sky to the inky ocean at midnight. Color can likewise provide a bit of nautical chic in landlocked backyards and patios. Throw pillows, for instance, look great in On the Grid fabric in Capri, a performance fabric in a pale grayish blue, while benches covered in the Cerulean shade of Hi ’n Dri faux leather serve as a durable nod to the hue of the ocean on a clear day—which will put everyone on an even keel, by land or by sea.
A sudden swell can spell disaster on a yacht without the right kinds of furniture and fabrics. With its high-quality, ultra-durable textiles that resist stains and are easy to clean, Sutherland solves for everything from salt water to sticky barbecue sauce left behind by young sailors. As a cover for outdoor dining chairs, the On the Grid fabric in Moonstone also helps minimize mess, whether you’re sailing the high seas or just hosting a group of friends on dry land.