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Annie Huston owns Birdsall & Co. with her husband, Scott. (All photos: Kiran Herbert)

Shop Talk: Birdsall & Co.

Owner Annie Huston names five ways to spruce up your outdoor living space this summer.

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Neighborhood: Platt Park (on South Broadway’s Antique Row)

Go for: All sorts of fun pieces geared toward outdoor living (think Fornetto pizza ovens and cast stone fountains), although you’ll likely walk away with a few decorative items for inside your home as well. From gardening tools and fabulous Boulder-based Wallaroo sunhats to wall hangings and full sets of furniture, Birdsall & Co. is a store for Denverites who love to be stylish and comfortable while lounging in their backyards and don’t shy away from entertaining.

Annie Huston is originally from France, which shows in her love for certain furniture—like vivid Fermob Louisiane benches ($712 at Birdsall) or bright bistro-style patio fittings. Since taking over Birdsall three years ago with her husband, Scott, Annie has added an eclectic, feminine touch to the 28-year-old store. The pair frequented Birdsall for years prior to becoming the owners, and Huston considers the store a Denver institution. When former owner John Ludwig told the Hustons he was retiring from the business, Annie knew what needed to happen. “You can retire all you want,” she told him, “but you have to sell to us.” Together the couple also runs Columbine Designs, a 30-year-old design/build landscaping business based in Englewood. The two businesses couldn’t play better together.

We visited the store to talk with Huston about what homeowners can do to upgrade their green spaces for summer. Here are her five classy tips for creating an environment where you can relax, kick back, and, most importantly, have fun.

1. Add Water

“If you don’t already have it, you must introduce water to an outdoor space,” Huston says. “It doesn’t need to be an expansive in-ground water feature with koi fish and water lilies, although that would be most enjoyable if you have the grounds for it. Pick a water element that fits the scale of your space, and go as simple as a bird bath, a bubbling fountain, or a container water garden. You’ll never regret it.”

2. Incorporate Color

“Add color, color, color,” Huston says. “Treat yourself to the luxury of colorful perennials in planting beds or annuals in containers. Or simply choose colorful glazed containers that make a statement, even without plants. They will integrate your garden or patio and become a structural element for all seasons. Plant a lush grass or formal boxwood, then switch to pansies for the fall, and holiday greens and sugar pine cones for the winter. Your containers will be a focal point all year, especially if you use string lights for evening interest.”

3. Blur the Boundaries

“Treat your outdoor space as you would your indoor rooms,” Huston says. “Have fun decorating your exterior with furniture, end tables, area rugs, lamps, wall art, vases, and personal touches. Accessorizing creates ambience once the spaces are delineated, and you will end up being as comfortable living outside as you are indoors. Just hose everything down once in a while!”

4. Light Up the Night

“Outdoor lighting is not just for the winter holidays,” Huston says. “LED strings of lights can be used and left outside on trees year-round, and they look soft and welcoming when surrounded by leaves. Turn them on when you are in a festive mood. Make sure to add atmosphere during summer dinners with outdoor chandeliers.”

5. Pop Some Bubbly

“Share your garden,” Huston says. “Bring friends to your oasis and create memories. Host a party to celebrate the blooming of the peonies. Decorate your salad plates with nasturtium blooms. Drop a raspberry in your champagne flute and watch it fizz.”

Visit: Birdsall & Co. is located at 1540 S. Broadway; 303-722-2535

(Read more: A Crash Course in Colorado Gardening)

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