Warm up inside the pages of landscape and garden literature and bask in the images of green grass and summer blooms. Tear sheets out or make notes of plantings you like, smart space planning, ideas for exterior paint colors or good looking outdoor furniture. Come spring you have a great reference tool to get you started on creating the outdoor room you covet. My sister-in-law and I have done this for years and are constantly referencing and adding to our library.
Inspiration doesn't have to derive from garden tomes. Vogue Magazine has sophisticated color palette combinations and New York Magazine has clever ideas for small outdoor spaces.
As a landscape designer, it's a great departure point when my client presents me with a compendium of visuals to convey their style. I can then piece together a cohesive silhouette that fits with their lifestyle, plant zone and taste.
Don't be shy. Take those tear sheets to a garden center and have the staff identify mystifying plant stock or source the outdoor fixtures Heidi and Seal have in their backyard.
Treat yourself to these resources and get started on defining your own Shangri-La:
Canadian House and Home
Garden Design Magazine
Landscape Architecture Magazine
Get the Upcoming Dirt on the psychology of public open space and if you are headed to the Olympic Games, Vancouver's abundance of greener spoils.