A lounge with wooden sofas and cement tables
Thomas J. Story

Modern Lounging Deck

A cluster of low teak sofas and cement-topped tables forms a central outdoor lounge.

Built of Mangaris (a dark, eco-friendly hardwood also known as red balau), the deck of this 1954 house in the Hollywood Hills spans the living room, kitchen, and master bedroom.

An outdoor kitchen with a grill and a wooden table.
Thomas J. Story

Backyard Kitchen

A tiny backyard is transformed into a spacious outdoor kitchen. The covered pavilion and custom wood- and gas-burning grills allow this couple to entertain outdoors year-round.

An outdoor walkway.
Shelley Metcalf

Welcome Home

This walkway was made with reclaimed pavers to create a vintage feel. Hanging vines and bloom-covered branches create a warm entrance.

A porch with red wooden furniture.
Laurey W. Glenn

Worthless to Wonderful

The porch is the hub of life at this house. The mix of antiques and junk-store finds creates a comfortable atmosphere.

A wooden walkway leading to a cement sitting area.
Thomas J. Story

Dream Garden

The perfect garden for entertaining can also work for quiet relaxation -- even in a small space. The designers organized the yard into zones that correspond to the home's interior: large patios for group activities, intimate spaces for relaxing.

A screened porch with yellow and white striped furniture.
Laurey W. Glenn

Perfect Porch

Porches can be enjoyed year-round in some places, especially when screening is used to keep mosquitoes at bay.

The homeowner opted to screen in the section of the porch that's adjacent to the kitchen and chose all-weather wicker furniture for this area -- two comfy sofas, a stately chair, and an ottoman that doubles as a coffee table. The cushions are covered with durable yellow-and-white striped fabric.

An open air porch overlooking the water.
Jean Allsopp

Just Hanging Out

A covered porch off the master bedroom provides a comfortable vantage point for watching boats come and go in the harbor. The interior decorator treated the private space as an open-air sitting room, complete with area rug, table lamps, and cozy seating.

When planning an outdoor room, choose materials carefully. And opt for all-weather furnishings and fabrics.

A courtyard with a fountain.
Richard Felber

Palm Beach Romance

A 15th-century Moroccan fountain sits in a dramatic apron of simulated coquina outlined with black Mexican river stones. Orange bougainvillea dresses the bay window.

A patio with blue outdoor furniture.
Jean Allsopp

A Place In the Sun

Transform the corner of a deck into a remote entertaining space with a set of table and chairs.

Decorated with cushions in aquamarine, navy, and sky blue, this seating area makes a perfect spot for an intimate sunset dinner or a quiet place to read the morning paper.

A porch with wicker chairs and an outdoor fireplace.
Van Chaplin

Outdoor Fabrics

Made from a wide variety of synthetic fibers, polyester, acrylic, and even cotton blends, outdoor fabrics are woven textiles that undergo a chemical treatment during manufacturing.

This process allows them to repel water and resist soiling and rot, while impeding mildew growth. Because these fabrics are manufactured to accomplish many of the same goals, the different textures (smooth vs. rough) and finishes (matte vs. shiny) influence a homeowner's decision.

Also, the price for different materials is a reliable indicator of its durability and longevity.

A patio with a stone fireplace and stone coffee table.

Dramatic Flair

A curving seat wall defines an 8-foot-wide elevated patio in front of this distinctive stone fireplace. (The stone is made of sedimentary clay from Arizona.)

Granite boulders edge the entrance and serve as a stationary coffee table. The fireplace is part of a stuccoed retaining wall set into a hill at the rear of the property.

A patio table set next to a grill.
Pamela Braun

Grill Tonight

Simple patio furniture makes dining alfresco easy. With nearby access to the grill in this small space, entertaining guests (and cooking for them) is simple and efficient.

A metal bench with striped pillows.
Thomas J. Story

Subtle Stripes

A metal-framed daybed accented with striped pillows sits on a small patio next to the back deck. A young espaliered fig is displayed against the dark exterior wall.

An open air porch with wicker furniture.
John O'Hagan

Outside Living Room

This porch promises year-round comfort -- just ask Reba the dog. Located at the rear of what was once a modest fishing camp, the spacious screened porch faces the lake, affording picturesque natural views.

Plush furnishings and special accessories evoke a feeling of being entirely inside. Floral pillow fabrics add color to the neutral decor.

Instead of a large floorcloth, small woven rugs are tossed about to add warmth underfoot. And a collection of candles brightens the space at sunset.

A modern garden courtyard.
Art Gray

Modern Oasis

This garden courtyard provides a welcome escape from the summer heat. Timber bamboo, which quickly grows to 35 to 40 feet, screens the perimeter.

The reflecting pool has an evaporative cooling effect as the water flows over the leading edge down to a trough just below grade.

The platform and steps off the dining area and master bedroom double as seating, turning the courtyard into a true outdoor room and an urban oasis.

A patio overlooking a swimming pool.

Patio for Poolside Living

Muted purples and gray-blues of slate tiles add texture and warmth to the terrace and fireplace of this outdoor room overlooking a lap pool.

A patio with wooden furniture and fabric drapes.
Jeff McNamara

Withdrawing Room

Teak chairs and a low ottoman/table, each cushioned in oyster-colored canvas, furnish this shady loggia.

When the sun is too bright, or when nap time calls, just untie the curtains to escape into seclusion. Easily change the look of this patio with the seasons just by adding different pillows.

A gazebo with roses and two chairs.
Roger Foley

Secret Garden

A shallow pergola, thick with roses and jasmine, shades a seating area across the pool. Incorporating these plants into your outdoor room is a great way a add fragrant ambience to the space.

A screened pavillion with a couch.
Christina Schmidhdofer

Dream Escape

This 6- x 13-foot screened pavilion occupies a wooden platform near a small pond. Gauzy curtains frame the entrance and provide privacy and bug protection when needed.

A shallow gabled roof covered with translucent fiberglass shelters the area from rain and drizzle without blocking the light.

The space is furnished with comfortable, stylish pieces, including a chair found at a flea market, an old coffee table, and an antique daybed.

A gazebo deck overlooking a lake.
Grey Crawford

Plenty of Seating

The big idea here is the "gazebo deck," with seating built into the railing. The two octagonal platforms -- one open, the other covered -- are connected by a slender bridge and stair to form an elegant box seat for a calming water view.

An outdoor room made up of a table and mosquito net walls.
Ken Gutmaker

Alfresco Dining Room

This roofless, 10-foot-square room uses translucent mosquito netting for walls. Bamboo poles slip into sleeves centered in four large flowerpots -- one at each corner -- and tie to horizontal rods supporting the netting. You can build it in a weekend.

A skinny beach house porch on the beach.
Deborah Whitlaw

On the Side

Aqua-trimmed curtains made from weather-resistant fabric frame the screen. Two cozy chairs and a tray table create a relaxing lounging area in this small space.

A wrought iron gazebo in a backyard.
Rod. D. Brodman

Outdoor Nook for 2

A filigreed gazebo turns this side yard into an enchanting setting for alfresco dining. The airy, 11-foot-tall, rusted-iron structure was found at a local nursery for less than $1,000.

A candle chandelier and a pair of tall candle stands were added for nighttime ambience. To make an intriguing "rug," the landscape designer glued 12-inch mosaic marble tiles to cast-concrete squares, filling spaces between them with decomposed granite.

A luxurious patio with yellow walls and blue furniture.
Jean Allsopp

Private Retreats

Tynes Stringfellow, president of Jubilee Landscape Inc., designed this small but luxurious courtyard as a haven from the hot Southern sun.

Sedum between the paving stones adds texture, and a water feature keeps temperatures cool and provides calming white noise.

A luxurious patio with yellow walls and blue furniture.
Antoine Bootz

Luxurious Loggia

To set a cheerful tone in this air-conditioned loggia, the designer used complementary fabrics in blue and white with accents of provincial yellow.

Printed From: