Outdoor Living Idea Book

by Lee Anne White

One of the hottest trends in home design is the creation of outdoor rooms with all the comfort of the family room, kitchen, and dining room in an al fresco setting. Interior designers are now applying their skills to exterior spaces, while landscape designers now have a much broader palette of materials and furnishings from which to choose. 

In the end, it's all about relaxing and taking a break from the stresses of day-to-day living. Whether that means cooking a gourmet dinner for friends, relaxing in the spa, gathering around the fireplace with family, retreating to a backyard studio, or playing bocce ball with your neighbors, you can design an outdoor living area that makes the most of your property and makes it fun to spend time at home -- outdoors.

Table of Contents

Introduction

Cooking and Dining
Grills
Cooking Centers
Alfresco Dining

Entertaining Outdoors
Patios and Terraces

Porches Decks

Relaxing and Escaping
Screened Porches and Sunrooms

Backyard Retreats
Warm Hearths
Soothing Spas
Open-Air Showers

Outdoor Dcor
Outdoor Structures
Water Features
Fashionable Outdoor Furniture
Accents and Accessories
Landscape Lighting

Outdoor Recreation
Kids Play Spaces
Game Areas
Swimming Pools

Resources
Credits

Introduction

Dorothy first uttered the words, "There's no place like home," more than 60 years ago in the classic film The Wizard of Oz. Those same words have become a mantra for the early 21st century. We spend our days in office meetings, carpooling, and commuting on over-crowded interstates. Is it any wonder that we relish the familiarity and comfort of home at the end of the day? 

One of the hottest trends in home design is the creation of outdoor roomsall the comfort of the family room, kitchen, and dining room in an al fresco setting. Interior designers are now applying their skills to exterior spaces, while landscape designers now have a much broader palette of materials and furnishings from which to choose. Manufacturers have responded by introducing more comfortable and decorative furnishings, outdoor hearths, and lighting fixtures that add ambience to any gathering, as well as a broader range of equipment for cooking meals outsidewhether it's an inexpensive portable grill or a top-of-the-line outdoor kitchen with all the bells and whistles. 

Kids of all ages are benefiting from this mounting enthusiasm for outdoor living. Play structures can be customized with modular features to accommodate the interests of growing children. Manufacturers have introduced game courts for backyard recreation that are easier on the joints than concrete or asphalt. And new technology in swimming pool design has resulted in a broader range of pool styles and features that are easier to install than ever before. Even synthetic putting greens have made their way into the backyard. 

In the end, it's all about relaxingtaking a break from the stresses of day-to-day living. Whether that means cooking a gourmet dinner for friends, relaxing in the spa, gathering around the fireplace with family, retreating to a backyard studio, or playing bocce ball with your neighbors, you can design an outdoor living area that makes the most of your property and makes it fun to spend time at home, outdoors.