The line between indoors and outdoors continues to blur, as people strive to balance their stressful lives with peaceful respites and the pleasant settings outdoor living spaces can provide. Enjoy this extension of your home - from outdoor living rooms and kitchens to dining and relaxation areas you can turn your backyard into an extraordinary outdoor living space.
There is more to outdoor living than just buying some outdoor patio furniture. To develop outdoor spaces that offer comfort and style for as long as the seasons will allow you need to step back and look at the big picture. Separate in your mind the different outdoor "rooms", look at it as dividing up your yard to create individual spaces for specific uses. Think about the people who will gather there, how the area will be used and the mood you want to create. Once you have determined your spaces and their functions you will want to consider how you will furnish and decorate them.
Defining your Space
Outdoor rooms can be large and spacious or small and intimate. They can include anything from a screened-in porch to a patio, or simple landscaped area. Your outdoor retreat doesn't need walls, but it does need definition. You can choose to use fences, hedges and arbors to create borders, or consider is having an overhead structure such as a gazebo or pavilion to provide cover from the elements and help to define your space. A great way to fashion a more private area is to use a trellis as an extra wall, and plant fast growing vines at its base.
Furnishing your Outdoor Rooms
Outdoor patio furniture is an investment that can easily pay for itself many times over in terms of fun and functionality. Some things to consider when selecting your outdoor furnishings are the materials that are right for your purpose and location, the space you have available, and the function of the furniture itself.
Patio Furniture Materials
Enjoying the beauty of nature and the wonderful weather in your patio can be very rejuvenating. However, without good durable furniture, a lot of the fun from the outdoors is gone. Apart from selecting the right type of furniture, you must also consider the maintenance requirements of the furniture.
There are four basic choices of materials when choosing your outdoor patio furniture; Aluminum, Iron, Plastic and Wood. Each material has its own benefits and drawbacks. Here is a summary that may help you make the best patio furniture choice for you.
Aluminum - Doesn't rust is relatively lightweight and durable and requires minimum maintenance. Wonderful solution for locations near the ocean but its lighter weight pieces may not be suitable in areas with extremely high winds.
Iron - Because Iron is so heavy, the furniture is hard to move but it's stable in windy conditions. Iron patio furniture is subject to rust or corrosion and the surface areas require re-painting when damage occurs.
Plastic - Plastic furniture works particularly well around a pool, it is a lighter weight material so some pieces may not be suitable in areas with extremely high winds. If you carry out barbecue and other heavy cooking in your patio, you may also want to consider the heat might affect the plastic furniture.
Wood - Wooden furniture looks good but requires a bit of maintenance. Most wooden furniture requires frequent retouches and cleaning. Wooden furniture that is of poor quality could also lose most of its sheen and beauty very soon.
Consider Your Space
No patio best is going to work in your patio or garden if you don't have the space to implement it. Measure your available space and decide how to divide it between different elements of your patio furniture. Ensure there is enough space for people to move around comfortably - this will help you decide how many tables, chairs and other elements you'll need. (More information on dining tables and seating)
Outdoor Patio Furniture for Dining - Create an outdoor dining area where you can enjoy the company of family and friends. Some guidelines to keep in mind when selecting patio sets are; Small round patio tables are great for more intimate dining. Large rectangular patio tables are perfect for larger families or parties. Elevated dining and bar groups make the most of a view. Select a 24" - 30" table to seat two, a 36" - 48" table to seat four, a 54" - 60" table to seat 6 and a 60" - 72" table to seat 8.
Outdoor Patio Furniture for Entertaining - Low-seating conversation groups are ideal for casual gatherings and to create an outdoor entertaining area where you can host parties and socialize with friends and family.
Outdoor Patio Furniture for Relaxing - A strategically placed bench or glider can offer a peaceful reading nook or private area for meditation and relaxation
Decorating your Outdoor Room
Lighting is a key element in outdoor design - Lighting your outdoor space can create ambiance and increase functionality, especially during the shorter days of spring and fall. There are all types of outdoor lighting available. Consider lighting to provide safety along pathways, lamps made for outdoor use and don't forget outdoor candles and gel burners. Strings of clear holiday lights are magical wrapped around a tree, or over a porch beam as well.
Heating and Cooling - Think about outdoor heating for the cooler months so that you can take advantage of your outdoor rooms all year round. Outdoor fire pits & chiminea's will really complement your space and make outdoor entertaining that much more enjoyable.
Deck the "Walls" - No room is complete without art. Just because your room doesn't have standard walls doesn't mean you can't adorn your outdoor room with artwork. Hang metal wall art on the garden fence or from a tree. Lean an old picket fence against a post and adorn it with wall pockets planted full of flowers
Accessorize - Don't forget accessories to add charm and style to your outdoor rooms! Add cut flowers in pretty containers, light candles, and lay out a fabric napkins or a pretty tablecloth. Cushions also add to the ambiance and are available in a huge range of styles and outdoor materials.
Additional Elements - Elements that stimulate the senses, such as water and fire, are natural components of an outdoor retreat. Think fireplaces, spas, fountains and water gardens.
Above all, remember that beauty is ultimately in the eye of the beholder; surround yourself with furnishings and outdoor elements that make for a pleasing and functional gathering place, and you will have create the perfect outdoor room for your needs