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Distinctive Outdoor Structures

Spend time outdoors in your own backyard paradise with an outdoor structure.

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    Everything in this slideshow

    • Recycled Glass Greenhouse

      This greenhouse is made from the windows of an old dairy farm. Virtually all the materials are recycled, save for the galvanized screws that hold it all together. It provides the perfect greenhouse for budding annuals.

    • Asian-Style Garden Structure

      Perched on a slope, this Asian-style structure offers an open and airy spot to observe the garden view below. Separate offset pier footings allow for height discrepancies created by the sloping ground. Cantilevered construction anchors the uphill portion so that the structure appears to be floating--a nice touch from both inside the structure and out. Hanging screens on three sides create a sense of privacy. And the requisite bench--destination seating for this little getaway in the woods--provides a place to witness the beauty of nature from the very center of it all.

    • Private Pavilion

      You don't have to build a walled structure to create a sense of privacy and space in your garden. This lightweight pavilion, shielded from the sun with bamboo slating, creates just enough shade for two lounge chairs or a table for four. A garden structure offers a focal point--and a destination that feels very separate and distinct from the rest of the backyard.

    • Curtained Comfort

      A simple gazebo becomes an elegant backyard destination with the easy addition of curtains. Full-length curtains dress up this open-air pavilion. Tied back to let in air and sunshine, they can also be closed for privacy. You can use colorfast, water- and mildew-resistant fabric specially created for outdoor exposure. Or choose other fabric for a special occasion. Curtains can be hung from hooks or on rods--just like indoors.

    • Nature-Inspired Structure

      An open-sided structure made with natural log posts creates a rustic getaway in any backyard landscape. Perfect for morning coffee, afternoon gatherings, or meals alfresco, this rustic pavilion features a masonry base, log posts, painted open roof trusses, and attractive shingles on a steep-pitch roof. The informality of the structure--and the mix of building materials--offers a relaxed, camplike experience to family and visitors. Flowers and shrubs--both in the ground around the structure and in pots--add color and fragrance.

    • Pretty Portal

      What a welcome! A brick wall features an attractive arched wood door that leads guests into the garden. Entryways to back and side yards create landscaping and architectural opportunities that can add style and function to any yard. Here, a brick wall built for enclosure and privacy, features a door with storybook appeal.

    • Lovely Lattice Structure

      Airy and beautiful, this charming lattice house creates a romantic dining area on a patio. The structure is small enough to squeeze into a tight spot and creates an intimate destination for backyard guests. A structure can make a small space feel more functional. The peaked roof helps screen the view of the neighbor's garage and home. And the lattice construction allows for airflow. Here's a bright idea: hang light strings along the roofline for added starlight during after-sunset entertaining.

    • Made-in-the-Shade Backyard Structure

      Every backyard should feature areas with both sun and shade if possible. Here, a dramatic fir-and-steel arbor provides shade over an outdoor fireplace area. Its simple yet dramatic design looks like a cresting wave. The structure is softened by the foliage and blooms of a climbing trumpet vine planted at the base.

    • Teahouse Backyard Structure

      Whether your goal is tea drinking or simply relaxing outdoors, an Eastern-inspired pavilion provides a feeling of sanctuary and seclusion. Decorative carved columns and roofing with retractable screening makes a backyard structure into a private haven. Furnishings, statuary, lighting, and container gardens complete the effect.

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      Rustic Retreat with Natural Wood

      Enjoy a camp-inspired backyard getaway with a rustic structure. Bark-covered columns, branch trusses, and rough-hewn support beams create a woodsy pavilion that offers a central dining area flanked by alcoves for grilling and a buffet or cocktail bar.

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      Outdoor Structure with Stone Fireplace

      If you want to extend time outdoors, add a fireplace to an outdoor structure. This large, open-air structure features a sunken seating area with a stone fireplace as the warming focal point, allowing outdoor entertaining during cooler months. The pavilion's red standing-seam metal roof and stone accents match materials used in the house.

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      Asian-Style Backyard Structure

      A zigzag bridge (believed to thwart evil spirits) leads to a secluded Asian-inspired backyard structure. The roof edge and ornate wood trim clearly state its Eastern roots. A stone-edge pond in front provides the reflective sight of water--as well as the soothing sounds. And seating allows a panoramic view of the garden and the nature surrounding it.

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      Vintage Greenhouse

      Both useful and beautiful, a greenhouse provides a place to keep tender plants as well as space inside to relax and enjoy a cup of tea amid natural surroundings. Here, a restored vintage greenhouse features an ornate scrollwork door frame and a decorative peaked roof surrounded by all-glass walls.

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      Water-Wise Arbor

      Both an arbor and a water feature, this distinctive structure gathers rain that falls on the roof of the adjoining building and directs it into a copper gutter that channels it across the length of the arbor to fall into a square masonry basin. The basin, which measures about 3 feet square, is made from exposed-aggregate coping that doubles as seating. In dry weather, a submersible pump keeps the water moving.

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      Add-On Structures

      Arbors, pergolas, and gazebos can elegantly dress up even the simplest houses. Here, a semicircular front porch and deck adds a welcoming entryway as well as space to entertain outdoors. The overhead structures create easy transition between indoors and out.

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      Southwestern Structure

      The color, materials, and detailing of an outdoor structure should match the home and landscape. Here, a ramada, or covered porch, features round log posts teamed up with rough-sawn timbers that naturally accent the adobe structure nearby. A creative and authentic touch is the Native American ladder that supports climbing vines.

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      Modern Pergola

      Colorful and whimsical, this modern pergola provides shaded seating. This distinctive outdoor structure is an exercise in geometry: It features four triangles. The structure provides a backyard focal point as well as space to entertain.

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      Entryway Arbor

      An arbor serves as a beautiful portal to a backyard garden. This large arbor features posts that are 6x6 lumber--large enough to support any climbing plant. The lattice sides and top provide crawling space for flowering climbers such as roses or clematis.

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      Special Pergola

      This pergola has both substance and style--it matches the scale of the large house and the sprawling backyard while providing a welcome outdoor retreat. A special feature is a lattice-style wall inset with glass bricks that create an airy sense of privacy.

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      Next Slideshow 15 Cheap Backyard Ideas

      15 Cheap Backyard Ideas

      Upgrading your landscape doesn't have to be expensive or time-consuming. Here are 15 budget-smart backyard ideas to help you love your yard more.
      Begin Slideshow »

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