A backyard designed for entertaining makes time at home feel like paradise. Use these ideas for landscaping, patio furniture, dining, and gathering to create a casual outdoor living room.


Casual comfort and simple elegance come together in this beautiful outdoor living room. A low-maintenance bluestone patio under the canopy of an old willow oak is the perfect setting for a teak table with seating for 10. Top it off with the glow of an open-ironwork candle chandelier. At the edge of the patio sits a stone fireplace surrounded by comfy seating and a low coffee table -- a quiet retreat equally suited for relaxing with a good read or gathering for appetizers with friends.

All-Seasons Outdoor Living

Ensure your backyard is equipped for alfresco living and entertaining year-round by planning for your needs, space, and budget. A firewood box is incorporated within the design of this outdoor buffet, and the fireplace mantel is 55 inches high, so guests can comfortably lean against it while mingling. The wood-burning firebox is filled with a container of caladiums in spring and foliage in summer, and it's lit with a fire to chase away the chill in fall and winter. A gas-grill workstation on one side of the fireplace and a buffet surface on the other further enhance the space. For added convenience, this outdoor service area has easy access to the home's kitchen.

A step down from this alfresco living room and at the opposite end of the yard from the fireplace is a cozy new porch. The 180-square-foot structure allows outdoor events to continue during inclement weather. Archways on two sides open the porch to the driveway and the patio beyond. Toile draperies made with a weatherproof fabric soften the look of the passages, giving the outdoor space an indoor feel. Fitted with deep wicker seating with plush cushions, the porch encourages guests to linger. Fragrant jasmine frames an arched passageway to the porch. The vine is attached with a series of screws set into the mortar, and copper wire connects the screws to create a trellis for the vine.

Outdoor Decorating: All in the Details

Unifying accents enhance the porch and patio in this beautiful backyard. Iron accessories throughout the landscape create a cohesive space and complement a mix of materials, including bluestone, fieldstone, slate, and whitewashed brick, as well as the style of the home. A black canvas awning accents the French doors leading from the den to the patio, giving the illusion of entering a foyerlike room outdoors. Two topiaries planted in raised, fluted containers flank the French doors. Weathered-concrete containers and stone troughs on the porch and patio create a well-accessorized look.


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