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Take It Outside

5 tips for designing your patio from architects



Eric Hedlund Design. Photo by Joel Riner Photography.

Building a new outdoor living area or renovating your patio? Architects share a few details to make your project more successful.

1. CREATE OUTDOOR "ROOMS"

Arrange seating and tables for privacy as well as partying. Outside a bedroom door, place a lounge chair for reading or star gazing. Pull sofas and chairs up to a table for cocktails and conversation.

2. PLAN YOUR PLANTING

Use perennials that will thrive in your environment and will bloom for a long time in summer. Give them time to establish and spread.

 3. CHOOSE DURABLE, EASY-CARE MATERIALS FURNISHINGS

Outdoor fabrics have dramatically improved. Look for those that are resistant to water, staining and fading for cushions and umbrellas.

4. CONSIDER LIGHTING

Nothing beats the glow of a fire, but think about adding other sources of light. String lights, lanterns and candles are always good options, but what about putting soft LED strip under the deck railing?

 5. KEEP THE VIEW CLEAR FROM THE INSIDE, TOO

For a Montana home, architect Rich Graves dropped the deck six inches lower than the living room and kitchen so when people are inside the home, they still have good sightlines to the outdoors. He also used horizontal steel bars for railings so they would be unobtrusive.

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