Whether your goal is to lounge, entertain, dine, or simply escape -- we have ideas to create your ideal outdoor space. Personalize your patio, porch, or other alfresco room to suit your seasonal pursuits.
This traditional patio, just the place for afternoon tea, is furnished with Chinese Chippendale garden benches; their fretwork echoes the herringbone pattern in the reclaimed brick. A sleek table is unabashedly modern, although its white finish fits with the motif. Tall and graphic lavender-blue lilies of the Nile are gathered in striking cast-iron urns. The oversize flower arrangements form the perimeter of the patio. Beyond them, a screen of evergreen trees offers year-round privacy.
Just as a favorite chair's upholstery may inspire a room's color scheme, a few dominant hues in your flora can anchor an area's composition. In this open-air living room, green-glazed pots are right at home, and the chartreuse of the plants is echoed in square pillows. Tones of blue and aquamarine in the surrounding foliage find their match in the remaining pillows and seat cushions, as well as in the wicker chair. Flowers sprouting through the limestone paving and the reddish tree trunks tie in the striped pillow.
This low table is surrounded by Japanese-style cushions. Remove the table's top and it converts to a daybed, the cushions becoming a mattress. A scrim of Westringia fruticosa, Melianthus major, and Eugenia creates the room's walls; succulents soften the bricked terrace.
A narrow palette highlights the dusky bluestone of this modern patio. Metal furniture with clean lines contributes to its architectural elegance. Sculptural plantings in corresponding marine tones create a sense of enclosure. Large zinc urns corral rounded boxwoods underplanted with trailing 'Silver Falls' dichondra. Dark pots hold spiky ornamental grasses.
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A charming pea-gravel breakfast patio furnished with a cafe table, matching chairs, and a sunflower-yellow linen brings to mind alfresco dining in the South of France. A pillow in coordinating fabric adds to the effect. Our ice bucket is made of stacked flowerpots (the one at the base is upside down; water easily drains out the bottom). Edible kumquats underplanted with chartreuse-colored moneywort conjure a relaxed air. The specimens are grown in ceramic containers with an amber glaze. Climbing hydrangea thickly blankets a stone column, adding to the tucked-away feel of the patio.
This covered terrace off the kitchen, which is an ideal spot for breakfast, is furnished with folding teak plantation chairs made in India around 1900 and a group of staghorn ferns; the tree stump was rolled home from the banks of the Connecticut River, where it was found.
Three walls of glass wrap around this outdoor room in a Beverly Hills canyon. A '30s Grecian garden chair, a vintage footed urn, and a neoclassical stool add silver-screen-style glamour. The striped awning, of canvas-weight solution-dyed acrylic, serves as a movable roof.
A plywood wall panel that incorporates a foldout table and bench turns even the tiny terrace of a hillside house into a garden room. The table and bench are 3/4-inch plywood attached with piano hinges and supported by hinged triangles of wood. The panel is screwed into the wall's wood studs; its individual elements have been sponge-painted various colors. Potted plants, including the bamboo at far right, provide living accents; enhancing the sense of indoor-outdoor flow, the greens and golds of the interior are echoed outside. The brackets are flush with the panel when not in use; finger holes make them easy to pull out.
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