8 Design Ideas for Your Dream Outdoor Room - Sue Brooks

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8 Design Ideas for Your Dream Outdoor Room

The most popular landscape stories of 2018 offer inspiration for patios, outdoor dining rooms and lounging areas

Spring may be months away, but that doesn’t mean it’s too early to think about landscape and outdoor design plans. If you’re looking for ideas, a dedicated outdoor room is a great option to consider. Many of the most popular landscape design stories published on Houzz in 2018 focus on designing outdoor rooms, whether they’re intimate, resort-inspired or used for outdoor dining. Here are some of the top ideas from the most popular landscape design stories on Houzz to help inspire your dream outdoor room.

1. Get Your Furniture Setup Right

Use your patio furniture and its arrangement to help guide the use and feel of your outdoor room. Two chaise lounges set side by side overlooking a view, for example, inspire an entirely different experience than a circle of Adirondack chairs around a fire pit.

Likewise, a simple wooden bench off a path creates a different outdoor room experience than does a cushioned sectional sofa under a shade structure.

2. Hang String Lights

Outdoor rooms are often designed for daytime enjoyment, but it’s also worthwhile to design them to take advantage of beautiful evenings. This means incorporating outdoor lighting.

Nothing beats the ambiance that outdoor string lights create, whether you’re going for the feel of a funky Austin patio or a rustic Italian courtyard. String lights can be installed in outdoor areas big and small and don’t always require hardwiring, making them a versatile lighting option for nearly any outdoor room.

3. Don’t Overlook Drainage

Technical details like drainage are a reality of landscape design, whether you have permeable paving such as gravel or decomposed granite or an impervious material like concrete or brick. If an outdoor room doesn’t drain well, it’s hard to enjoy, so don’t treat drainage as an afterthought — especially in an outdoor room where its visibility can affect the overall design.

Three patios we profiled this year showed us how it’s done, including one that features a bluestone drain and another with a concealed downspout along a pergola frame.

4. Consider a Floor of Pavers and Pebbles

Pavers mixed with pebbles is a popular flooring option for outdoor rooms, and for good reason. It fits a range of landscape styles, is attractive and adds drainage.

Despite the combination’s winning qualities, the maintenance needed to keep the gravel and pavers in place can cause some people to look for other outdoor room flooring options. Don’t despair — three paver-and-gravel patios we featured this year offer creative solutions to these issues, through their gravel size or, in the example seen here, poured concrete that only appears to be pavers.

5. Create a Garden Nook

Whether you have a large garden and are looking for a secondary seating area or have a small or urban patio and need a backyard focal point, a little outdoor seating nook can be the perfect solution, offering a place to escape to on your own or with another person.

Even if you have a small outdoor area, don’t feel compelled to fill it with furniture. A couple of chairs and a table in a corner can be enough and will leave some breathing room for plants, containers or a shade structure.

6. Make It a Space for Dining

It doesn’t take much to turn an outdoor room into a spot for dining — a place to sit and a place to put your food is all you need. But with so many opportunities to create an inspired dining setup, why not go for it? That might mean designing an outdoor room entirely around dining or simply placing a table and chairs adjacent to an outdoor kitchen.

From bistro sets to picnic tables, the variety of outdoor dining options available makes it easy to enhance your outdoor eating experience and your outdoor room’s design.

7. Look to Resort-Inspired Design

Luxe resorts know how to create outdoor room design that makes people feel relaxed and far from the stresses of daily life. Strategically placed oversize lounge chairs, grand fire pits and soft lighting are moves you can bring home from the hotel. Think about outdoor experiences that encourage relaxation and try to employ them in your own space.

8. Accent With Entertaining Favorites

While a well-designed outdoor room can be a great space for entertaining all on its own, a little decorating effort can go a long way toward transforming it into a dream party destination. Even if they’re only temporary, lanterns, fun tablecloths, overhead canopies and more will take an outdoor room up a notch.