From yards and terraces to patios and porches, these decorating ideas can work for any spot you have plans for beautifying. An outdoor space can become whatever you make of it. The first thing you need to decide is what you want to do in your outdoor space.

Before buying anything consider the size and scale of your outdoor area. Make a list of the things you would like to do in the space and use it as a guide. Bear in mind the traffic flow of the outdoor space. Be careful to not block entrance and exit points. Consider water drainage in the area so you’re kept dry.

Choose weather-resistant furniture. Furnishings that are large or overstuffed can quickly engulf a space. Look for furniture without arms that have simple lines and low backs. Try to use only a few colors since it adds a unifying feel to your decor. Select outdoor furnishings that can do double duty but make sure to choose weather-resistant materials. Have enough seating to accommodate a few extra guests.

There are many styles and sizes for patio furniture such as a dining table and chairs, outdoor couch, and table umbrella. A good option for eating is a picnic table and benches. A bistro table with matching chairs works well. A rug adds spark to an otherwise tradtional dining area.

If you want to separate areas, you can easily create the illusion of walls and intimacy by the placement of screens, wooden lattice, or a row of tall evergreen shrubs. Benches can be used along one or more sides of your outdoor entertainmant space for additional seating. A traditional rattan couch for relaxing is a good option and they can be transformed by tossing on colorful plush pillows. If you like an occasional nap, consider a hammock.

Fire pits are a popular feature in many back yards especially when they experience cold climate. A fire pit can extend the usage of your outdoor room for many more months. If you want to use a barbeque grill, it makes sense to set up your area with an easy path to your indoor kitchen or choose a placement for your outdoor area with access to gas and/or water lines. The types to choose from are natural gas and propane grills, charcoal briquette, combo indoor outdoor electric grills, and portable grills which run on propane or charcoal are easily transported.

If the area is extremely shady, consider adding uplighting, string lights, paper lanterns, or other outdoor lighting. Hanging an assortment of festive glass lanterns looks good.

Landscaping around your space is a great way to enhance privacy and provide shade. Choose landscaping and plants that will add color, texture and/or height. Plants with pleasing scents are a wonderful addition to any outdoor area, but avoid plants with extremely strong aromas that are overpowering. Place large potted plants on a rolling stand so they can be easily moved.

Gravel walkways, natural stone river rock and plastic grass edging work in an informal backyard but don’t add any class. Swap out the gravel for a brick walkway. Natural stone provides unsure footing, so trade up to flagstone instead. Use manufactured cement edging or pour your own to edge the lawn.

A small water feature or wind chimes can enhance and mask unappealing background noises.


Before you install a fence, ask yourself what your reason is for installing it. If it’s something simple like keeping the dog in the yard you can probably get by with a basic picket or chain-link fence. If you’re looking to block noise or add privacy, you will want something tall and solid.

Wood fences may require occasional staining or sealing and can warp and rot over time. Consider a low-maintenance material, such as PVC and vinyl fencing. They offer the look of wood without maintenance every few years. Other material options include aluminum, steel, wrought iron, farm fencing, and bamboo. City and neighborhood rules may limit your choices for a fence. Rules may require that your fence be set back from property lines and your fence project will require a building permit.

Be open and upfront with neighbors about your fencing plans, and try not to block their views unnecessarily. A party fence can be built and shared by two or more neighbors, but such agreements should be made in writing and only after the property boundaries have been professionally determined. Ask your neighbor to share costs but keep in mind very few will agree to pay one-half the cost.