Ideas for Outdoor Rooms

Add value and create comfort with an outdoor living area

Creating an outdoor room is a relatively easy and inexpensive way to increase your home's footprint, its value and the day-to-day quality of life you enjoy there. Just consider the cost of installing a custom deck against that of an actual home addition, and the potential of the great outdoors starts to look even greater.

Once thought to be an out-of-reach backyard daydream, the outdoor room has definitely gone mainstream with fireplaces, water features and entertainment stations, and according to a recent Better Homes and Gardens Magazine survey, these enhancements form the second most popular category of home improvement projects.

Alt=outdoor rooms ideasOutdoor Living Trends

With so many homeowners looking to get as comfy outdoors as they do in their indoor family and living rooms, manufacturers and retailers are responding with an array of solutions to furnish outdoor rooms. Here are the top trends to consider for your own outdoor remodel.

Bringing the indoors outdoors. Gardens, terraces, patios, and other outdoor areas continue to be popular means of extending the boundaries of homeowners' living spaces, and American consumers are looking to furnish them with such amenities as all-season furniture upholstered in weather-resistant fabrics, top-of-the-line grills, fireplaces, decorative pillows and rugs, and accessories such as artwork and statuary. A growing preference for casual outdoor entertaining is also inspiring a range of affordable and versatile tabletop items to suit every occasion.

Colorful container gardening. These space-saving displays have always been favorite outdoor elements, and now the trend is going a step further with planters in a range of eye-catching shapes and colors. Such classy containers become artful accessories in themselves, adding interest when planted and arranged in clusters, placed in flower beds, or built up as vertical gardens.

Front-yard landscaping. Where backyards are smaller, water features, fences, courtyards and patios are moving out front, adding impact and individuality.

New-and-improved decks and patios. Weatherproof and wood alternatives are in demand, and a wider selection of natural products such as tumbled stone and brick are paving the way.

Exterior lightscapes. Hard-wired lighting illuminates the garden, trees and house, both to illuminate outdoor rooms and enhance security.

Water features. Fountains and other water elements enhance sight and sound, while landscaped ponds, streams and lighted waterfalls offer peace and relaxation in outdoor rooms.

Outdoor fireplaces. No longer limited to the living room, den or master bedroom, the fireplace is now becoming the centerpiece of the outdoor living center. Whether a simple portable fire pit or a custom-built structure, a fireplace lends ambiance and creates a focal point for gatherings.

Garden pavilions and gazebos. Outdoor refuges create a destination within a yard and emphasize the comforting, traditional notion of a garden.

Truly green accessories. Shrubs, trees and flowers are being used as accents, room dividers, carpets and curtains in outdoor rooms.

Smart irrigation systems. Customized to outdoor spaces and supporting the green theme of water conservation, irrigation systems can now think for you thanks to lawn sensors that measure soil moisture and automatically operate sprinklers for a lush landscape and beautiful view from your outdoor room.