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Outdoor Design: Take It Outside the Home

How to create indoor comfort for outdoor rooms.

  Home and photo: Canadian Timberframes Ltd.


Some of the most sought-after places in your new dream home may not even be inside. With outdoor living’s ever-increasing popularity, the marketplace overflows with products and goods to enhance your al fresco lifestyle. Here’s how to take the comforts of home outside:


Cool it down.

Sunshine lures us outside, but it’s easy to get too much of a good thing. Awnings, canopies or pergolas covered with vines provide shade and filter sunlight to prevent glare. Look for retractable overhead coverings if you prefer flexibility.


Light it up.

To stretch your evenings outside, layer on the lighting. Outline deck railings or wrap trees with light strings. Add table lamps to seating areas and lanterns or candle pots to the dining table. Lights placed strategically throughout your landscaping create a view after the sun sets. For a porch, consider an overhead lighted fan or two to offer ambient light and gentle breeze. 


Treat your feet.

Define your outdoor living spaces with a rug. Outdoor rugs clean up with running water and withstand the elements, while providing that all-important finishing touch. Outdoor rugs vary in their construction and materials. Be sure to choose the right rug for your setting — whether it will be under roof cover or completely exposed to the weather.


Rush for plush.

Remember yesterday’s lawn chairs with their wobbly aluminum frames and scratchy woven plastic straps? Today’s outdoor furniture rivals your great room sofa for comfort and range of upholstery choices. Look for well-proportioned pieces and thick cushions. Follow manufacturers’ instructions for cushion and frame care to ensure years of comfort.


Bring in all the elements.

Fire and water magically transform outdoor living spaces. Outdoor hearth products range from simple fire pits and rings to full masonry fireplaces. All add charm and warmth to your deck or patio. Water — in a fountain or pond — brings soothing sounds and enchanting sparkle. Install a hot tub outdoors for ultimate relaxation.


Bug off.

Outdoor living spaces are for sharing — but not with insects. Whether you’ll need to screen your outdoor living space depends on your local climate and the time of day you expect to be outside.

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