The Outdoor Living Room

Backyard Decor To Make Your Patio Shine All Summer Long

When I was growing up, “backyard decor” meant a picnic table and a clothesline, and if you were really enterprising, it also included a vegetable garden. But like floppy discs and rotary phones, the rustic backyard has morphed into something sleeker and more-user friendly: the outdoor room. Setting up an entertainment space in your backyard is not unlike outfitting the living room, dining room and kitchen inside your home. A comfortable place to sit is always a good place to start, and what is more versatile than a sectional? The modular seating collection from South Harbor features weather-treated wicker on top of a durable aluminum frame. It is available in several configurations with a dozen cushion colors to choose from.

South Harbor
Outdoor Modular Seating
$2,363.00, macy’

If you have a wood or cement patio base, an outdoor rug is a great way to impart your space with a cozy ambiance. This striped Couristan rug, in muted tones, has a sophisticated yacht-club feel to it, and goes well with wicker and wood.

Afuera Yacht Club Area Rug
$119 – $759,

Not everyone likes to sit at a table and eat, especially outdoors. Some folks are perfectly happy balancing a plate on their knee while sitting on a cushioned patio chair, with a drink in one hand and a fork in the other. But an outdoor dining set is indispensable for accommodating older guests or hosting sit-down dinners with the family. The Wayland aluminum table comes with six chairs and a two-person bench, and comfortably seats eight. The table has a holster for an umbrella, but the set does not include one, so be sure to choose some kind of sun protection.

The nine foot Wayland umbrella with auto-tilt provides precision sun protection, and is made of the same stain-proof, fade-resistant fabric as the cushions on the Wayland dining chairs.

Wayland Outdoor
Aluminum Dining Set

Wayland Outdoor
Auto-Tilt Umbrella

If you’ve ever argued the merits of gas v. charcoal (or vice versa), then you can attest that the most challenging item to add to an outdoor room is the grill. But the engineers at Char-Broil share your pain, and decided to make your life easier with their hybrid grill that goes back and forth from gas to charcoal, with a few quick steps.

Gas2Coal® Hybrid Grill

Tell me if this sounds familiar: each spring you tell yourself that this is going to be THE year that you plant a successful vegetable garden. Then you get busy, and it’s late in the season, so you put a few plants in the ground, but you can’t find the time to care for them, so the garden never really takes off. So you tell yourself, next year is going to be THE year. Sometimes, setting a smaller, achievable goal is a good way to get back on track. Instead of setting your sights on a whole garden, why not start with a small raised planter? With just a few square feet of farmland to worry about, you can spend a few minutes a day working on your garden and still have time for everything else.

Elevated Cedar Planter

When you gather with friends in your outdoor lounge for a glass of chardonnay after sundown, a flicker of light and warmth provides a fitting backdrop for your conversation. The Hamden fire pit is made of natural stone, and powered by propane for easy kindling and clean-up.

For lighting around your patio perimeter, the Edison-style solar bulbs from World Market are a fabulous option. Equipped with a solar panel, they don’t require batteries or a plug, and can supply four hours of light after a day’s charge in the sun.

To illuminate a walkway, scatter a few Zuo stools around your yard. They generate a luminous warmth that will keep the party going without overpowering the mood.

Gas Fire Pit

World Market
Edison Style Solar Bulb String Lights

Fame Fiber Glass Illuminated Stool

For the past few summers, a portable cooler into the backyard filled with ice and beer was good enough to keep the party rolling. But now that you’ve added some comfy seating, ambient lighting and a serious grill to your outdoor space, it’s not a bad idea to upgrade your cooler, too. The wooden Patio Cooler from Merry Garden keeps drinks frosty for 6 hours, and is a sure sign that you have become an expert at #adulting. And what could be a better reason than that for throwing a party?

Merry Garden
Wooden Patio Cooler


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