Outdoor Living Spaces: Patios, Decks & the World Outside Your Door
By Lisa Hallett Taylor, About.com Guide
What's in an outdoor living space? Patios, decks, porches, balconies, gazebos, walls, fences, kitchens, firepits, swimming pools, spas, children's play areas, playhouses and treehouses. And then you need to furnish, landscape and decorate your outdoor space. Get busy-- there's lots to do.
- Outdoor Patio Furniture, Decorations & Accessories
- Grills, BBQs & Outdoor Kitchens
- The Outdoor Lifestyle
- Children's Play Areas
Step outside into the world of patios. They can be attached to your house or detached. Paving materials range from standard brick or concrete to flagstone or pea gravel. Patios can be built in any shape or size, and can be a DIY project or built by a contractor and crew.
- Patio Planning, Design & Construction
- 10 Considerations Before Picking Paving Materials
- Patio Design Ideas and Pictures
Decks, Porches & Balconies
What makes a deck a deck and not a patio? What's the difference between a porch and a portico, or a porch and a balcony? What's a veranda, piazza or courtyard?
- Great Deck Ideas, Designs & Photos
- What Type of Deck Should You Build?
- DIY Deck Repair, Maintenance & Additions
- How to Dig Post Holes & Install Posts
- Things to Consider When Hiring a Contractor
- Water-Wise Pathway Materials & Ideas
Take a look at your outdoor space. Any area that doesn't have plantlife growing in soil is most likely "hardscape." It's these areas of hardscaping that provide permanent definition and may help establish a distinct style to the garden. What's considered hardscape? Walls, walkways, structures, loose gravel and large ornamental pieces. Hardscaping is often described as the "bones" of landscaping.
Landscaping Your Outdoor World
You've got a patio, deck, inground spa, interlocking pavers and an arbor. What's missing? You can't live outdoors without plant life, whether it's poolside plantings, a patio garden, containers on your deck or a Pennisetum setaceum on your front porch. Learn how landscaping works into the whole outdoors scheme, and vice versa.
- Poolside Landscaping Do's & Don'ts
- Best Plants for Your Pool or Spa Area
- Sweet-Smelling Plants
- How to Groom Ornamental Grasses
Outdoor Patio Furniture, Decorations & Accessories
Besides their obvious practical functions -- like somewhere to sit on the patio -- outdoor furniture, decor and accessories help establish and continue a design theme in the landscape. Learn decorating techniques, tips and trends, along with inspiration for seasonal decorations.
- Halloween Decorating Ideas & Projects
- Outdoor Furniture Trends 2012
- Vintage Patio Furniture Shopping
- Yard Art: Reuse, Recycle, Repurpose
Grills, BBQs & Outdoor Kitchens
What coaxes many outside is the lure - and aroma - of a barbecue. Learn about budget-friendly and high-end grills, gas vs. charcoal vs. electric, and grill recalls. Sample some of the best recipes for outdoor cooking, along with sauces, spices and rubs. Hungry?
- Party Central: BBQ & Grill Recipes
- Before You Go Shopping for a Gas Grill
- The Top 10 Gas Grills Between $500 and $1,500
The Outdoor Lifestyle
You swim in the pool, relax in the hot tub, entertain friends by cooking on your outdoor grill and dining on the patio. Children spend hours in their special outdoor play areas. Holidays and milestones are celebrated outdoors, and you decorate accordingly. Everything seems just a little more special when it's experienced outdoors.
- BBQ Parties and Outdoor Entertaining
- Quick Backyard Clean-ups Before the Party
- 62 Water-Saving Ideas for Outside Your House
- Staycation: Backyard Campout Checklist
Children's Play Areas
Children need a designated area outside to hang out with friends and play, exercise, maybe grow a vegetable garden, and spend some quiet time by themselves. The space doesn't have to be large, but it does need to be safe and a place where imaginations can grow. Include your child in planning the ideal outdoor play space.