Outstanding Outdoor Room Inspiration

Top designers share their ideas for making the most of your lawn, lanai, backyard or barbeque.

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Hide CaptionShow CaptionThe French blue used for this patio furniture complements all of the colors found in this outdoor space. (Photo, top left, by David Cluett)

All About

Come summertime, designer Barclay Fryery (www.askbarclay.com) spends as much time as possible outside his house in Greenwich, Connecticut. To accommodate his outdoor lifestyle, he decorates his patio with tables, boxwood trees and even real paintings. And when the party’s over and the guests go home, you’ll find him on the fire escape, stretched out on a daybed of his own design. The frame is sturdy teak painted in an opaque black stain that never needs to be repainted; the fabric is a leopard print intended for indoor use but weatherproofed.

In spaces where mother nature proves plenty of color and pattern, Fryery leaves leopard-print behind, and often opts for simple, stand-out solids, like the French blue on this patio that Fryery created for clients who love to entertain outdoors. But while the color scheme here is simple, the space is far from spartan. Chairs are deep and cushy; a market umbrella provides plenty of shade, and an outdoor bar helps make entertaining easy and elegant.

"The outdoors is the most versatile part of your property," he says. "You can have music piped out onto the patio ... or you can enjoy the silence and the sounds of chirping birds. You can bring your phone and laptop out and work ... or just sit around and do nothing. But even if you’re working, it’s important to get outside as soon as the weather turns nice. We all spend way too much of our lives indoors. If you ask me, we can all use a whole lot more fresh air."

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