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Must-Have Patio Features

By: Susan Kleinman
November 25, 2014

Ahhh...summer. The days are long; the nights are starry; and the patio is calling. To make your outdoor space outstanding, here are our top 10 backyard must-haves.

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Photo: Debbie Gliksman

On Fire

Warm up a chilly afternoon or add drama to an evening with a fire pit, like the one landscape designer Deborah Gliksman installed on this California property. “Think about the flow of the patio when you decide where to place your fire pit,” says Deborah. “You want to have ample seating around it to get maximum enjoyment.”

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Photo: Jeffrey Erb

On the Water

Water features add life, movement and the illusion of coolness to an outdoor space. On this summer house patio, landscape designer Jeffrey Erb custom designed a fountain that flows into a fish pond. If you’re working on a more limited budget, consider one of the free-standing fountains available at outdoor furnishings stores.

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Photo: Ryann Ford

Light Bright

Forget those overhead interrogation lamps sometimes used in outdoor spaces. Guests are happiest (and look best) when lit from several sources. For a festive evening look, string up some LED rope lights, as garden designer B. Jane did on this patio. The fire pit and lanterns add additional illumination and can be removed for daytime events.

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Photo: Amber Freda

Sun Block

Only mad dogs and Englishmen, they say, stay out in the noonday sun. If you want to be outdoors when the rays are strongest, a shade umbrella will allow you to enjoy the fresh air without frying your skin. No room for an umbrella on a stand? Designer Amber Freda attached this “parasol” to the guardrail of a New York City terrace. You could place it on the rail of your deck or patio as well.

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