Create a focal point of your deck

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No matter the size of your yard, your outdoor living spaces will work better together if you establish traffic patterns. You can do this in a variety of ways, including laying formal walkways, creating shifts in hardscape materials, or planting shrubs or trees to establish corners and borders.


Include a Variety of Seating Options

Benches, chairs, even pint-size stools: As many choices as you can include in an outdoor living space will help family and friends enjoy it. Scaled-down kid versions allow little ones to seat themselves, while chairs are a more flexible option — pull two together for a quiet chat or add extras around the table for a big dinner. One tip: Don’t include so many that traffic patterns become cluttered.

Create a Focal Point

Well-designed indoor rooms typically build off one element — a sofa or piece of art, for example — which gives the eye something to land on; the rest of the furnishings and accents support that piece. That same principle applies to outdoor living spaces. Here, an extensive pond becomes the central gathering point, providing a spot to arrange furniture and orient views.

Make Furnishings Work Twice as Hard

Because space is often at a premium in outdoor living areas, furniture and accessories have to do double-duty. Benches may have storage space underneath; tables may also be containers. Here, this pretty side table features a stunning container planted with low-maintenance succulents that add color and texture under a raised tempered-glass top resting on copper supports.

Connect to the Indoors

Outdoor living spaces that are easily accessible to indoor rooms are the most likely to get used. So when you’re designing your deck or patio, try to locate it in a spot that’s in a traffic pattern or in a place that offers refuge, such as off the master bedroom or living room.

For more design ideas come back every week.

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