Warmer weather draws you outside, but who wants to relax in a barren backyard? Transform your yard into an outdoor oasis! Create the perfect outdoor living room for your climate and fill it with DIY garden and patio furniture. Or turn your attention to your landscape and spruce it up with habitat-providing water features or rock gardens. Need inspiration? Check out the home and gardens at the bottom!
Guides to Creating Outdoor Living Rooms
Mother Nature’s Living Room: Outdoor Rooms, Porches and Pavilions
Outdoor rooms, porches, and pavilions let you come home again to the natural world. Let nature’s elements be your palette and sensory delight your touchstone.
How to Design Efficient Outdoor Rooms
When designing outdoor living spaces, consider these basic questions.
Get Out of the House: Create the Perfect Outdoor Space for Your Climate
You can create an outdoor room that extends your season of al fresco living—wherever you live.
Welcome Home: Reviving the Front Porch
Appreciation for the front porch, the home's connection to the community, is back. Whether your home has a small stoop or a Victorian wraparound, here's how to make it warm and welcoming.
The Lowdown on Sustainable Decking
Decking materials aren't always as green as they're billed to be. Get the lowdown on the best sustainable decking options.
What the Deck? Green Deck Options
Adding a deck can be a great way to enjoy the outdoors and add another room without building walls. Consider these eco-friendly alternatives to wood that comes from harmful logging practices.
Lumber without Logging: Alternative Decking Options
If sacrificing trees for a backyard wooden deck isn’t on your agenda, consider building with plastic or composite (half plastic, half wood dust) materials.
Green Patio Options
Create your own eco-friendly patio with sustainable landscaping options.
DIY Garden Projects
Try This: Tiny-Footprint Garden Bench
Make a beautiful, comfortable and waterproof garden bench from recycled plastic and rubber materials.
Try This: Pot Lights
These pots of colored light illuminate a garden path or serve as a rustic centerpiece for outdoor dining.
Try This: House Number Sign
This house sign looks right at home on a Craftsman bungalow, but it’s perfect for any house that numbers hand-hammered originality above cast-in-the-mold conformity.
Try This: Rain Chain
Don't waste rain runoff. Capture it with this simple rain chain project for your garden.
Try This: Terra Cotta Pot Garden Planters
Turn common terra cotta pots into inexpensive garden planters with this simple garden project.
Try This: Wood Birdhouse
Attract birds to your backyard with these simple plans for a recycled wood birdhouse.
How to Build a Container Water Garden
Easy to design and maintain, a container water garden will make the perfect addition to your porch or patio.
Large-Scale Garden Projects
Create a DIY Garden Pond
Create a basic garden pond with your own personal touches with these instructions.
Create a Water Garden in Your Backyard
Always wanted a water view? Create your own—simply and naturally— by building a water garden. Both you and the wildlife you attract will be glad you did.
Make Your Own Rock Garden
Rock gardens are an excellent way to create a more dynamic outdoor living space.
Homes and Gardens for Inspiration
Easy Living: A South Carolina Indoor-Outdoor Home and Garden
This study in gracious Southern living is a fine example of how the Not So Big philosophy of better, not bigger, works in the garden.
A Denver Home for Outdoor Living
Natural materials and a courtyard give this urban townhome an outdoor feel.
Serenity in Bloom: A Colorado Asian-Inspired Garden
Kyoto meets Giverny in this artful garden, a sublime space for contemplation.
From Eyesore to Enchantment: A Laguna Beach Garden
A drainage ditch is transformed into a paradise.
A Secret Garden
Learn how to cultivate big style in a small space with these design tips from landscape designer Shirley Bovshow.