It's that time of year. The weather is heating up and I want to get outside! In fact, I want to spend as much time outside as possible. Here are my favorite outdoor living trends for the best look, feel and function.

1. Outdoor Rooms

We are so blessed in the Rogue Valley with such great weather. I especially love the warm summer nights. So the thought of creating outdoor spaces with all the comforts and conveniences of the indoors is right up my alley. These days, there are lots of great all-weather materials, furnishings and accessories designed specifically for this purpose. That can means adorning our deck, porch or patio with items like integrated benches with upholstered cushions, weather-proof draperies, outdoor area rugs, pillows and throw blankets made of weather-resistant materials, artwork and whimsical accessories, privacy walls and accents like ornamental post caps and railings. Creating a nook or pergola with built-in lounges – somewhere cozy with lots of pillows where I can curl up with a good book, or a good friend, yes, please!  are a great way to inject color and pattern and create distinct spaces.

Photo courtesy of ma7eshouse

2. Outdoor Kitchens

I hate to be stuck inside for any reason at all when the weather is nice. I'm completely on board with the popularity of outdoor cooking areas. Fancy grills and BBQs are of course part of that but I'm talking about cooking islands, pizza ovens, refrigerators – and, yes, even the kitchen sink! No need to go back and forth into the house letting flies in anymore.

3. Low-maintenance Decking

For any of you, like me, who have every had to move everything off of the deck, scrub it, apply a clear wood preservative or an exterior stain, let it dry and repeat...join me in celebrating composite decking— resists fading, staining, scratching and mold. It won’t rot, warp, crack or splinter. No sanding, staining or painting is required, and food and drink spills wash off easily with just soap and water. Hallelujah!

Photo courtesy or Rogue Pacific Lumber Co.

4. Freshwater Features

Nothing is more beautiful, calming and peaceful than the moving water in the garden. Natural style ponds, streams and waterfalls—we have one of the most talented water feature creators for your yard right here in the Rogue Valley, Andreatta Waterscapes. As an added bonus, they are we are also able to install hardscapes such as rock walls, patios and walkways. For more information, call Tonja Andreatta at (541) 664-4511. 

5. Fire pits and Fireplaces

As the sun goes down and the air cools, the warming and uplifting flames from fire complete my day. They add a sophisticated touch, a brilliant and blazing effect to any outdoor décor. Wood burning or gas, chimney, pit, open or screened—there are so many choices.

Photo courtesy of Copyleft 2000 - 2014 Billy Design Interior Magazine