Select furniture frames made of brushed aluminum, cast aluminum, solid wrought iron or weather-resistant wicker.
Use worry-free fabrics, such as Sunbrella, for your upholstered pieces. The fabric dries quickly and is easy to clean. It also resists mildew and fading.
Consider canvas awnings and umbrellas or shades to control sun.
Families might prefer bench seating because one bench can seat several children. Benches also are more economical than individual chairs.
Choose rugs made from acrylic or olefin. They are easy to care for and resist fading.
Create an outdoor room over a few years to accommodate your wish list if you are on a budget. During the first year, install the hearth products and define grilling and eating areas.
Outdoor fireplaces, water features and grills (and outdoor kitchens) provide natural gathering spots and can be handsome focal points for an outdoor area.
Larger decks and multiple conversation areas are popular.
Sophisticated lighting, such as sconces, chandeliers and lamps, help create a mood and allow you to spend more time outdoors.
Decorative low-voltage lighting, wired into the deck steps and posts or along pathways, adds an element of safety.
Draperies made from indoor-outdoor fabrics attached to stone or wood columns create intimacy.
Gray is a popular color group in outdoor furniture and fabrics in 2012, but browns are still in demand.
Colorful accessories add fun, such as rugs and outdoor pillows.
Families with young children are using newer outdoor fabrics on their indoor furniture.
Distributed by MCT Information Services