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Outdoor rooms
The sustainable landscape : recycling materials, water conservation
Damon Lang with Darlene Claire Preussner.
Atglen, PA : Schiffer Pub., 2010.
See good design ideas that inspire you to create the ultimate, eco-friendly outdoor environment. 528 beautiful color photos detail 10 projects that are diverse in style and taste. Each incorporates recycled materials and principles of water efficiency. These creative design ideas can be installed in any climate and applied everywhere. A valuable resource for homeowners, landscape designers, contractors, and architects, this idea book will help you transform your yard into a personal and ecologically responsible paradise.
     
New ideas for living outdoors
Damon Lang & Darlene Claire Preussner.
Atglen, PA : Schiffer Publishing Ltd., 2010.
Turn any outdoor space into a personal paradise with these inspiring ideas. Over 330 beautiful color images present hardscape design elements to suit almost any personality or purpose. Tour gorgeous outdoor kitchens, inviting fireplaces, and to-die-for pool settings. Today we lead busy lives and the time spent with family and friends seems limited. It is important to make the most of casual living areas by creating spaces that fuel our desires, feed our souls, and stimulate our minds and bodies. Just looking at these amazing backyards will begin to erase the stress of your daily life. This book is a valuable resource for homeowners, designers, contractors, and all who want the ultimate outdoor retreat.
     
Backyards
by Bridget Biscotti Bradley and the editors of Sunset Books.
Menlo Park, CA : Sunset Pub., 2009.
Find all the latest ideas on design and materials, along with essential landscaping advice from professional garden designers, so that you can create a uniquely livable backyard.
     
Outdoor entertaining idea book
Natalie Ermann Russell.
Newtown, CT : Taunton Press, c2009.
The Outdoor Entertaining Idea Bookis the ultimate design guide for backyard fun, featuring hundreds of fresh, inspirational photos and jam-packed with thousands of ideas and nuggets of expert information about creating outdoor entertaining spaces. Filled with gorgeous photography and inspiring instruction, Tauntons latest Idea Book will help anyone create an amazing backdrop for their next get-together. Whether its for an intimate dinner party or a bustling family reunion, Natalie Ermann Russell shows homeowners how to create a wonderful variety of inviting outdoor spaces, from a fully functional kitchen to a contemplative garden room. She also lays out a full-course menu of plans for dining rooms, dry and wet bars, lighting details, media centers, and more.
     

You can expand your home by moving outside during three of four St. Louis seasons. An outdoor living area allows you to directly experience Mother Nature. The fragrance of roses, the rustle of a tree, the freshness of a spring breeze—all of these are blocked from your senses when you’re shut up in your house.

The charm of an outdoor living space is that we can be outside but with some protection.  Going beyond a patio or a deck, an outdoor room can have a roof that provides shade and some protection from rain. The walls of your room will define its feel. Half walls or walls made of semi-transparent material make nice transitions from the solid walls of your house. Lattice or screens are good for this. Perhaps you want a totally open feel. Columns that vertically define space work here.

Before building an outdoor room ask yourself:

Will this room be used for entertaining or relaxing?

What is the budget?

Does your plan require additional plumbing or electrical circuits?

Do you need a building permit?

You’ll find many furniture product lines designed for outdoor use.  Classic wicker porch furniture has been interpreted for today’s outdoor spaces made up in resin which stands up to all weather. Cushions and pillows are covered in tough acrylic fabrics, resistant to both sun and water to last for years. Furniture in classic materials such as metal and teak will also last a long time. Live plants make wonderful accents. Don’t forget lighting! Thoughtfully placed illumination can make a simple space dramatic.

Your home doesn’t have to be contained within the walls of your house. Open it up! Dining, relaxing, playing can all take place outside.

More about Outdoor kitchens

Article by: St. Louis Public Library staff