Patio bummer

1. The Backyard Bummer
Welcome to Lorraine and Brian's patio. Set atop a steep slope, it's not exactly the most festive place. "I love parties," Lorraine told interior designer Nate Berkus, "I would like to have a backyard that I can entertain in."

Nate's going to have to dig his way out of this one! Reinventing this yawn of a yard is a big job, but he's up to the challenge.
Outdoor room

2. An Outdoor Room
Nate devised a concept to create a great space for entertaining. "I think we can create a folly, like they used to do in the country homes in England." Nate created an "outdoor room" that's ready for parties. Trellises create airy walls, and arches bring a touch of the English countryside to the suburbs.
Table and sofa

3. Blending With Nature
To add to the living-room feel of the new backyard, Nate chose outdoor furniture and accents. Everything from the wood to the candles is designed to blend with nature. Even the pillows are waterproof.

4. Smooth Slate
New, smooth slate replaces the uneven bricks on the ground.
Home before

5. The Hill Before
The biggest challenge? This sloping hill. Because of the steep incline, Nate's team built a retaining wall. It wasn't the prettiest thing to look at, so Nate had a solution...

6. Landscaping
To cover the unattractive concrete retaining wall, Nate decided to plant bushes and plants in front of it. Large trees grow near the trellis to provide privacy, too.
Grill nook

7. Grill Nook
"If you're going to entertain outside, you've got to have the grill," says Nate. "My problem is that grills are ugly, so we're going to create a special area so Lorraine and Brian don't have to look at this thing." Good thinking!

8. Lighting
Nate shows Lorraine and Brian a smart touch: small lights that are both functional and attractive. They'll look beautiful at night!

9. Before
Here's the patio before...

10. After
…and here it is after Nate worked his magic! Turns out this interior decorator knows a thing or two about the outside, too!


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