Get 6 simple tips for transforming your space into an outdoor oasis.
Patioscaping is a perfect way for you to have a relaxing place to escape to this summer, and you need to look no further than your own backyard. Just beyond the patio doors is a perfect outdoor space you can easily transform into a personal retreat—whether you want to be away from the madding crowd or just enjoy relaxing with family and friends. The solution is patioscaping: the art of transforming a simple backyard into an elegant outdoor oasis.

Many homeowners are opting to stay at home more often, and even to vacation at home—a trend that has helped coin the phrase "staycation." According to one poll, two-thirds of homeowners say they would rather have a barbecue or cookout at home than eat at a restaurant.

Beyond alfresco meals, the trend for creating outdoor rooms also continues. Despite the economy, many consumers are engaging in outdoor entertaining, and while they are monitoring spending, they have found it acceptable to invest in select household items, from fire pits and outdoor fireplaces to outdoor lighting, furniture and décor.

The good news is that with patioscaping, you can create a beautiful outdoor patio space without having to make a significant investment in remodeling. The following patioscaping tips can make a big difference in the look and functionality of your outdoor space.

Know your home's style.

It's important to have an understanding of your home's architectural style when creating an outdoor room, so that your outdoor patio space complements your indoor living space. Whatever theme you carry outdoors, it should reflect your home's style, whether it's a Victorian, a Craftsman or a ranch-style home.

Determine the use of your space.

Once you know the general architectural style of your home and, by extension, your patioscape, it's time to think about the activities you want to enjoy. If you like to entertain, consider planning a food preparation area or built-in counter to serve as a buffet or serving space. If you want to lounge and read in blissful silence, include a hammock, chaise lounges or wooden benches with pillows covered in durable outdoor fabrics. Make a sketch using scale-model drawings of furniture you'd like to include on your patio.

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