With all the innovations in outdoor living in recent years, it’s no wonder people are having a hard time knowing where to begin creating their own private backyard escape. Choosing the right outdoor furniture to fit your lifestyle and needs can sometimes be daunting, so we’ve listed some easy steps to help you get started. Use outdoor furniture to create intimate areas where family & friends can gather for relaxation or conversation.

1. Create a layout.

Before you begin, look at your outdoor spaces and how they relate to the adjoining indoor rooms. If your space is limited, make a quick drawing with measurements. Take your drawing with you when you shop. This will not only help you select the right pieces and quantities, but it will also help you select the correct scale for your new patio furniture. The last thing you want is large, over-sized outdoor furniture cramped into a small space.

2. Consider function.

Decide whether you want a lot of outdoor seating, an ample dining area, or a place for private, quiet relaxation. Is patio dining your priority or would comfortable deep seating fit your lifestyle better? A comfy lounge chair and ottoman are perfect for reading the newspaper, a great book, enjoying the view or stargazing. Do you have a large family? Dining tables are now available in many sizes and shapes that can seat from 4 to 12 people.

3. Find your style.

Styles of patio furniture abound, and no matter what your tastes are, there is a style to match. Consider the look you want, from Tuscan to contemporary, you’re sure to find the style that’s right for you. If your home’s decor is more linear, stay with patio furniture that features clean lines. If you prefer more ornate decor, try finding styles that feature elegant details in the frame design.

4. Choose your colors.

The right color scheme is available in fabrics designed for virtually any climate. First, decide whether your goal is to blend your furniture into your existing environment, or make it a focal point. Next, step back and look at your casual living areas including colors of your house, patio surface, pool, plants and other decor. Select a few dominant colors and a few accent colors. To create flow, repeat colors from adjacent interior rooms as accents.

5. Pick your materials.

A wide variety of options are available in aluminum patio furniturecast aluminum furniturewrought iron furniturewicker furniture, synthetic wicker, teak and more. Create interest with a combination of frame materials or coordinate cushion patio furniture and sling furniture for your covered and full sun patios. For outdoor cushions, stay with material that is 100% solution-dyed acrylic. Sunbrella is one of the most popular fabrics available. If you choose to go with sling furniture, make sure the material is infused with UV inhibitors for long lasting durability.

6. Accessorize.

Now that you’ve chosen the right style and colors for your furniture, add outdoor accessories to complete your look. Choose from outdoor rugsthrow pillowsoutdoor lightingpatio umbrellastable top and wall accessories to add the final touches to your outdoor rooms.

Download our “Outdoor Furniture Buying Guide” for FREE!

Loaded with important information about the different types of patio furniture materials and styles as well as great style tips from our team of designers, you’ll find everything you’ll need to help you create your own backyard escape. As an added bonus, we’ve also included a useful checklist that you can complete and take with you when you go shopping for patio furniture.