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4 Rules for Arranging Your Backyard

Interior designer Abbie Naber divulges how to give your outdoor space a chic update
Jennifer Siegwart Rebecca Batista


Define your outdoor use

Consider your lifestyle. If you love to cook, a dining setup is your go-to. If relaxing is more you, a “hangout area” with a couch and chairs is probably up your alley. If you can’t sit still, a bocce court with a surrounding seating area could suffice.

Think versatile and durable

The easiest way to blend your decor is to literally take it inside and out—or vice versa. Go for furniture made of natural fibers, like equipale and jute, that look just as good inside or out and can withstand plenty of wear and tear.

Complement, don’t match

Consider what room your outdoor space is accessible from, and find pieces that complement one another, such as black outdoor pillows to connect a black countertop inside. “You don’t want everything to look alike, like it was purchased all in one place at the same time,” Naber says. “You want it to look thoughtful.”

Start big

Trying to outfit an entertaining area from scratch? Start with the big purchases, like a dining table, sofa, or other statement pieces—Naber says she’s seen an uptick of requests for vintage fireplaces, from prewar to midcentury designs. Style the furniture atop an outdoor rug, or surround the area with planter boxes to clearly define your entertaining zone.

4 Rules for Arranging Your Backyard

Jennifer Siegwart Rebecca Batista

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