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Outdoor Summer Decorating Made Easy

Break out the hammock, fluff the pillows and kick back in style with three fab ways to have fun under the sun, courtesy of HGTV's Jamie Durie.

By Kate Doherty

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Outside Picnic Table With Flowers
Photoshot/Red Cover/Johnny Bouchier
Bryan McCay
Bryan McCay
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Bryan McCay
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Bill Stites
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Photoshot/Red Cover/Mark Williams
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Romantic Retreat

Transport a deck to the English countryside with curvy silhouettes, floral prints and pretty pastels. "We're all good at feathering our nests—so just decorate your outside space as if it were an area inside your home," says Jamie Durie, author of The Outdoor Room.

—Choose furniture that looks antique, either new pieces or second-hand gems, suggests Durie. Make sure your picks are meant to be left outside.

—Play with a mix of patterns in a pale and neutral color palette.

—Plant roses, irises and other fragrant blooms in nearby containers for a subtle scent and flourish.

—Create an area for taking shelter from the sun—an umbrella, canopy or pergola stylishly offers shade.

—Extra touches like charming table linens and an outdoor rug make a patio feel as pulled together as your dining or living room.

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Global Groove

Give your backyard a hint of foreign intrigue with low cushions, spicy colors and flickering candlelight inspired by far-flung locales. "It's all about creating a personal oasis where your family can relax," explains Durie.

—From cool summer evenings through crisp autumn days, a fire pit extends the season.

—For a meditative and soothing accent, add a bubbling tabletop fountain (they're a cinch to set up) or just float flower heads in a bowl.

—Scatter chaises, floor pillows and poufs in weatherproof fabrics for lounging. To make a major impact, Durie suggests arranging a daybed with plenty of cushions.

—Select pieces that have a handmade artisan feel. Seek out materials like hammered metal, rough-hewn wood and dark wicker.

—Opt for bamboo and large-leafed plants rather than delicate blossoms.

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Contemporary Comfort

Sleek shapes and electric hues are the calling cards of a modern lounge area. "Your outdoor room should be an extension of your personality and character," notes Durie.

—Add a graphic punch to streamlined metal furniture with accessories in geometric designs.

—When the sun goes down, try solar-powered lamps and LED lanterns for illumination.

—No need to buy new chairs. Durie recommends just replacing the cushions—like updating faded chintzes with dynamic stripes—for a quick style makeover.

—Forgo plain white paper plates in favor of vibrant melamine dinnerware; it's festive and can be used again and again.

—Spruce up your table with a fresh coat of paint. High gloss works best for a polished finish.

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Originally published in the June 2011 issue of Family Circle magazine.

This piece was accurate at publication time, but all prices, offerings and styles are subject to change.

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