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By: Mark Etinger
Summer has always felt like the most sought after season, and it usually flies by all too quickly. Cold winters never seem to end, but summer is here for now and will be gone before you know it. Make the most of the warm weather by spending it outdoors instead of cooped up inside the home, even if there is air conditioning in there. Forget the plastic lawn chairs, too. Instead, invest in beautiful patio furniture to create an oasis in your own backyard. It may not compete with the sandy beaches of a tropical island, but you'll feel much more inclined to entertain and spend family time outside in the backyard.

Designing the backyard can be just as difficult and time consuming as the rest of your home. To make the task seem less daunting, decide what type of setting it is that you want. Is the area going to be just a retreat for your family, maybe a few friends? Do you plan on entertaining frequently? Will your backyard be the hotspot of the summer filled with weekly barbecues? Those looking for the former may want to keep the design simple. An outdoor table along with some seating might be all you need to stay comfortable. People who like to throw parties, on the other hand, will want to "go all out." Patio tables, couches, maybe even a fire pit can create the perfect retreat.

After deciding the atmosphere you want to create, assess the space. How much furniture can you actually fit? Keep in mind you do not want to overcrowd the space. The backyard should still be an area full of plants, a garden, trees, etc. Even if you have guests over frequently, not everyone will need to sit at once and it's easy to pick up a few folding side chairs that can be stowed away when not in use. Come up with a layout that is appropriate for the space and take measurements.

Now it's time to take the idea in your head and make it a reality. Start browsing for patio furniture online to get an idea of what specific style you like. Teak patio furniture gives off the tropical vibe, mentally whisking you away to distant islands. Wood furniture is fairly easy to maintain and will look beautiful of course. Rattan holds up well outside and won't easily fade in the constant sunlight. Be careful when choosing certain outdoor metal furniture. Some might be more partial to rust if left out during frequent summer downpours.

Besides style, think about maintenance. Outdoor furniture is meant to stay outdoors, but some items might require covering during inclement weather. Do you want low maintenance patio furniture or is the design most important to you? Tackle the task one step at a time and soon you'll create an outdoor space that you long to enjoy all year.

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