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Outstanding Outdoor Room Inspiration

Top designers share their ideas for making the most of your lawn, lanai, backyard or barbeque

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Photo 1 of 5This outdoor space is great for cooking, dining and relaxing, all while enjoying a view of the Pacific Ocean. (Photo by Michael McCreary)

BBQ With a View(1 of 5)

Whether it's a lanai or a loggia, a rolling green lawn or a tiny concrete terrace, your exterior space can add a whole new "room" to your property, providing additional square footage and setting the stage for al fresco dining, après-swim relaxing, and easy, breezy entertaining.

If you had a gorgeous view of the Pacific Ocean, wouldn’t you want to enjoy it as often as possible? Designer Nicole Sassaman ( and her husband have optimized the grand coastline vistas from their Malibu home by creating an expansive space for cooking, dining and relaxing — all just beyond the bi-fold glass doors of their indoor family room. On the upper level of the patio, an outdoor kitchen includes a 37-inch grill, a wok, a warming drawer, a refrigerator and a sink. A table and chairs of Sassaman’s own design allow for comfortable al fresco dining, and the couple cooks outdoors at least two or three times a week when the weather cooperates.

Down a flight of stairs, a firepit is the perfect place for roasting marshmallows or just warming up on a chilly evening; a separate deck above the guesthouse overlooks the entire property. "For us," says Sassaman, "it was important to create harmony by bringing the inside outdoors and the outdoors in. We wanted there to be the same comforts outside as we have in the house itself."

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