Courtesy mitch moore1 p4jxfg

Courtesy Mitch Moore

Courtesy mitch moorebw d4sqc3

The Experts

Mitch Moore, Sawhorse Design
Lisa Staton, Lisa Staton Design

It’s practically a crime to neglect a home’s outdoor space during Seattle’s redeeming summer months. So let this be the year to ditch the plastic patio furniture and the rain-warped Ping-Pong table for a setup worthy of weekend barbecues and alone time with a book under the late-setting sun. A builder and a local designer share some ways to get the most out of that backyard patio, second-story deck, and rooftop with a view.

Create Rooms

The ideal patio arrangement contains a lounging area and a dining area, but “it’s important to prioritize use,” says Moore. An outdoor kitchen is great if you have ambitious dreams of grilling, but a waste of real estate for big families looking to maximize space.

Survive the Elements

Wood equals mold on a damp property, says Mitch Moore. “If deck maintenance isn’t your thing, concrete will hold up better over time.” For the off-season, Lisa Staton suggests investing in double-blind furniture covers with insulated seams and tie-down hooks to keep covers from Wizard of Oz–ing onto someone else’s property.

Control the Shade

“Shade is tricky,” says Staton. “You want it when you want it, but not all the time.” Umbrellas remain a classic option for adjustable coverage throughout the day. Some of her clients opt for sailcloth hung between structures. This can be adjusted over seating areas and won’t block too much natural light from the home.

Stay Warm

A wood-burning fire pit is romantic, but hooking it up to a gas line is more practical for year-round use. Gas fire pits can go modern or traditional—crushed glass or stone or faux wood. Either way, Staton suggests adding a lip to create a useful surface. And Moore prefers anything hardwired over portable or standing patio heaters. “Propane always has a way of running out at the worst time.”

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