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Inviting Patio Escapes

Relax! Enjoying a beautiful summer day is easy on a well-designed patio. Take a tip from these great spaces.

Written by Sally Finder Weepie
  • Rob Cardillo

    Slate paving stones turn a slice of this backyard into a patio that's perfect for dining or just soaking up some sun. Tall hollies provide privacy while large containers of hydrangeas supply beautiful blooms. A clay chimenea brings in all the warmth of an outdoor fireplace but takes up just a tiny bit of space. A weathered-wood table and chairs inject rustic character—and can stand up to any weather.

    Landscape design: Meg Turner

  • John Merkl

    Among the Trees

    Flagstone interspered with lush green groundcover sets a casual mood for this patio, just outside a set of sliding glass doors. Olive trees shade the seating group, which features teak pieces by Sutherland Furniture. Striped pillows are from Janus et Cie. 

    Design: Hillary Thomas

  • John Bessler

    Urban Escape

    A wall of white brick topped with wrought-iron railing makes this patio feel like a hidden haven. It's fashion designer Ralph Rucci's place to get away—even though it's still in the heart of New York City. Potted trees, including feathery Japanese maples that inject a dash of rich red, bring lushness and privacy. A boxwood topiary in a weathered terra-cotta pot contrasts the chic glass-topped table. The wrought-iron furniture echoes the fence railing and at the same time is a pleasing juxtapostion to the red-brick patio floor.  

    Landscape design: John Wysocki

  • Emily Jenkins Followill

    Southern Hospitality

    No shade trees? No problem! Enlist the help of an umbrella to keep it cool on your patio. A cast-aluminum table and chairs by Frontgate offer a gracious spot for dining, while a plush sofa snuggled in next to the house expands the conversation zone. Soft green cushions echo the lush surroundings and contrast with the home’s yellow exterior. 

    Design: Bill Hudgins

  • John Bessler

    Tiny Gem

    A small brick patio surrounded by trees and gorgeous blooms makes for the ultimate backyard getaway. Faux bois furniture from Janus et Cie blends with the woodsy setting, giving the entire space a magical air.

    Landscape Design: Maureen Ford

    See more from this Southampton summer home.


  • Emily Minton Redfield

    Summer Bliss

    Adding a pergola, like this one draped with lush green vines, is another smart way to cast soothing shade on your patio. Here, the gray paint recedes, letting nature take the spotlight. Graceful, airy wrought-iron furniture mimics the shapes seen in an antique wood table. Brick walls add texture and contrast the bluestone pavers.

    Design: Rochelle Warner  
    Landscape architect: Mike Kaiser

    See more from this location.

  • Sweet Serenity

    A neutral palette sets a tranquil mood on this hardscaped patio. Interest comes from a variety of textures, including stone, natural wood, and rattan. Luxe cushions on the chairs from Janus et Cie invite lounging long into the evening. A fireplace wards off any chill.

    Design: Phoebe Howard

  • Fairy-Tale Enchantment

    Underneath an ornate chandelier hung from a pergola, this garden patio, with a floor of whimsical yet sturdy stones, is the perfect place for alfresco dining or impromptu tea parties. Iron chairs repeat the feel of the ornate chandelier but in a slightly different tone. Any table can be pulled into use for the day—just cover it with linens for an elegant mood. 

  • Lucas Allen

    Under Cover

    Creating a patio space adjacent to the house and under the roof makes for a retreat that can be savored even on rainy days. Inspired by the Hamptons, architects Cliff Duch and Joseph Cronk designed a handsome home in a decidedly Northeastern vernacular. Shake shingle siding makes for a textural wall that offers pleasing contrast to the stone floor and beaded-board ceiling. Rope accents on the furniture pieces, from Frontgate, inject even more texture and look fresh against an antique console and the classic lanterns from Circa Lighting.

    Design: Andrew Howard

    Click through this Florida home.

  • Tria Giovan

    Seaside Sophistication

    Awning-stripe Sunbrella fabric keeps seating relaxed on this bluestone patio, which offers conversation space with water views. The patio is near enough to the pool to keep an eye on swimmers but far enough away to avoid steer clear of splashes. Ceramic garden stools serve as character-rich side tables that stand up to any weather. Flowers soften stone walls.

    Design: Ken Gemes

  • Backyard Magic

    A patio doesn't have to be permanent. Gathering outdoors can be as easy as tossing a few cushions atop a weatherproof rug and around a decorative table. Tucked between tall hedges, the durable outdoor fabrics in electric hues capture the imagination in this Moroccan-inspired retreat. 

  • Colleen Duffley

    Tropical Flair

    Designer India Hicks, shown with partner David Flint Wood and their daughter Domino, knows how to create a stylish outdoor haven. She sited a seating group under a shady Bismarckia palm tree, then filled out the scene with brilliant pink bougainvillea and a medley of green plants in terra-cotta pots. Smooth stone pavers are scooter-friendly.

    Tour the rest of India Hicks' garden.

  • Werner Straube

    Chicago Hot Spot

    Bill and Giuliana Rancic enjoy alfresco meals on the back patio of their Windy City home on many a summer evening. A pergola provides shade, while heat lamps installed on the beams make the space usable even if there's a chill in the air. Furniture pieces mesh with the wood privacy screens. 

    Design: Lonni Paul

    Check out the rest of the Rancic's Chicago home.


  • Michael Garland

    Multipurpose Marvel

    Bill and Guiliana Rancic's previous home in California featured a covered patio long enough to be divided into two zones—one for dining and one for conversation or private lounging. Sofas covered in white outdoor fabric, along with blue-and-white pillows and garden accessories, turned this space into Giuliana's favorite spot to watch TV, talk on the phone to girlfriends, or just curl up and enjoy some time in solitude. "It became my go-to alone place, where I can be still and listen to nature," she says.

    Design: Lonni Paul

  • John Granen