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10 Ways to Create an Outdoor Living Room

Keep it Private
Frame your view!
Frame your view!

When you want to hang out in the backyard, adding a couple of strategically placed faux walls can give you all the comforts -- and privacy -- of home. There are a surprising number of options.

Curtains -- Adding curtains can look surprisingly attractive and just right. Choose indoor-outdoor fabrics in cotton/poly blends that dry quickly and resist mildew. Billowy curtains look gauzy, opaque and totally charming. You do need a framework on which to hang a rod, but if you have a roof or arbor, installing curtains will solve your privacy problems in a very stylish way.

Bamboo blinds -- Bamboo or woven grass blinds that roll up and down have been used as sun screens on patios and around pools for decades. They look natural and are also inexpensive and easy to install. Many can be purchased in standard widths and then cut to fit. Installing bamboo blinds also requires some sort if overhead support.

Screens -- Consider using portable room dividers or screens in your outdoor room. You can move them around as needed for privacy or to block bright morning or late afternoon sunlight. Some even have planter bases for added stability. Look for dividers made of wrought iron, bamboo or wood.

Landscape plants -- Shrubs can do more than increase your home's curb appeal. They can add privacy to an outdoor room, too. Adding shrubs or dwarf trees to the areas adjacent to a deck or patio is a permanent solution and may be the cheapest long-term choice. It's also eco-friendly.