A living room outside

Decked out with cozy furniture, speakers, and fireplace, this yard gets used all year
Julie Chai

In regions where mild weather beckons nearly all year, outdoor living spaces are a natural complement to your lifestyle. So when Nancy and Gary Rossman remodeled their Scottsdale backyard, they ditched a large, unused lawn and replaced it with a furnished outdoor room.

With help from landscape architect Nancy E. Wagner, the Rossmans expanded their existing patio by 500 square feet and added a substantial fireplace. To create a focal point from indoors as well as the backyard, Wagner positioned the fireplace on the back corner. Low walls provide extra seating. "People are drawn to the patio," Nancy Rossman says. "Everyone who visits wants to sit outside."

Wagner softened the hardscape with flowering shrubs and vines, including cat's claw, Natal plum, palms, pink trumpet vine, pyracantha, and yellow oleander. She preserved mature ficus trees that provided useful screening, but pruned up the canopy to create a sense of spaciousness.

Decked out with cozy furniture, speakers, and ambient lighting, the outdoor room gets used year-round. "We feel like we added 500 square feet to our house," Nancy Rossman says.

DESIGN: Nancy E. Wagner, Arcadia Studio, Phoenix, AZ (928/533-8459)
INFO: Lamps on the seat wall are from On the Veranda in Phoenix, AZ (602/955-8690).