26 Feb Terraces or lawns fitted with outdoor fireplaces or fire pits, coupled with comfortable seating groupings and an adjacent pond, pool or waterfall provide a perfect setting for a good drink, lively conversation and a glimpse of the stars under the moonlight. Add a pavilion, a hammock, some indigenous plantings and an outdoor kitchen (food always tastes better outdoors to me anyway) and you may never want to go back inside.

These outdoor venues are a terrific way to express one’s individual taste and personality. They transcend age and gender, their appeal is universal and they can be as casual or as sophisticated as one chooses.

Arbors, gazebos, reflecting pools, Koi ponds, waterfalls; moonlighting, you name it, the choices and combinations are only bounded by your imagination. And yes, you can always make room for that flat screen.

While one may think that these oasis inspired retreats are only for the wealthy, effective outdoor living really can be achieved on a budget. Retailers, seeing a burgeoning market, have embraced the outdoor living concept as well, and have quickly moved to take full advantage of this trend. By offering reasonably priced furnishings, accessories and gadgets they have made the outdoor living experience more affordable than ever.

Be it a $10,000 stainless steel do it all grill or a $100.00 hardware store special, a hand built stacked stone fireplace or a portable chimney, the allure of outdoor living is within the grasp of everyone’s budget.

Next time you are relaxing in your piece of backyard paradise, take a deep breath and gaze skyward. You just may be closer to heaven than you think.

Written by Barry Coyle

Sibet B Freides