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2012 outdoor living trends can easily update your patio or deck
An example of how outdoor living trends can transform your patio or deck. - photo by Photo Contributed

More homeowners want their outdoor space to truly be an extension of their house and are taking steps to create an inviting area to relax, play and host guests. If you want to update your deck or patio for warm weather entertaining, you don't have to spend a lot of time or money. You can easily refresh the items you already have and add new stylish elements by keeping some top trends and design ideas in mind.

Consider these tips from the design experts at Lowe's to help transform your space into a welcoming outdoor oasis. With just a few easy outdoor home improvement changes, you'll have the best patio on the block.

Mix functional furniture

The line between indoor and outdoor design is blurring. You can coordinate the style of adjacent indoor and outdoor rooms, since you and your guests will likely spend time in both. No matter if you have a large outdoor deck or a simple small patio, many affordable, stylish outdoor furniture options are available from Allen Roth. Set up furniture with flow in mind, grouping pieces together to encourage comfort, conversation and a view of nature.

Add colorful accessories

Incorporating rugs, outdoor pillows, candles and other accessories in vivid colors or fun patterns can really make your outdoor space come alive. Pick three to four colors for your scheme and stick with those colors throughout your design choices. Some of the season's top hues include rich reds, vivid blues, soothing neutrals and garden-inspired greens. Metal accents are popular as well, so look for decor with gold or silver detailing for a design that's modern with a tropical flare.

Incorporate a fire pit

An outdoor bonfire likely evokes pleasant memories of the past, so incorporate a fire pit into your patio space so your whole family can enjoy time together roasting marshmallows, telling stories and gazing at the stars. Today's modern fire pits are both stylish and useful, adding a cozy ambiance while warding off the chill on cooler nights. Plus when the seasons do change and fall brings with it lower temperatures, you can still enjoy the beautiful outdoor space you've created because you'll be comfortably warm. Remember to look for options that have a removable screen, so you can open when needed for cooking and then close to keep the fire safely contained.

Create privacy

Just because you're outdoors doesn't mean that you don't want a bit of privacy from neighbors or passersby. The good news is it's easy to create boundaries to your space by using a pergola or outdoor curtains. These options tie in nicely with other outdoor design trends and can give just the right amount of privacy, creating your own outdoor "room" in which to enjoy the long, sunny days.

Light the night

Lighting can really make your outdoor space come alive once the sun goes down. Add depth and intrigue by "lightscaping" from different sources. Consider putting up string lights that provide a magical setting that is sure to dazzle guests long after darkness falls. Add an intimate wall lantern next to the patio door or eco-friendly LED garden and path lights to add a soft illumination to outdoor space.

Grow an herb garden

There's nothing that adds the flavors of summer to food like fresh herbs. One of today's top trends is to have a container garden so you always have your favorite herbs on hand to freshly pick. Popular herbs that are easy to grow include basil, chives, cilantro, dill, fennel and mint. When planting, use containers that complement your outdoor design. Vintage styles that feature aged patinas are very popular this year.

To organize your ideas and keep track of outdoor projects, create a MyLowe's profile at Develop and store your wish list in MyLowe's to help transform your drab deck into a stylish patio that just begs for you to kick up your feet, enjoy a cold drink and converse with family and friends.