Top 10 Outdoor Trends
From luxe spas to backyard kitchens.


By Brack Johnson


Whether it's a state-of the-art kitchen in an expansive Pittsboro backyard or a wallet-friendly retreat in a Raleigh courtyard, this month's focus is out of doors. Here's what's hot!



1. Outdoor rooms   2. Food   3. Carolina natives
Furnishings and amenities, including TV and audio systems, create spaces with the feel and function of indoor rooms.   Gardens grow herbs, fruit and vegetables as well as chickens and bees.   Easily sustainable, drought-tolerant plants and trees like to live here.

4. Water   5. Indoor styles   6. Fire
Fountains and other ornamental water features are in vogue.   Fade-resistant and waterproof outdoor fabrics, made possible by acrylic fibers, allow for comfy furniture.   Nights are ablaze with all kinds of fire pits and fireplaces.
7. Natural areas   8. Structures   9. Spas
Less grass and more meadow is key.   Arbors, pergolas, elevated dining areas and tree houses are impressive.   Places to go "ah," such as hot tubs, whirlpools and saunas, are tops.
10. Outdoor kitchens, dining areas and bars
Only a grill? That's so 2012!