Bathe in beauty with a backyard haven for relaxing!

Outdoor Lighting:

Forget typical ceiling fans and create different levels of lighting with gas sconces, chandeliers, and table lamps. Nothing flickers like real flame in a gas lantern. If you’d rather stick with the convenience of a ceiling fan, consider adding misters for warm climates and radiant floor heaters for cold climates.

Choose a gorgeous chandelier made of iron, crystal, or blown glass as a sophisticated accent piece for covered outdoor rooms. Melted glass coutertops fed with fiber optics illuminate cocktail glasses with color and guests with ambient light. Design your outdoor space with specific focal points in mind.

Fireplaces and Trellises:

Outdoor fireplaces and heavy timber trellis structures turn an outdoor space into an outdoor room. Both elements also make the area usable year-round, with the fireplace offering warmth in winter and the trellis offering shade in summer. Plus, two-sided fireplaces create a natural separation for living and dining areas. Nothing does a better job of defining the outdoor living room than a large structure like a pergola to define space and give an outdoor room a more intimate feeling. Don’t forget artwork! Any interesting art that can be outside is a great accent, like a wall hanging or a Balinese stone statue. Divide your patio and yard into separate areas to accommodate groups of people.

Outdoor Fabric & Accessories:

Comfortable seating with luxurious fabrics and pillows blurs the lines between the indoors and outdoors. Draperies add softness and privacy. Use vibrant colors and high-quality fabrics, like Sunbrella, Robert Allen, or Kravet.

Outdoor Furniture:

Never cut corners when buying furniture. Cheap furniture can destroy the look of a carefully planned design. Manufacturer, Jordan Brown, uses high-quality, comfortable teak furniture with Sunbrella’s colorful cushions. Design your outdoors to accommodate an outdoor kitchen for those fun nights of barbecuing out by the poolside.

Outdoor Kitchens:

As one of the most common big-ticket items, outdoor kitchens are now built with a variety of features, like side burners, warming drawers, refrigerators, beer taps, and beverage/cocktail centers designed for entertaining. Popular designs include an outdoor kitchen with surround sound and drop-down plasma TV screens.

Pots and Planters:

Pots can set the room’s theme and can make or break a good design. Use only high-quality, frost-proof terracotta from a reputable company such as Seibert & Rick because mismatched old pots will destroy the look. Place three large pots on an outdoor room patio or behind a chair or loveseat to help define outdoor spaces. Fire and water are opposite, yet complementing elements in an outdoor space.

Water Features:

My favorite pieces to splurge on in a garden room are accent pieces like water features and pottery. An artistic water feather or beautiful pottery placed carefully in the landscape can bring the surrounding plants and hardscape to life. Depending on the color scheme and style of the the garden, picking up one accent color used elsewhere int he design is a great way to tie in the decorative elements with the rest of the space.


Surround-sound rock speakers throughout the garden make a great impact on your music selections. Always use multiple speakers so that sound volume can be kept lower and more ambient. The biggest mistake people make is putting speakers at the back of the house over the main patio. This makes it difficult for people to hear themselves talk.

Audra Wrightson, CID, ASID Interior Designer / Orange County, CA

(714) 904-7431


Audra Wrightson, Certified Interior Designer

Over the last two decades, Audra has become one of the most sought-after interior designers in Southern California. Named one of Orange County’s top 5 Interior Designers by CBS News and the recipient of many design awards, Audra has gained local recognition for her work, and enjoys being active in giving back to local charity organizations in Orange County, California.