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6 Expert Tips for Getting Your Backyard Ready for Summer Parties

03/23/2015 10:04 am ET | Updated May 23, 2015

Once warmer weather hits, nothing is better than lounging outdoors surrounded by bright flowers, lush trees and, of course, family and friends. Good planning of outdoor areas is essential to maximizing relaxing, enjoyment and entertaining and making sure the space fits all of your needs. Here, six landscape designers share their advice for creating outdoor spaces that you'll never want to leave.

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Tip #1: Extend the Shade. "These days, so many people want to stay out of the sun and sit in the shade. Having a nicely sized covered space (roof or awning) that is exposed to the outside is so very desirable. Jockeying for shade under an umbrella just doesn't cut it. - Mario Nievera, Nievera Williams Design

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Teak Deep Seating Loveseat, Goldenteak (price upon request) // Coach House on Hanging Chain, Bevolo Gas & Electric Lights ($675)

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Tip #2: Give Careful Consideration to the Furniture. From a teak L sofa tucked into a dune of grasses at a beachfront property to a black wrought iron dining set on a city penthouse terrace, the style and layout of the furniture will set the tone for the space. - Robin Kramer, Robin Kramer Garden Design

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Majorelle Outdoor Fabric, Martyn Lawrence Bullard (price upon request) // Loungeset Lazise, Muubs ($3,843)

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Tip #3: Encourage Intimacy. "The best outdoor spaces are generous for good flow but intimate in scale. Keeping the furnishings simple yet functional creates a setting for memorable gatherings." - Doyle Herman Design Associates

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Weathered Teak Table by GRANGE Furniture via the New York Design Center ($2,285) // Stainless Steel Planter, Avantgarden ($1,500) // Teak Chippendale Chair, Goldenteak (price upon request)

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Tip #4: Think About How It All Works Together. "Everything matters. Everything. It's not just the details - it's the energy of the whole. Use form and color liberally to create patterns throughout the entertaining area, and then repeat the patterns in large and small ways." - Janice Parker, Janice Parker Landscape Architects

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White Indoor/Outdoor Chaise Lounge, Marmol Radziner ($9,500) // Terrace Dining Side Chair, David Iatesta (price upon request) // French Planter, David Iatesta (price upon request)

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Tip #5: Treat Your Outdoor Space Like a Room. "Having lived on both coasts as well as in Europe, I know that eating outside is always a favorite when the weather is warm. Outdoor living has become the new center of landscape design, where gardens are likened to rooms in a home. In this outdoor dining room, we mounted heat onto a planted trellis to extend the pleasure of the meal, prolonging conversation and enjoyment. Additionally, pillows were added, some designed by me for Neiman Marcus and Horchow, called the Katharine Webster Collection." - Katharine Webster, Katharine Webster Landscape Design

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Piano Dining Table, Harbour Outdoor (price upon request) // Outdoor Fabrics, Soane Britain (price upon request) // Terrace Planter, David Iatesta (price upon request)

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Tip #6: Plan for Cooler Weather. "It's always nice to have some flexibility in your outdoor space. Here in this poolside location, we designed a fire pit for gatherings in cooler weather, which in summer gets covered by a large box cushion for lounging and sunning." - John Howard, Howard Design Studio

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