The ultimate guide to outdoor entertaining

Once upon a time all you needed was a grill and a picnic table, but no one stops there anymore. What homeowners are building outdoors rivals what theyre doing inside, says Josh Kane of Kane Landscapes in Sterling, Va. Theyre making the outdoor space more functional, with lighting, a fire pit or fireplace, and comfortable furniture.

You can start simply by lighting up the night with long-lasting LEDs and a portable fire pit to gather around. Underfoot, gravel walkways and patios are a European design style thats becoming more popular as a lower-cost alternative to stone and concrete. Overhead, a ceiling fan keeps the breeze moving. Outdoor fireplaces, and especially fire pits, have bec