The season for warmer temperatures and entertaining outdoors is almost here. International award-winning designer Christopher Grubb has compiled his top tips for transforming outdoor patios, verandas, and backyards into pleasing and private spaces. In a series of 10 segments for eHow, Grubb covers topics from incorporating canopies and curtains to decorating with Tuscan flair. As the president and founder of Arch-Interiors Design Group in Beverly Hills, Grubb has used these tried and true methods to create beautiful and welcoming outdoor spaces for his upscale clientele for over 25 years.

Decorate an Outside Canopy

Outdoor canopies are a great way to shade an area from the sun while adding an interesting architectural element. Use curtains and valances to make the space feel cozy and inviting. Pleated fabric adds visual interest to the underside of a canopy

Decorating a Veranda

Grubb considers a veranda to be an outdoor living room. It’s the perfect space to entertain and host family gatherings. Smaller scale furniture is easy to move around and reconfigure as needed and elements like area rugs and curtains help define the space.

Tuscan Decorating Outdoors

To get the warm and welcoming look of Italy’s Tuscany region, start with greenery and add elements of terracotta and gold, such as glazed pots in various shapes and sizes. Incorporate a marble table for a true Italian feel.

Privatize Your Patio

Most backyards could use a little privacy. Since fences are low, aim high with trellises and hedges. Some types of ficus trees and bamboo can grow up to 20-feet tall or more. These are a great option when you’re next door to a two-story home.

Outside Curtains and Blinds

“Outside curtains are one of my favorite things to use because they have a softness and they bring an interior quality to the outdoors,” Grubb explains. Start with a main fabric, either a solid or a pattern.  Add a border for contrast and tiebacks for a little personality and flexibility. With the plethora of fabrics available, the only limit is the imagination.

Creating Shade on a Patio

Everyone loves to entertain on the patio, but sometimes the sunlight makes it a challenge to truly enjoy it. Instead of umbrellas, a fabric awning creates shade and feels more like an outdoor room. An adjustable fabric awning that you can create yourself lets you choose which areas to cover and when.

Image Credits: Photo courtesy of Christopher Grubb.