An image of an outdoor seating area that features LA style

Contemporary Outdoor Furniture: Creating an LA Style Backyard

Mar 03, 2022Trevor Ferguson

You don’t have to live in Los Angeles to create an LA-style backyard using contemporary outdoor furniture. It’s easy to incorporate this trendy look no matter where you live.

Californians have perfected outdoor living. LA is in a region that boasts year-round warm temperatures, making outdoor living possible long after the rest of the country has packed away their patio furniture. Angelenos know how to craft a contemporary outdoor space that allows for stylish outdoor living. From outdoor dinner parties to drought-friendly gardens, LA residents know how to live a chic SoCal garden lifestyle.

Fortunately, their brand of stylish outdoor living is within reach for people outside of this trend-setting metropolis. Read on to find out more about LA style.

LA Contemporary Outdoor Style

Contemporary outdoor style can help you create the perfect backyard oasis. “Contemporary” simply refers to what’s happening now and the styles of the current moment. It’s not to be confused with modern style, which refers to a specific period’s furniture and décor styles.

Today, contemporary style can be hard to pin down. It’s inspired by minimalism, Art Deco, modernism, and global style movements. The style makes use of clean lines, natural silhouettes, and neutral shades. It blends natural materials like teak wood and jute with chrome, steel, and nickel.

Outdoor contemporary style similarly features this aesthetic. It favors smaller outdoor furniture with a sleek look. Simplistic designs and clean lines define these contemporary outdoor furniture pieces. This iconic look blends these pieces with bright, bold colors and patterns, and trendy accent pieces.

LA-based interior designers, architects, landscape designers, and other tastemakers have put their own spin on this style. They’re building outdoor spaces with LA flavor. To cater to LA’s sun worshippers and meet the needs of a region that takes being outdoors seriously, these influencers have put an innovative spin on contemporary outdoor style, adding an element of unfussy elegance to the look. Here are just a few ways they’re doing it.

  • Global style elements from just across the border are popular. Mexican ceramics and tiles and Spanish arches are a great addition to any contemporary outdoor space.
  • LA backyards often feature an outdoor “room.” For this region where backyard living is a way of life, outdoor spaces should have all the comforts of the indoors and create a sense of enclosure. Romantic pergolas or chic resort-style cabanas are excellent ways to create a room-like dining or lounge area.
  • LA is known for being green, and its outdoor spaces reflect that. Environmentally friendly irrigation tubes, recycled rugs, drought-tolerant plants, and edible greenery like fruit-bearing trees are prominent in many SoCal backyards.
  • Nighttime is when the real party starts for Angelenos. String lights and other outdoor lighting are featured heavily, and firepits or tables allow people to enjoy the outdoors even when there’s a chill in the air.
  • Southern California homes blur the lines between indoors and out. Residents try to bring elements of stunning California landscapes to their property. Potted plants are common in indoor and outdoor spaces alike.
  • Californians want outdoor spaces for self-care. Meditation spaces, tranquil water features, and yoga nooks can turn a backyard into a relaxing retreat for quiet contemplation.
  • The sun can be harsh during the day, so it’s important to create shade. Sun-blocking trees, umbrellas, shade sails, and trellises make it easy to enjoy your space in the noon-day sun.

READ MORE: Elle Décor breaks down the differences between contemporary and modern design styles.

Best Contemporary Outdoor Pieces for Getting the LA Look

The right outdoor furniture is key when you’re creating a contemporary look. These pieces instantly bring a touch of LA to any backyard. Natural teak wood furniture is perfect for this style. These ultra-luxe pieces wouldn’t look out of place at any of the city’s trendiest outdoor hotspots.

Aerial view of rectangular Barbados Dining Table

Barbados Coffee Table

Entertain your backyard besties in your lounge seating area around this outdoor coffee table. The natural teak wood tabletop and powder-coated aluminum base provide an interesting contrast that is so contemporary, and it provides a sturdy perch for morning matcha lattes, afternoon green juices, and evening Sauvi Blanc.

9 Ft California Umbrella

The LA sun is relentless. Block it with this commercial-grade umbrella from the Newport Series by California Umbrella. It comes with your choice of charming nautical fabric colors and patterns that evoke beach living and the mighty Pacific.

Barbados Lounge Chair

This sling lounge chair is ideal for beachside or poolside seating. The durable powder-coated aluminum frame with sophisticated teak accents can withstand harsh elements like salt water, sands, and chlorinated water. Its minimalist design works well for contemporary California looks. They’re stackable, so you can have extra seating on hand when you need it.

Lunar Fire Bowl

A fire element in your backyard is the ultimate contemporary design element. A sleek, sculptural piece like the Lunar Fire Bowl adds an interesting aesthetic element to this functional piece. You’ll love gathering your friends around this fire bowl on nights when the air is crisp.

Barbados Dining Table

This round outdoor dining table blends aluminum and teak for another classic contemporary look with coastal vibes. Outdoor space is often at a premium in desirable SoCal locations like LA and Palm Springs, and round dining tables work well in compact backyards. They also look great and make it easy to include everyone in the conversation.

Where to Find LA Contemporary Style

This style is essentially a take on contemporary coastal. It infuses coastal style with a dressed-down, sophisticated aesthetic popular throughout Southern California and adapts it for LA lifestyles and sensibilities. The city’s outdoor hotspots like L.P. Rooftop Bar, the pool at The Beverly Hills Hotel, and the patio at Tower Bar are emblematic of the look.

LA is a center of culture that influences trendy spots around the country. You’ve probably seen design elements of LA style in chic outdoor spaces near you. You’ll find it in fine homes, luxury resorts, trendy restaurants, and exclusive rooftop bars in your town, or if you haven’t yet, you probably will soon.

READ MORE: This Los Angeles Times article unpacks backyard style for Angelenos with tips and real-life inspo for creating a stylish outdoor space.

Which Homes Work Best With This Style?

LA outdoor style is versatile and can blend with practically any home. People expect outdoor furniture to make a nod to coastal living even in landlocked locations.

You don’t have to do a complete overhaul of your home to make it work with your LA-style backyard. It’s easy to blend this look with your existing décor and make your indoor and outdoor spaces feel connected. Plants are a simple, on-trend way to do that. You can visually link these spaces by using similar plants and planters indoors and in your outdoor space.

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