Extend Your Living Space With Ideas From Two Style Pros

With nearly perfect outdoor weather year-round, many Arizonans enjoying spending time relaxing in their backyards—which means creating a welcoming, styled space is essential.

Two Arizona-based design experts took on that challenge. While they both incorporated the same anchor piece—the Sahara Pergola from Leisure Time Products—they embraced their own personal styles to create two vastly different looks.

Maryal Carter enjoys a romantic, cottage-inspired style. She shares her real behind-the-scenes perspective of cottage-style living, luxury travel on a budget, and affordable fashion through Love + Specs, a blog which she co-created her husband. Though the Carters are DIY advocates, they considered convenience and cost and decided to leave the carpentry of the pergola to the pros. Then, she put her signature design style to the space. “One of the things I love is that the purlins, or beams across the top, give you the ability and versatility to hang pretty things like lights, planters and fun decorations of all kinds,” she says.

Destiny Alfonso, who runs Just Destiny, a family-focused blog with an emphasis on elegant living spaces sprinkled with candid notes of kindness, transformed an otherwise unused space in her parents’ yard. After just two hours of installation, the blank canvas was ready for some character. She created a modern lounge feel, with functional seating, lanterns, a plaid throw and simple pillows.

These style influencers agree that, twinkle lights, a rug and natural materials are must-haves in the rustic pergola, which is made of pre-stained cedar that resist corrosion, weather decay and insects—making it perfect for Arizona’s outdoor living.