10 Top Ideas for Outdoor Living

10 Top Ideas for Outdoor Living

Summer is here and it’s time for outdoor living – hooray! Do you have a favorite outdoor living area, deck or spot in the sun at your home? Or are you dreaming of creating one? In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the best outdoor living ideas and trends to inspire and help you create your own.

1) Bring the Indoors Out

Indoor-style is moving outside as new durable outdoor fabrics and materials make furnishings more suitable for outdoors. Create a comfortable setting area with personal style using stylish new waterproof furniture and area rugs made from recycled plastics. Add in some bright colored ceramic tables and accent pillows for a pop of color and decorative outdoor light fixtures and lanterns to create an inviting glow in the evenings.

Outdoor Living Ideas – City Balcony with Indoor Style Furnishings

2) Create Outdoor Rooms

Whether you’re outdoor area is large or small you can give it better definition and make it more functional by creating outdoor rooms. Think of dividing your garden or yard into functional spaces – just as you would inside your home. Create places for eating, lounging, playing and bathing.

Outdoor Living Ideas - Backyard landscape design with outdoor rooms

3) Outdoor Kitchens

Outdoor kitchens are all the rage and why not?! Who wants to be stuck in a hot kitchen on a beautiful evening, when you could be cooking and eating, al fresco. You can create an outdoor kitchen by simply adding some counter-style prep space around an outdoor grille. If you have an available water connection, consider adding a prep sink or an ice maker. If you have an electrical connection, go one step further and add an undercounter refrigerator, refrigerated drawers or a beverage cooler.

Outdoor Living Ideas - Outdoor Kitchen

4) Open Up

However, if you love the idea of an outdoor kitchen, but you don’t have the room or utilities to create one, then consider adding a large sliding door or pass thru window to open up your kitchen to your garden. And, one of our favorite outdoor living ideas, is to add a counter and some stools to create an instant meal prep, serving and bar area.

Outdoor Living Ideas – Kitchen with large pass thru window to deck bar seating

5) Lose the Lawn

As water shortages threatening more areas, it’s time to re-think your landscape. Take an outdoor living idea from hotels and restaurants and think hardscape with green accents. Combine pavers, stones, and decking to create a functional multi-use landscape. Add some terracing and height difference to add variety and interest. Plant the border with tall leafy plants for softness and color. Then feature sculptural plants with interesting shapes and textures in planters and pots.

Outdoor Living Ideas – Terraced Backyard Garden Landscape and Jacuzzi

6) Introduce the Elements

Two outdoor living ideas that are catching on fast are fire and water features. Water reflects the sky and adds calming ambient white noise and cooling humidity. While fire warms us and draws us together. Both of these elements promote meditation. A water feature can be as large as a pool or as simple as a recirculating fountain. Outdoor fireplaces and fire pits are all the rage (and they’re fun for toasting marshmallows) but a bowl of candles or a grouping of lanterns can create the same effect. Add the elements to your outdoor living areas to promote balance and relaxation.

Outdoor Living Ideas – Built-in seating around an outdoor fireplace

7) Places to Gather

With rising real estate costs, demand and a desire to downsize, our indoor living spaces are smaller. Therefore we need our outdoor living areas to be multi-purpose and an extension of our indoor space. Make yours entertainment-ready by adding a few of these simple elements:

  • Built-in seating around the perimeter or along one side
  • A bar or wall mounted ledge for serving beverages or food
  • Lounge seating around a coffee table or fire pit
  • Outdoor entertainment such a wireless stereo speakers, a movie screen or flat screen TV
  • Ambient lighting for evening entertaining with outdoor fixtures, lanterns, light strings

Outdoor Living Ideas – Garden tent pavilion for entertaining

8) Spaces to Relax

Our outdoor living areas should also provide us with a place to relax and escape our busy lives. When laying out yours create a corner where you can escape to relax, read and stretch out. Here are a few elements to consider adding:

  • Yoga platform
  • Hammock
  • Comfy chair and ottoman or lounge chair for reading
  • Daybed
  • Porch swing
  • Add water feature to set the mood

9) Add a Pergola or Pavilion

Create a semi-enclosed outdoor living area with a pergola or pavilion. Beat the heat by creating a shady spot with all the amenities of being indoors. Adding a pavilion or pergola has become much easier as many outdoor furnishing companies now sell pergola and pavilion kits too. Whether it houses an area for lounging, cooking or dining, a pergola or pavilion creates a perfect place to enjoy the outdoors.

Outdoor Living Ideas – Backyard Pool and Garden Pavilion Pergola

10) Backyard Shed

The backyard shed is no longer just for extra storage. With cool-prefabs and a little clever designing, you can create an awesome backyard hideaway. A backyard shed can house all sorts of activities from a home office or art studio to game rooms and lounges, even spa-like bathrooms with a shower, sauna or tub with a garden view.

Outdoor Living Ideas – Backyard Garden Shed

Extend your shed with a deck, terrace or pergola area and make it part of your outdoor living areas. Whether for work or play, escape or entertainment, a backyard shed can provide a useful and versatile outdoor living extension to your home.

Plan and Visualize your Outdoor Living Ideas in 3D

RoomSketcher Home Designer is an easy-to-use floor plan and home design tool that you can use to plan and visualize your outdoor living areas. Create floor plans, garden layouts, decks, terraces and more. Design outdoor kitchens, pergolas, pavilions, sheds… you name it! Just draw your floor plan, furnish and decorate it, and see your design in 3D – it’s that easy!

For additional features, such as stunning 3D Photos, high-resolution 2D and 3D Floor Plans, and Live 3D viewing – simply upgrade to a VIP or Pro subscription at any time.

Create a FREE RoomSketcher Account and Start Designing

Want to learn more? See our Plans and Pricing

For more outdoor living area ideas, tips and inspiration – check out the recommended posts below.

Frankie Elmquist
Frankie Elmquist is an interior architect and our Home Design Specialist. She’s worked around the globe for some of the top design firms in the world and now she brings her expertise to you.

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