10 Tips For Designing The Ultimate Backyard Living Space

10 Tips For Designing The Ultimate Backyard Living Space

When it comes to designing a home, some homeowners just focus on the front exterior or the interior of the house. They remodel different rooms and boost the curb appeal to increase the value of their home. On the other hand, the backyard is often overlooked because it is hidden or unused. But if you’re fortunate enough to have outdoor space, then you should take full advantage of it.

There are so many things you can do with a backyard. This space can be used to dine and entertain family and friends outdoors or do family activities to help you bond and get some sun while you’re at it. You can also turn it into a private nook where you can relax and lounge after a tiring day.

It’s time to expand your living space to the outdoors. Whether you’re designing an unused yard or improving your current one, here are 10 tips on how you can create the ultimate backyard living space for your home. I’ve added a photo to help you visualize the different aspects of a well-designed outdoor living area.

1 Dine and Cook Outdoors

If you’ve experienced the joys of cooking outdoors, which usually happens when you go camping, then your backyard should definitely have an outdoor kitchen. While having a dining area would be enough to enjoy a meal outdoors, there’s just something different about being able to prepare the food outside.

For one, you won’t need to leave the group while cooking. You can socialize while preparing the meal and there would be more space when they gather around you compared to being in your indoor kitchen. This would also take out the hassle of going back and forth to your house and outdoor area, especially if you have a complete outdoor kitchen setup - with sink and all.

Another great thing about having an outdoor kitchen is it keeps the smell outside. While most indoor kitchens have proper ventilation, there are times that the smell spreads throughout the house and lingers. It would be great to give your home a break; plus, a change of scenery would be nice. Won’t it be nice to cook in a well-ventilated space with some sunshine and surrounded by greenery?

Do you want professional help to build your outdoor kitchen? Get free quotes here.

2 Must-Have Grill 

In my opinion, a yard isn’t complete without a grill. The flavors you get from food cooked on a grill is amazing, which can differ depending on the type you have. There are different types of grills and models that you can choose from, so you can find one that would best suit the size of your outdoor space, budget, and other preferences. With most grills, you also won’t be limited to cooking meat - from appetizers to desserts, a plethora of dishes await.

Aside from its cooking function, having a grill can also aid in socializing and entertaining family and friends. You can’t have an outdoor barbecue party without a grill. Grilling has become some form of social experience which leads to guests gathering around the grill, conversing while anticipating their meal.

Grills can also have aesthetic purposes. It sometimes becomes the focal point of the outdoor area, bringing the exterior design together. Having a grill can also help increase the value of a home, especially for built-in or customized ones. But even if you opt for a standard or freestanding grill, any type would be a great addition to your outdoor living area.

3 Cozy and Warm

Another great thing about camping is having a cozy fire while roasting marshmallows and eating S’mores. If you want to recreate this experience in your backyard, a safer alternative would be an outdoor fireplace or fire pit. Aside from keeping you and your guests warm, these can also make your outdoor area more welcoming and visually appealing. Similar to a grill, an outdoor fireplace can also serve as a focal point as well as add value to a home.

Other than S’mores, you can also cook food with fireplaces and fire pits with a grate and some tools. I suggest getting an oven, just like in the reference photo. When not in use, it can house a cozy fire, keeping you and your guests warm. 

It’s important to have some outdoor fire feature or heating system, especially during the cooler months of the year. This would allow you to take full advantage of your outdoor space, so you can enjoy and relax under the starry sky even during cold evenings. It will also keep your yard lit (more on lighting later), creating an ambiance that will make it hard for your guests to leave. 

4 Outdoor Refrigerator

As a host, it’s tiring to keep running back and forth your indoor kitchen and outdoor area every time you forget condiments or other ingredients. If you need to get the next batch of meat, you’ll have to do it quickly so that the ones you’re currently grilling won’t get burnt. Plus, you don’t want to serve lukewarm drinks, especially during a sunny afternoon. Well, there is a solution to these problems: outdoor refrigeration.

One of the appliances rarely found in outdoor areas is a refrigerator. With this, you can serve more food for large parties, cold beverages for refreshment, fresh ice for drinks, and more. It keeps the party going longer and will prevent you from missing an epic or funny moment. You also won’t have to haul that large cooler just to keep the drinks cold.

If you’re worried that they will take up space, just remember that you will use this to store food, beverages, or ice. But if you really don’t have a spot for it, then you could get a freestanding refrigerator and place it in the garage or somewhere closer than the kitchen.

5 Shade Structure

If you want to make your outdoor living space more comfortable, you should add a shade structure. Having a backyard embellishment that provides shade will allow you to enjoy the outdoors all year round and protect you, your guests, and the area from the harsh sun, rain, and wind. It can be any type of covering such as a pergola, gazebo, pavilion, awning, and umbrella. If you want more details about these types, here are different outdoor shade structures you can get for your backyard. 

Tip: You can get additional features such as outdoor fans and heaters to create the perfect sheltered retreat. 

Aside from providing shade and protecting you from outdoor elements, these structures can also make your backyard more visually appealing. If you’re looking for inspiration for the design, check out these 30 outdoor shade structure ideas for your home.

6 Outdoor Seating

Another way to create a comfortable atmosphere as well as encourage the use of your backyard is by having outdoor seating. Patio chairs and couches are also furniture that will determine whether your outdoor space is inviting or not. Comfortable seating will also make your guests more inclined to stay outdoors and probably never want to leave.

But providing comfort to your guests or seating for parties aren’t the only reasons why outdoor searching is important. Having comfortable chairs can also turn your backyard into a cozy nook where you can lounge while reading a book or conversing with your family. It doesn’t have to be chairs or couches, you can have benches in different spots as well as hammocks and swings scattered around. It would be relaxing to sit on a swing during a sunny day with a cool breeze.

7 Let There Be Light

Lighting is an important aspect of any outdoor area. While the sun may sometimes be enough during the day, having good lighting will allow you to easily maneuver around your outdoor space, especially at night. It would also be better to have proper lighting around the grill, outdoor kitchen, and dining area so you and your guests won’t have to scramble around. This should also include entryways and walkways to prevent accidents, creating a safe space for everyone.

Aside from practical purposes, lighting also plays a role in the overall design of your backyard. Decorative lighting such as lanterns and candles can increase the visual appeal of your outdoor space. Hanging lights would look great along the beams of the shade structure or wrapped around nearby trees and fences. It also doesn’t have to cost you a lot of money. Take a look at these 50 simple yet beautiful DIY patio lights you can create to illuminate and accentuate your outdoor area. Not only do they come for a small price, but you can also recycle and give unused items another life. 

8 Outdoor Entertainment Area

For the complete outdoor living experience, you should have an entertainment system such as a television. A weather-proof television will allow you to watch your favorites shows while getting some fresh air. This will also complete your barbecue parties with friends as you can watch sporting events right outside.

Aside from cookouts, you can also host movie nights with outdoor television. Instead of spending it cooped up in the living room, wouldn’t it be nice to watch outside while enjoying the cool breeze? You can even go big, literally, with a projector and a huge screen or white blanket during the night. The darkness and starry sky make the perfect ambiance for an outdoor theatre. Interested? Here’s how to plan for an outdoor movie night and provide a nice cinematic experience.

9 Liven It Up With Decor

If you want to make your outdoor living space feel just like your interior one, one of the things you can do is to decorate it. Not only will it make it look more visually appealing, but it can also make your backyard more welcoming.

Similar to the inside of your home, the design, colors, and patterns are also important things to consider for your outdoor area. The decor should complement the color of the space, matching the finishes of the furniture and other items in your yard. It doesn’t have to be grand, there are some simple decorations such as ornaments, vases, rugs, and planters to make the area more lively.

It’s almost the same as designing a room in your home, but one of the things you should keep in mind is the weather and other outdoor elements. These items will be exposed to the sun, wind, rain, and sometimes, extreme weather conditions. Make sure to find suitable decor or take extra precautions to keep them in place and protected. 

10 Private Retreat

One of the main differences between the outdoor living space and the interior one is privacy. Inside our homes, we can achieve complete privacy by closing the blinds; but for our backyard, it would take more than that.

If you decide on getting a shade structure, you can already increase the privacy of your outdoor area, especially with some curtains. But this backyard embellishment is designed to protect from outdoor elements rather than peeping eyes. So if you don’t want to be exposed to your neighbors and passersby, a wall can prevent them from seeing into your yard. 

Aside from walls, there are other structures you can use such as a fence or tall landscaping. Not only will these block the outsider’s view, but it can also act as wind and sound barriers, creating a peaceful environment. These structures can also increase the curb appeal and boost the value of a home. If you’re looking for fencing design inspirations, check out these 50 beautiful fence ideas for your backyard.

If you’re not planning to DIY and need reliable contractors to help you with any of these, I recommend checking HomeAdvisor. You can get estimates from licensed and insured professionals in your area, saving you time and effort researching them one-by-one. Since these contractors are paying for the opportunity to earn your business, they will be eager to earn it.

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Kenneth Wilson
November 29, 2020
Ideas & Inspiration, Yard & Garden

Kenneth Wilson

Retired contractor. Currently residing in Southwest Florida. Now in semi-retirement, I write and manage this blog focused on helping home owners make savvy decisions when it comes to finding contractors and getting their projects done.