Outdoor Living Space: Our Top 10 Tips

outdoor living spaces

“Look deep into nature, and you will understand everything better.” – Albert Einstein

Outdoor living spaces are the perfect place to relax, decompress, and reset.  You’re at home, yet outside and close to nature, which brings a sense of calm to most of us.  Homeowners are frequently adding these outdoor spaces not only as a retreat, but also as a place to entertain.  You may be dying to put together an outdoor living space for your own backyard, especially with spring weather that is finally here. Consider some of these important details before getting started.  

Creating an Outdoor Living Space


Typically an outdoor living space is located in the backyard or side yard of the home.  Likelihood of use will largely depend on accessibility and convenience. Creating a space outside of a frequently used room such as the master bedroom, living room, or kitchen is ideal.  


What do you intend to use the space for? Is it going to be a place for you and your spouse or a few friends to kick back?  Do you want to be able to entertain large groups of people? Is this a space for both kids and adults? Determine the use for your space prior to planning further.  Furniture, size, accents, and decor are all dependent on the space’s purpose.

Size and Shape

Size is also determined by the purpose of the space.  Once you have that nailed down, look at the available areas you have that are easily transformable.  For instance, if you already have a good sized patio that you can tweak, that’s a great start. Additional landscaping is potentially needed. Be realistic about your needs and expectations, and include any needed landscaping into your plan and budget.

While a square or rectangle may be typical, it is ok to have an outdoor living area that has a different shape. Consider functionality and areas you want within the space when looking at the shape.  An oblong shape may be more fitting for your needs.


The style of your interior and exterior need to match or complement each other.  For instance, a traditional interior home decor would not go well with an edgy and modern outdoor space.  If you want something different, look for ways you can bring out a new trend through accent decor, while still staying with an overall style that matches the inside of your home.  


Pick a color scheme and stick with it.  You’re outside, so there isn’t really a limit as to what you would like. Whether you like whites and neutrals, brights, or earth tones, choose the color scheme and be consistent throughout the space.


Keep in mind that a large sum of money versus a smaller amount doesn’t necessarily determine how your outdoor living space looks.  VIntage lanterns and trays, refinished outdoor furniture, and inexpensive outdoor rugs all have their place. Because this space is outside, you have a bit more wiggle room when choosing decor.  It is imperative to choose outdoor/weather proof items if they are not shielded from the elements on a daily basis. Awnings and other coverings can provide shade and protection to accents and other decor items.

Traffic Patterns

The flow of “traffic” around and in your outdoor living space, and between designated outdoor areas is essential to enjoying the space.  Determine traffic patterns by establishing walkways that lead to the outdoor space and go around the space.. Formally create sidewalks with pavers or lined with bricks and stones.  

Seating and Storage

A variety of seating brings more options to the space. Chairs and stools are rearranged easily, creating spaces for two people to have a conversation, or for many to sit and eat together. Small chairs and ottomans are perfect for children to sit in as well.  

Outdoor living spaces will need storage for tools and a few other necessities.  Be creative with storage when planning. Ottomans, benches, and side tables can do double-duty by storing items like towels, a small broom, and extra plates, napkins, and cups.


Professional advice in planning the outdoor space is helpful, if an interior decorator is an option for you. If not, design the outdoor area as you would an interior room in your home.  Use one key focal point like a couch or colorful accent chair, then design and add items to complement it.


Keep decor simple and limit the amount of pieces you use.  A few simple yet stylish accents are enough with the outdoor environment to keep a calm and inviting space. Try thrift stores and garage sales for lanterns, trays, and other outdoor items.  Look for weather proofed items or things that are made to withstand the elements. Pots of different shapes, colors, and sizes, are not only an easy way to decorate, but can provide your space with some boundaries.  Plant seasonal flowers for additional color.

Fireplaces provide a coziness to any room in a home.  Outdoor fireplaces or fire pits provide that same cozy feeling.  Add a full stone fireplace, or a smaller fire pit that can be transported. Either gives you an excuse to make s’mores and cuddle up on a chilly evening.

Start Your Outdoor Living Space

Now you are an outdoor living space pro. It’s time to get started.  We always love to hear from you! Do you have an outdoor living space? Do you wish you did?  Let us know!

About the Author

Prior to selling real estate, Brenda worked in the mortgage industry for over twenty years. She worked for companies such as Freddie Mac and HomeBanc in numerous capacities from underwriter to executive management. Her thorough knowledge of the mortgage industry is an asset in these times of stricter loan qualifications. Brenda's commitment to continual education keeps her on the cutting edge of current market conditions and trends.

Her professional confidence and easy going style comforts clients through this sometimes stressful situation. Brenda is committed to negotiating the absolute best deal for her sellers.