5 Ways To Make Your Outdoor Living Spaces More Inviting

An unexpected home improvement trend surfaced in the wake of COVID-19. Sheltering in place led many of us to reprioritize updates to our outdoor living spaces. We can't blame you -- if you're going to stay in place, why not head on out and enjoy the beauty of outdoors!

Where homeowners once focused on converting underutilized indoor spaces into functional and attractive living spaces, now it's underutilized outdoor spaces that are getting all of the attention.

Are you ready to give your outdoor spaces a total makeover? You're not alone.

According to Forbes, "56 percent of the 4,500 surveyed homeowners plan to update their landscapes to create a better entertaining space... more than 80 percent of those surveyed said they will add a patio or deck... 48 percent of homeowners will add barbecues, 48 percent will add fire pits, and 19 percent will add sound systems".

If your next home improvement project includes transforming your outdoor green spaces and hardscapes into inviting and relaxing living spaces, here are 5 ways to transform your backyard into an entertainment oasis.

Update and Repair Hardscapes

It can be tempting to run to the nearest garden center to load up on plants, but when you're trying to transform your outdoor spaces, you'll want to take a look at your hardscapes first.

Always start with an evaluation and upgrade of your home's foundation, drainage, driveways, and other paved areas.

  • Fix cracks in walking paths and repair uneven sidewalks
  • Repair worn-down asphalt or stained concrete driveways
  • Replace missing or damaged pavers and deck material
  • Add retaining wall to prevent landscape damage or erosion

Don't underestimate the value of your home's paved or hard surfaces. The right hardscaping can create more liveable outdoor space, while also increasing the value and functioning of your home by directing rainwater to appropriate drainage channels.

Use Landscaping to Create Living Zones

Landscaping isn't just for adding greenery or pops of color to your yard. Consider the ways you can utilize various plants, trees, bushes, stones, grasses, and flowers to create multiple living zones.

Think of how you want to utilize the different areas of your outdoor space. Create a quiet space for resting, reading, or meditation by using tall shrubs to create a "walled" area, plush groundcover for underfoot, and benches for seating.

You also want to consider the main purpose of your outdoor living space before designing and installing a new landscape. A landscape designer can create separate outdoor spaces for play, exercise, relaxation, or entertainment with the right choice of grass, shrubbery, trees, pathways, paved surfaces.

Add Water Features

Want to get more out of your outdoor living spaces? Just add water. Who needs a gym when you've got a swimming pool or swim spa? Want to unwind? A hot tub can melt the stress of the day away.

Even if your home's backyard has a smaller footprint, you still have options for relaxing water features:

  • Water fountains for small or large spaces
  • Natural ponds
  • Tiered or cascading water basins
  • Concrete stream with colorful stones

Water features are the best way to turn your backyard into a relaxing oasis of peace and happiness. By adding soft lighting and bubblers under your water features, you add an extra layer of visual and auditory excitement. If your home is really space-limited, consider a small pool or spa that can be mounted directly into and flush with your outdoor deck or paved patio space.

Take Indoor Activities Outside

Today's outdoor living spaces allow for a wide range of outdoor activities that are normally relegated to indoor spaces. This includes cooking and eating meals outdoors, mixing and drinking cocktails on the patio, or simply huddling around an open fire pit while roasting marshmallows. You can even create an outdoor bedroom/sleeping space for nights when the weather is just right.

Consider these trendy outdoor living ideas:

Boho comfort and color with overstuffed and patterned seating

  • Outdoor modular kitchens with grill islands and pizza ovens
  • Patio daybeds that allow you to lounge and nap outdoors
  • Modular seating sofas and tables that replace lounge chairs
  • Outdoor bars with seating and integrated cooking areas

Whatever your outdoor living needs are, you will find the hosting and lounging furniture you need. Consider furnishings from bright colors to nuanced and natural materials like wicker and rattan that are set on tiled surfaces for a chic and modern look. If you don't want to duplicate a traditional outdoors, consider a wood-fired pizza oven, an in-ground fire pit, or a clay chiminea.

Make Room to Play

Gym closures and shelter-in-place orders reminded us all that we don't need to leave the house to play, workout, or get active. Consider allocating a portion of your outdoor living space for workouts, sports, or recreational activities.

Pave an area of your outdoor living space to create an outdoor gym, basketball court, or other asphalt sports court. Consider adding an overhead canopy to keep the sun at bay.

Add rubber or silicon padding on top of your paved surface for yoga and other workouts.

And finally, there are plenty of sports that can be done on a lush green lawn that is properly prepared and maintained. These include a putting green, family badminton, or as a place to practice soccer skills. 

What's your idea of the perfect outdoor space? You may be dreaming of taking a dip in a soothing hot tub, quietly relaxing in the middle of a flower garden, cooking and entertaining for a crowd in your outdoor kitchen, or creating an outdoor workout space that will get your heart pumping. Whatever you're dreaming of, there's no better time to transform your outdoor spaces into living spaces you'll never want to leave.