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Outdoor Living Spaces: Key Concepts & 13 Spectacular Ideas

By Jayme Muller

November 21, 2022

Wondering what all the buzz is about outdoor living spaces?

In recent years… The concept has boomed in popularity.

It’s not a trend that’s going away soon, either.

In fact… Our habits have permanently shifted to spending more time at home.

A 2021 report  shares that 90% of Americans believe their outdoor living spaces are more valuable than ever before.

So it only makes sense you want to create your own outdoor living area!

There’s plenty of ideas and design concepts to cover… But let’s begin with a simple question.

Quick Links: 

modern linear outdoor kitchen with pizza oven by pool

Why Consider Creating an Outdoor Living Space?

florida room furniture next to a pool and l shaped outdoor kitchen

The idea might sound interesting so far… But you need to know why having an outdoor living space is a great investment.

The reasons are endless. But there are a few key ones to keep in mind.

For one…

An outdoor living space extends the living area of your home. This is accomplished without a full-on home addition.

This makes it a more affordable way to make the most out of your living space.

Additionally… Your effort will be rewarded with increased home value.

While the individual features you install will have a varied ROI… You can expect to receive anywhere from 50%-200% as a return on your investment.

And to sweeten the deal even further… An outdoor living space is one of the best ways to enjoy your time at home.

When the weather is nice, no one wants to be cooped up indoors.

How great would it be to just take one step outside… And enter an outdoor oasis?

All of your favorite outdoor activities will be right at your fingertips.

Whether you love to take a dip in the pool, grill at your outdoor kitchen, or simply sit peacefully by the fire… It’s a slice of heaven, right on your outdoor patio.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Let’s talk about outdoor living design.(We only cover the basics here, so if you want an in-depth guide… Refer to our other article about outdoor living.)

Want to bring your idea to life?

Use our free 3D design tool to bring the outdoor kitchen of your dreams to reality in just a few minutes.

Designing an Outdoor Living Space

Before you get too far into your daytime reveries…

If you want an outdoor living space, you’ll need to understand some design concepts.

First and foremost is functionality.

Plan for Functionality

tamara day serving her kids at her outdoor kitchen bar seating

An outdoor living space is pointless if it doesn’t meet your needs.

Consider deeply how you plan to use your backyard.

Is it intended to be a space where you can enjoy peace and solitude?

Or will it be a hub for hosting neighborhood and family parties?

Or even a little of both?

Understanding the functionality of your space will guide your backyard home design.

And once you know how you plan to use your outdoor living space… You can choose your features!

Choose Your Features

l shaped rta outdoor kitchen with fire pit

Once you start researching outdoor living space features… You might quickly grow overwhelmed.

There’s a ton of options out there!

To cover the basics… You’ll want to start out with some foundational elements.

An outdoor deck, patio, and landscape design are classic examples.

While landscaping will beautify your space… Hardscaping like a deck or patio will serve as a platform for entertaining elements.

Additionally… You could opt for a shade structure like pergolas, gazebos, or roofs. (Simple umbrellas work, too!) This will keep your space more enjoyable on those scorching hot days.

Next, there are the entertainment elements. Things like an outdoor grill station, outdoor fire pit, pool, or outdoor dining area.

These are the features you’ll actively use to enjoy your space.

And if you’re looking to really make your space impressive… Consider decorative aspects like a water feature, string lights, outdoor rugs, or even a trellis.

While it’s true that the sky’s the limit here… The last thing you want is to overdo it!

Don’t Crowd Your Space!

Really cramped outdoor kitchen on patio

The temptation to add everything but the kitchen sink is a strong one… But we would urge you to resist!

Why?

While having more features might seem like it’s always better… That’s not true at all.

Your backyard living area needs space to breathe. (And you do, too!)

If you add too much to your outdoor living space… There won’t be enough room to comfortably move between elements.

This poses a few problems.

For one, it will make your outdoor living area appear cluttered and cramped. Which is probably not what you’re going for!

And in terms of practicality… It will be difficult to navigate your backyard. And the problem is compounded if you plan to host a large party.

If there’s not enough space for people to walk around, stand and mingle, or sit and relax… How can you have company at all?

And in the case of a summer kitchen or fire pit, this level of crowding could actually become dangerous!

Point is… Pick the outdoor living elements that are most important to you. Allow the remaining space to speak for itself.

This might sound all well and good… But what are some examples of good outdoor living space designs?

Best Outdoor Living Spaces Ideas

When it comes to your own outdoor living space… There’s a lot to think about!

It can help to view some examples to get the creative juices flowing.

So let’s check out the best outdoor living ideas.

Outdoor Living Room Ideas

outdoor living space with outdoor kitchen, firepit and gazebo

Here’s a shining example of what is possible in your backyard!

This homeowner has a stunning and cohesive outdoor living space.

It all starts with the brick patio design. This forms the color palette for the rest of the space.

The matching outdoor kitchen and fire feature aren’t just beautiful… They’re highly functional!

Enjoy grilling al fresco with a stunning view… Then head over to the gazebo for some relaxation.

Outdoor Deck Living Spaces

outdoor kitchen with bar seating for entertainment

A chill night at home is only a few steps away.

We love this covered outdoor living setup!

There’s both an outdoor kitchen and outdoor bar. So you can be grilling up some burgers while loved ones are relaxing right behind you.

This modern outdoor roof  provides perfect coverage in all weather. Rain or shine… You’ll be out here living your best life!

We also love the inclusion of outdoor furniture adjacent to the house. If you’re looking for a cozier way to enjoy the outdoors… That sofa looks like the perfect place to curl up!

Large Outdoor Living Spaces

l shaped outdoor kitchen on patio with ample outdoor seating and a fire pit

If you’ve got a large canvas to work with… You’ll love the look of this outdoor living space!

You’ll notice this homeowner did not crowd their backyard. They let the space speak for itself. (Kudos!)

The aesthetic of the space is modern and cohesive, without feeling monochrome.

The gray paver patio pairs perfectly with the white stone outdoor kitchen… And the natural wood on the outdoor seating area provides a subtle pop of neutral color.

This space would be the perfect venue for a classy pizza party.

Get some wood fired pizza going in the outdoor pizza oven… And serve family-style right at your outdoor dining room.

Buon appetito!

Modern Outdoor Living Space Ideas

modern bbq island with combo storage and refreshment center

Thinking about a modern outdoor living space?

Look no further!

This backyard has all the trappings of the modern aesthetic. A subdued color palette… An abundance of clean lines… And an open concept.

The outdoor roof and umbrella provide shade to stay comfortable all day long.

This homeowner’s modern outdoor kitchen is an excellent statement piece as well. The combination of a grill and bar island is perfect for grilling and hosting.

We also love the fire pit and sofa off to the right side. You could spend many a night relaxing on the sofa… Eyes mesmerized by the flickering flames.

Patio Outdoor Living Spaces

Sometimes… Backyard outdoor living doesn’t have to be complicated or overdone.

There’s beauty in the simplicity of this example.

The paver patio forms the foundation of this space… With nice pops of greenery throughout.

This L-shape BBQ island is the focal point of this space.

And in the lower right corner… You’ll peek that there is an outdoor pool in this backyard.

There’s nothing quite like grilling up some burgers and enjoying them poolside!

Backyard Outdoor Living Space Ideas

rta outdoor kitchen near swimming pool under pergola

Looking to get the most out of your outdoor design?

Then you’ll love this amazing outdoor living space!

It’s got a little bit of almost everything. The freeform pool is enticing to take a dip in… The outdoor kitchen is equipped with a grill and an outdoor pizza oven for amazing meals…

And the island is under cover with a nice outdoor kitchen pergola!  So you can grill to your heart’s content without getting too much sun.

With the tropical plants on display… It feels like you’re at an island resort, right at home!

Outdoor Living Space Layout with Outdoor Kitchen

u shaped outdoor kitchen next to a pool photographed from above

This backyard patio space has a lot to offer!

There’s both an expansive pool and a U-shaped grill island to fill out the space.

Let’s actually zoom in on the outdoor kitchen for a moment. Between the gas grill, outdoor pizza oven, and power burner… There’s an endless amount of cuisine you could experiment with!

Additionally, there’s some patio furniture, outdoor lighting, and even a small garden off to the side!

We don’t see how you could ever be bored out here.

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Covered Outdoor Living Room Ideas

covered linear outdoor kitchen on deck with kitchen table and chairs

Curious about turning your porch into a full-on outdoor living room?

Here’s an idea for you!

You can create an elegant dining area… Right outside.

First, you’ll notice the grill island with an outdoor pizza oven. No need to choose between steak or pizza!

Once you’re done cooking… The dining table is only a few steps away. (With a gorgeous view, too!)

You can even elevate your space with a charming chandelier… Like these homeowners opted for.

Outdoor Living Area Design Ideas

linear outdoor outdoor kitchen with pizza oven on deck with kitchen table umbrella and chairs

Here’s another shining example of outdoor living room design!

In fact… It’s quite similar to the previous example. It’s just not covered.

You’ve got the pizza oven, the outdoor kitchen on a deck… And a furniture set for dining!

The color scheme is more cohesive in this example as well. The outdoor kitchen, dining set, deck, and home siding all provide varying shades of brown.

This creates a design that feels “put-together”… Without feeling monochrome.

Covered Outdoor Living Spaces with Fire Pit

This design idea can be easily adapted to a large or small backyard.

To the left… You have the small outdoor kitchen island. You’ll also find a pergola with a dining table underneath. There’s also an outdoor fire pit nearby!

The string lighting also adds a boho look to this space!

Whether you’re going for a trendy or classic look… This is a setup that can be customized to your needs quite simply!

Outdoor Living Ideas Patio

linear outdoor kitchen on patio with outdoor seating under a balcony

Need some outdoor living patio ideas?

Take a close look!

This homeowner made an efficient use of space by adding a living area underneath their balcony.

The outdoor kitchen patio is extended with a furniture set. That way you can catch the sun’s rays… And maybe even get a nice tan!

And when you need to retreat from the sun… Enjoy a freshly cooked meal in the shade.

Outdoor Living Design Ideas with Pool

Here’s another patio outdoor living area to ponder. Especially if you’re looking to incorporate an outdoor kitchen with a pool into your design.

Of course, the space is stunning! The glossy, natural stone patio captivates your attention.

This homeowner opted for a stone gray outdoor kitchen to provide a nice contrast.

And you can’t forget the pool itself! The asymmetric shape works beautifully in this space… And the tile inlay is a lovely touch of detail.

Backyard Outdoor Living Ideas

We’ve covered a ton of beautiful outdoor living spaces… So here’s one more to wrap up our list!

This outdoor patio living room is an excellent way to extend your backyard!

The primary feature of this setup is the galley-style outdoor kitchen bar. You have the grill island on one side… And the bar island on the other side.

There’s plenty of seating at the bar to enjoy drinks, and watch the cook!

And off to the side… You’ll find an outdoor fireplace. It’s a stunning way to relax outdoors.

It’s everything you need, all in one place!

So now that you’ve seen all these outdoor living area ideas… How do you get started with your own?

Getting the Perfect DIY Outdoor Kitchen for Your Outdoor Living Space

mike pyle with his family at their custom outdoor kitchen with a modern concrete finish

There’s a lot to think about when setting up your own outdoor living space.

You have to consider size constraints, features, functionality, budget… The list goes on and on!

To fully understand the scope of your project… We’d recommend speaking to a landscape architect or designer. (Mike Pyle is a great example!)

But even before the pieces start falling into place… You can think about your DIY outdoor kitchen!

And we offer the easiest solution on the market.

With all the other projects you have to juggle… An easy solution is certainly welcome!

So let’s take a closer look.

RTA outdoor kitchens are constructed with monolithic, single-layer, concrete panels. This means the finish is fully incorporated into the panel! (And less work on your part!)

All you have to do is bolt the grill island panels together, place the countertop, and slide in your appliances. Altogether… The assembly is only a few short hours.

You won’t need to worry about shopping for outdoor countertops or outdoor appliances, either!

Every island comes with granite or concrete countertops… And premium appliances from Coyote Outdoor Living.

It’s truly your one-stop-shop!

If you’re curious to see what’s possible with RTA… Try our free online design tool! You’ll be able to create a fully customized outdoor kitchen in mere minutes.

No matter your outdoor living space design plans… We have an option to suit your needs.

Well, what are you waiting for?

Start designing!

Need Help With Your Plans?

Talk to one of our expert designers and they will guide you from planning to installation. Schedule a call today.

FAQ

In all honesty, the sky is the limit when it comes to your outdoor living space. For a completely designed space… The cost starts at around $35,000 and will only go up from there. If you’re only looking to add a couple small features, you could spend less.

An outdoor living space is also often referred to as an outdoor living room. It simply describes a backyard that has been designed as a living area. Often, there will be a patio, deck, landscaping, outdoor kitchen, fire pit, pool, lighting, or some combination of these.

There are a multitude of ways to build an outdoor living space. However, your best bet is to hire a landscape architect at least for the design. This will help you plan your space properly so you don’t run into problems when building. For the building itself… It’s best to hire a contractor with a good reputation!

Outdoor living spaces absolutely add value to your home! Of course, there’s the immediate value of being able to enjoy your backyard more… But they also add to the resale value of your home. Think about it as adding an extension to your home. This additional living space commands a higher price when it comes time to sell! Various outdoor living features will give you an ROI of anywhere from 50%-200%.

There’s plenty of ways to make your outdoor living space cozy. One of the best? Add a fireplace or fire pit to your backyard. You can really top it off with some outdoor furniture, pillows, and throw blankets. With a hot beverage in hand, there’s nothing more cozy!

The primary benefit of an outdoor living space is being able to spend more time outdoors. It’s well known that simply being outside offers a variety of health benefits! It reduces stress, tension, and is even known to lower your blood pressure. You’ll also be able to soak up the sun, which strengthens your immunity, mood, and bone health!

The terms are interchangeable! Both outdoor living space and outdoor room describe the same thing… An area outdoors with features you can enjoy! Either one could include a patio, deck, landscaping, outdoor kitchen, pool, fireplace, or outdoor furniture.

You have plenty of options to add color! Consider using home decor with a bright hue to accent your outdoor space. You can also consider colorful plants and plant pots, a multicolor outdoor rug, or festive outdoor furniture.

There’s an endless amount of outdoor living space ideas out there. The most popular features you’ll run into are a patio, deck, landscaping, outdoor furniture, outdoor kitchen, fire pit, fire place, outdoor lighting, pool, or a living wall. You might also enjoy having a water feature or a small, decorative garden that you tend to.

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