37 Backyard Ideas for Creating Your Perfect Outdoor Living Space

With spring in full swing, it’s time to start thinking about our outdoor living areas. Do you have an outdoor oasis that you love? Create one you’ll never want to leave with these beautiful backyard...

With spring in full swing, it’s time to start thinking about our outdoor living areas. Do you have an outdoor oasis that you love? Create one you’ll never want to leave with these beautiful backyard ideas.

Make Your Backyard Feel Like Your Own Personal Oasis

There are a few ways to make the backyard feel more like your own personal outdoor oasis. Here are a few ideas to consider:

  • Add an outdoor deck, patio, or porch area if you don’t already have one.
  • Add texture and dimension to existing outdoor living spaces with an outdoor area rug.
  • Start a new garden or add a few pretty planters to your existing one.
  • Decorate outdoor living spaces with accent lighting such as twinkle lights, lanterns, and battery-operated candles.
  • Create stone paths or stepping stone pathways to add cottage garden charm and have easier accessibility to outdoor living spaces.
  • Shade areas that receive full sun with a pergola or gazebo so you can enjoy the outdoors more often.
  • Add garden decor such as trellis, obelisks, and birdhouses to add more visual interest.
  • To create a relaxing atmosphere, add a water feature such as a pond or fountain.

Zen garden koi pond with Japanese Maple and Garden Sculpture Zen garden koi pond with Japanese Maple and Garden Sculpture

The Best Time to Landscape

While you can landscape anytime during the year as long as the ground is workable, it’s best to do plantings and move things around in early spring or mid-late fall. Summer is too hot to garden and do landscaping chores. Plants are not fans of being moved around during extreme summer heat. So why not relax in our backyard living spaces instead?

Lilac flowers by the Fire Pit Garden at night lit with solar lanterns and surrounded by hostas and twinkle lights Avoid these 7 Mistakes When Designing a Backyard Living Space

Cozying Up Your Backyard Living Space

When we first moved to our former small 3-bedroom ranch home, the backyard had one deck that had a dark stain. It was pelted by the sun all day long, so we rarely used it during the summer months. A few years later, my husband decided to add to our existing deck with another level. So we actually had two decks - one for dining and the other for sitting.

If you’ve been following me for a while, you know how much I loved my outdoor dining space on the upper deck in that house. It was so warm and cozy. And whenever we were out there, it felt like we were hanging out at a country club! But it wasn’t always that enjoyable.

Summer on the backyard deck that is shaded by a gazebo Summer on the backyard deck that is shaded by a gazebo

Sprucing Up the Deck With New Furniture

What I rarely showed on the blog was the lower deck of our former home. We had the same outdoor wicker furniture for like 20 years. It was old, it looked dingy, even after power washing it, and it was time for a change. We almost never sat there. This is what it looked like before. And here is what it looked after we bought new furniture! We kept the area rug but swapped the 18-year-old furniture out for a cozy gas fire pit and outdoor living room set. And we LOVE IT!!! Doesn’t it look so cozy? We added some houseplants to the summer outdoors. And because this space felt cozier, we used it SO MUCH MORE.

So that is the key. Make your outdoor living space feel cozy and welcoming. You’ll enjoy it so much more. Since moving to our new home, we use this same conversation set on an outdoor patio that overlooks the formal garden. And it is a great spot to watch the sunset. You can get a full tour of my new gardens here.

Watching the sunset from the backyard deck with 4 wicker chairs and gas fire pit

Outdoor Living Room Ideas

If you are looking for outdoor living room ideas, I did a lot of shopping around before I found the right set for the lower deck. If it would fit, I would love to do an outdoor sectional here. But the deck is octagonal, so it would not work.

At our new home, we have a back porch with curved decking, so finding the right furniture was key to enjoying the space. We knew we wanted a place to sit and enjoy the zen garden and koi pond, but we also wanted enough room to enjoy it with our kids and guests who visit. After measuring and thinking about how we’d use the space, I purchased this comfortable conversation set that we sit on ALL THE TIME. It’s so comfortable and completes this outdoor living space. What do you think?

Outdoor Dining Room Ideas

Our deck at the Vermont cabin is a pretty good size, but not as large as the decks at our former home. I wanted to enjoy both a comfortable living and dining room space but couldn’t fit both. To get the best of both worlds, I found a dining room set that could function as both living and dining. So far it’s worked out really well. When we are in Vermont, we are out here all the time after a fun day on the lake.

My outdoor dining space in New Jersey is a little different. I wanted to use a large farmhouse table with wicker chairs on our former deck. To save some money, I found a wood farmhouse table through the Facebook marketplace for $50 that I refinished with outdoor deck stain and sealer so it could withstand the elements. Isn’t that a bargain for a table?

Cozy Up a Backyard Living Space with Outdoor Area Rugs

Regardless of whether it is living or dining, it’s important to add a rug to define the space and make it feel cozier. Outdoor area rugs have come a long way, haven’t they? I had a rug on both the upper and lower decks at my house, and I loved it! Since we moved, I use the smaller rug on the front porch to help define the space under our porch swing and the larger one under the dining table in the potager garden. It’s seen better days, so I’m planning to get some new ones for 2023. Here are a few other outdoor area rugs that I’m loving now.

Creating Shade to Define the Space and Enjoy it More

For SO many years, we did not fully enjoy the deck because it gets full sun all day long. Shade umbrellas did not keep the space cool enough, so we were limited to enjoying it in the evenings in the dead heat of summer. A few years ago, I found some pre-made gazebos and pergolas and fell in love! So we bought a pre-made gazebo like this one, and it was life-changing. We are out there all the time now, and I swear, it’s like 10 degrees cooler on the deck than the rest of the yard during the summer! True, we could have built something, but we did not want to build anything else on the deck. So the pre-made option was the right choice for us.

Nothing Says Cozy More than a Night by the Fire Pit

Although we have an outdoor fire pit area at the Vermont cabin, it’s pretty far away from the house up a huge hill. We still use it, but I wanted to get a small gas one that we could safely enjoy on the deck. We bought one, and it works really well! We enjoy the deck so much more now that we have this. Here are some more gas fire pit ideas.

Add a Water Feature to Create a Relaxing Outdoor Living Space

You don’t have to live on a beach or the lake to enjoy the soothing sounds of water! If you have the space, you can add a pond garden. And if you don’t have the space or budget to go all out? There are lots of options that you can purchase to get the same effect for little money. From freestanding fountains for the garden to fountains that can sit on your deck or be mounted on a wall, there are so many ways to add a water feature. And trust me, you want a water feature. Now that we have one? We feel like we are at a resort and enjoy it every single night! Here are some water feature ideas to create a backyard haven that rests the mind and spirit.

Mood Lighting Ideas

In addition to our existing outdoor light fixtures, it’s a good idea to add mood lighting for ambiance. I love to add twinkle lights that brighten up outdoor living spaces without overpowering them with too much light. Solar lights have come a long way in the last several years. I’ve found some fun lanterns, string lights, and walkway/garden lights that work really well and look so pretty! If you aren’t sure how to extend lighting to outdoor living spaces that are not close to an electrical source, click here. At our new home, there is no shortage of outdoor lighting. The former homeowners added a lot of it. But we will be adding more twinkle lights for ambiance as well as tiki torches around the ponds and pool. They are nicer than the bamboo-looking ones you find everywhere and are pretty inexpensive for what you get. Ours just arrived, but we have not put them outside yet. Pics to come soon! Here are some of my favorite outdoor lighting finds.

Create an Outdoor Oasis with Outdoor Planters

Every outdoor living space needs a few planters with some gorgeous greenery and flowers. There are so many pretty options out there to choose from, so you’ll want to consider your aesthetic and needs before purchasing containers. I suggest going with larger vs. smaller-sized planters because they retain more moisture, so you have to water them less often. Not to mention, they have a greater visual impact on a space. Lately, I’m loving self-watering planters because it’s much easier to care for planters when you don’t have a drip irrigation system. I bought these beautiful self-watering urns to flank my garage, and I love them! Since moving to the new house, I need to get another set because we have a second porch area that needs urns. Right now, I’m using fiberglass terracotta pots I had on hand, but I definitely need to get urns for this space. Here are some of my favorite planter ideas.

Outdoor Planter Design Ideas

Looking for ways to pot up some plants to cozy up your outdoor living spaces? Click on the photo caption below for more inspiration.

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More Outdoor Living Space Ideas

Do you have an outdoor living space you love? How do you like to decorate your backyard spaces? I would love to know more in the comments below. And don’t miss joining my Gardening DIY and Decorating Community on Facebook for more chatter. And follow along there and on Instagram as well. There are behind-the-scenes daily things that I share on Instagram that don’t make it on the blog. Would love to see you there too!

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Close up of the fresh-cut zinnias and celosia in glass vases and vintage mason jars on a farmhouse table set for a garden party

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Close up of backyard fire pit at night with twinkle lights and solar lanterns

Close up of backyard small koi pond garden with Japanese Maple tree

Thanks so much for dropping by the blog today! Enjoy your day! xoxo

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About Me

Want to learn more about me? I’m a master gardener who’s been gardening and growing things for over 25 years. With a deep passion for gardening, I enjoy helping others find their inner green thumb with all things plants and flowers, as well as find ways to bring the outdoors inside their homes too. Get the inside scoop about my background as a master gardener, education, and experience, as well as why I started blogging.

Stacy Ling Cutting Dahlias in Her Garden Home and Garden Blogger Stacy Ling cutting zinnia flowers in her cottage garden with a wood picket fence in front of a garden shed If you like this post, please follow me @bricksnblooms on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. Subscribe to my YouTube Channel. Or join my Facebook Group.

Close up of Gorgeous backyard ideas and outdoor living space ideas 37 Backyard Ideas for Outdoor Living Space Design Gardener Stacy Ling planting marigolds in her backyard garden - landscaping for curb appeal Backyard deck gardens overlooking a sunset with houseplants and white railings on deck Outdoor dining space decorated for a picnic date with a vintage picnic basket filled with fresh-cut hydrangeas on a deck with wicker chairs, an outdoor area rug, a farmhouse table, and hanging baskets of pink superwave petunias hanging from a gazebo Cozy conversation pit with 4 wicker chairs and a gas fire pit on a deck with white railings and houseplants at sunset - backyard ideas - deck in the backyard garden 37 Backyard Ideas for Outdoor Living Design Close-up of outdoor dining space with a farmhouse table and outdoor wicker chairs - Gorgeous Backyard Ideas White porch swing with bird pillow on the front porch with a black lab sleeping and a bistro set at sunset - My black lab on the front porch of my 1850 farmhouse