Create an Outdoor “Living Room” at Your House

It's summertime! Now is the time to enjoy the great outdoors, leave the indoors behind, and start living and entertaining outside. Creating an outdoor “living room” is one of the best ways to extend your living and entertaining space.  

Here are a few tips to get started!

Floor It

Great outdoor living areas begin with a great foundation. Rather than merely setting your lawn furniture out in the yard, create a room by defining it on the ground first. If you have a patio, gazebo, or a back porch, your floor is already finished.

If you are starting with a yard, and don’t want to build a deck or pour a concrete pad, consider creating patio space with terracotta, stone, or concrete pavers. If money is a concern, you can outline the area with pavers or landscape timbers, then fill the interior with pea-gravel or mulch.

Shade It

An outdoor living area with the hot sun beating down all day won’t be as enjoyable as a space that offers a few shady spots. Place the room under an eave of the house, under a shade tree, or a retractable shade on the side of the house, to use as needed. You can also use patio umbrellas to create enjoyable cool, shaded areas.

Make It Private

If your outdoor room is open to the world, you may want to add a fence, a hedge, or even a wooden or wire trellis covered in quick-growing vines to offer some visual privacy for you, your family, and your guests.

If you select the right plants for your area, you might be able to train them to provide walls as well as a ceiling for your outdoor room (with an overhead trellis). For quick and dense wall coverage, consider plants in the bamboo family. (Be sure to contain them though, since they tend to spread quickly!)

Furnish It

Be as simple or as elaborate as you like in your outdoor living room. Essential items are comfortable places to sit, and surfaces to hold drinks, books, or a table to enjoy meals.

Beyond that, and depending on your budget, you may want to add a bar, a grill, an outdoor sink and refrigerator, a fire pit, or even a fireplace with a hearth.

Decorate It

Outdoor living areas are the perfect places for beautiful potted plants and trees. Statues and massive art pieces (so long as they will tolerate the weather) offer significant impact in outdoor living spaces. 

Water elements are also a popular option, including a koi pond, a water fountain, a water wall, or a bird bath. Water is a great way to decorate outdoors, enhancing both the sights and sounds of your outdoor space.

Light It

Unless you only plan to enjoy your new space during the day, consider the best ways to light it at night. Be creative! You can install permanent light fixtures, or stick tiki torches in the ground. You can light candles that rest on the table, or hoist up a candle chandelier, as a fabulous centerpiece to your outdoor room.

Don’t forget there are many affordable solar-powered LED options for low-level lighting around the edge of your room, plus solar- or battery-powered string lights to wrap around posts, trees, and plants. You may even want a "wall" of light, created with strands of LED bulbs, for an impactful addition to your new space.