25 Outdoor Living Ideas

By HomeAdvisor

Updated March 18, 2020

Outdoor living

Outdoor entertaining is as popular as ever. While modern Americans have plenty of usable indoor space, there’s just no stopping us from cooking out and congregating outside when the weather is nice. Unfortunately, outdoor space often goes unnoticed when it comes time to upgrade our homes. Here are 25 ideas to make your next outdoor entertaining event even better:

1. Outdoor Furniture to Enhance Outdoor Entertaining

Outdoor entertaining can often accommodate larger crowds comfortably in an open, relaxed environment. Consider adding outdoor furniture if you don’t have it already. An outdoor dining area can invite impromptu barbecues and other gatherings.

2. Increase or Decrease Privacy

Some folks want to be able to see and speak with neighbors. Others want privacy. Perhaps your landscape design can accommodate a little bit of each.

3. Swimming Pools and Hot Tubs

Besides full-size swimming pools, you can consider permanent or temporary above-ground pools. Small children delight in even a very modest pool during the summer months. Some people are installing small swimming pools with artificial currents that allow a swimmer to work out by swimming against the current in much the same way as one jogs on a treadmill. Outdoor spas and hot tubs are also quite popular. Many can even be used in winter!

4. Add Water Features

From goldfish ponds to fountains to water gardens, people are using water features as a focal point for many landscape projects. Outdoor entertaining is even better when enhanced by the visual effect and the soothing sounds of cascading water.

5. Beef Up Security

Outdoor landscaping can make a home safer or more vulnerable to crime. Generally, you want entrance ways and access points, like windows and doors, to be well-lit and visible from a distance.

6. Supplement with Shade Trees

Shade trees can offer a comfortable cool place to sit or play, and can be part of a passive solar heating plan. Deciduous trees help shade the yard and house during hot summer months and let warming sunlight through when they lose their leaves in the winter.

If the trees on your lawn have become diseased or lean into your home or activity space, consider having them removed. The cost to remove trees is about $750.

7. Don’t Skimp on Color

From leaves to flowers to bark, plants and trees offer an ever-changing pallet of colors. Think of each month as a different canvas and select plants that contribute the right colors at the right time.

Ready to start your outdoor space?
Find Pros

8. Add Children’s Play Equipment

When outdoor entertaining involves adults and kids, a little equipment goes a long way. Place the playground equipment away from the street and in plain sight of a window.

9. Make Sure to Remember Lawn Sports

Kids and adults both love to play outdoors. A horseshoe court is inexpensive and simple to install and appeals to all ages. You may also consider a paved area to accommodate sports like basketball and hopscotch.

If you have pets or don’t have the time to maintain your lawn, a mowing a maintenance service costs about $150.

10. Vegetable and Herb Gardens

Whether it’s to save money, get some exercise, or just guarantee the freshest possible salad, you may want to join the legions of folks who have their own vegetable gardens. For chefs or people with small yards, herb gardens are increasingly popular. It will also give you something to show off when company comes around.

11. Birds, Birds, Birds

If you enjoy watching birds, consider putting in one or more feeding stations. Plan the stations so that refilling is easy. Position stations so they may be seen from nearby decks, patios, and windows.

12. Storage and Garden Sheds

Your shed should provide ample storage space for lawn and garden equipment and can include a potting station and space for outdoor sports equipment.

Ready to start your outdoor space?
Find Pros

13. Wheeled Access

When planning walkways, patios, and decks, consider layouts and grading that eliminate the need for steps. Everything from strollers to lawn mowers to wheelchairs will be easier to use as a result.

14. Proper Clothesline Placement

If you use or would like to use a clothesline, find an out-of-the-way but accessible location that won’t interfere with recreational activities.

Ready to start your outdoor space?
Find Pros

15. Outdoor Lighting

Outdoor lighting is a central element in good landscape design. Motion-activated lights can enhance security. Floodlights can light parking areas. Spotlights can highlight trees and decorative features like fountains. Low-voltage lights or indirect outdoor lighting can accent decks and patios.

16. House Number

Outdoor entertaining is impossible if your guests can’t find you! An easy-to-read house number makes it easier for friends and pizza delivery persons to find your home and may save critical seconds should fire or rescue crews ever be called to your home.

17. Install Railings

Anywhere there is a step or sloped walkway, you should install good sturdy railings. While critical to everyone at certain times of the year or under certain circumstances, seniors or others with physical challenges will appreciate them all year.

18. Enhance Your Front Entrance

Besides welcoming you home each day, it is the most important component in what real estate agents call curb appeal. As such, money spent improving your front door and entrance is almost always completely reflected in increased resale value of the property.

19. Driveways and Parking

Is there room to make turns without tearing up the lawn? Can you see clearly up and down the street before pulling into traffic? Are there conveniently located, paved pathways from the parking area to the door? If not, your outdoor event might see some property or vehicle damage.

20. Retaining Walls

Retaining walls can often be used to level out sloped areas of the lawn. The level area created by the wall is generally more functional and much easier to mow.

21. Build a Deck

Decks provide elevated areas for dining and entertaining. Because they can be built at any height, they provide a way for virtually any room to be linked to the outdoors and the rest of the landscaping.

Ready to start your outdoor space?
Find Pros

22. Patios and Walkways

Patios don’t have to be rectangular and attached to the house. They can float out in the yard and curve around gardens and trees. Walkways can lead you into the landscaped yard and invite you into pleasant retreats.

23. Fences

Fences provide privacy, contain pets and children, keep out the bad guys, and divide functional and visual spaces. There are a ton of fence options out there; most homeowners are sure to find one that suits both their needs, and their style, too!

24. Plant Selection

Plants make great focal points at outdoor events. Unfortunately, many people make the mistake of buying and planting shrubs that look great now but end up looking horribly overgrown in a few years. Plant selections should include consideration for future growth.

25. Power and Water

When improving your property for better outdoor entertaining, think about your power and water needs. Are there locations in the yard where an electrical outlet or faucet would be very handy? It may be possible to run lines to that location.

No Comments Yet

Are You Familiar With This Topic? Share Your Experience.

Compare quotes from local pros Compare Quotes
Return to Top