Outdoor Room Ideas for Living All Over Your Lot

These outdoor room ideas will inspire you to transform your yard into an enjoyable open air living space. Examples of outdoor entertainment spaces. Creating an outdoor room on a small lot. Using plants as room dividers.

Bed on a deck beneath a pergola on a slate patio.

Decadent Outdoor Living at Its Best!

A well-designed outdoor living space extends the useable square footage of your home.  With the right choice of hard and soft scape elements, the tiniest urban lot can be transformed into a tranquil oasis.  Large yards can be divided into a series of outdoor rooms with separate areas for entertaining, dining, and quiet contemplation.

Take the luxurious living space above. 

This bed, situated on a wooden platform and “canopied” by a pergola, is the focal point of a small city yard.  Painted stockade fencing, at the lot line, gives the space privacy and security.

Evergreen shrubs planted in concrete raised beds will do triple duty as they mature, softening the fence, filtering the air, and buffering the noise of city life.

The pair of date palms flanking the pergola were purchased and installed at the size you see.  This costs more but is a good investment as it saves years of waiting for them to grow to this size.  Mature palms are one of the safest plants to use to create an “instant” landscape.  Their small root system makes them less likely to suffer transplant shock than other trees.

Top: View of the home from the bed/pergola.Right: View of the pergola from the kitchen.

The designer of this space has maximized this small yard’s potential by creating a second outdoor room in the narrow side yard, a space which is usually wasted.

Glass doors from the kitchen/dining room open into this outdoor seating area and make it part of the home’s living space.  Simple-to-build bench seating provides much-needed storage as well as a comfortable place to sit.  The planters make a home for more tropical greenery.

Lights on the planters and raised beds keep the space functional ’round the clock.

A Large Garden Divided into a Series of Outdoor Rooms

A dining area is best set near the house as this one is.  The closer your outdoor table is to the kitchen, the more use it will get.  After all, outdoor spaces are not just for looking at, but for living in.  Convenience should always be considered.

From the dining patio, the other rooms in this garden (a summerhouse and a dome-shaped gazebo) can be seen, but they are unlikely to be the focus of the diners’ attention.  The beautiful flower beds surrounding this attractive patio are certain to be the topic of any dinner table conversation in their vicinity.

The SummerhouseDome-shaped Gazebo

Round decks and strategic positioning make the floors of the gazebo and attached patio look as natural as giant lily pads by this backyard pond.

Once the vines planted at the base of the gazebo’s posts mature, they will offer shade and a measure of privacy to visitors.

A lovely summerhouse/gardenhouse occupies the far end of the plot.

At the other end of the patio, a bench, backed by evergreen shrubs, creates a spot for quiet contemplation.

An Outdoor Dining Room

A gazebo built into a corner of this fenced backyard provides an intimate dining area while taking up little space.  A beautifully thatched roof gives refreshing shade and protection from light rains.  The nearby grill is an inexpensive alternative to an outdoor kitchen.

View from the house.View from behind the gazebo.

In this landscape, the dining area has been positioned as far from the main house as possible so you have to walk to get to it.  But just look at what you’re strolling past!

The garden that this gazebo is set into is even more wonderful than the structure itself.  Shapely mixed shrub and perennial borders combine with pristine paths to fill this long, narrow yard with season-long color and texture.

Who needs to eat out when they’ve got such a visual feast at home.

Outdoor Room Dividers

Where space is at a premium, a living green wall, like the one above would make the perfect outdoor room divider.

Hedges enclose and separate an outdoor seating area.

Another way to use plants as an outdoor room divider is to plant a hedge.  As you can see from the photo above, a hedge does not have to take up a lot of space or even be very high to effectively define a space.

The seating area above is deliniated and made more intimate by the surrounding hedges.  To make the vignette more interesting, the hedges have been trimmed to different heights. 

An herb garden growing in a raised bed further divides the space within the hedges.

Outdoor fireplace in a wall.Hardscape can also be used to divide outdoor rooms.  The  fireplace, at left, is one stylish example. That you can see thru it into the space beyond, keeps those on either side from feeling boxed in.

Another, more subtle, way to define outdoor spaces is by changing the type of flooring or decking material.  The outdoor living room above has a colored concrete floor.  As soon as you step onto the wooden deck which abuts it, you know you’ve entered a different room.

Board walls visually connect the two spaces.

A courtyard garden in Cordoba.The patio behind the arches.

Here, architectural arches beautifully divide this courtyard garden from the adjoining patio seating area.  The transition form tile to pebble flooring reiterates that these are different spaces.

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