How to Create Beautiful Outdoor Living Spaces

One of the most important things to me about spring, summer, and fall, is getting outside as much as possible. Here in the Chicago area, we’re cooped inside all winter and I feel like a caged animal waiting to be released into the wild. I’m not fan of winter and don’t enjoy being outside if the temperature or wind chill is below 30-degrees. So when temps get a little balmy, I venture out and survey my outdoor living spaces. I like to create pockets or zones throughout the yard that can be enjoyed in different ways. Here’s a few inspirational ideas to get you thinking about your own yard.

When it comes to enjoying time outdoors, you don’t need a patio or deck. Setting a chair out on the lawn, especially a location with shade or a view or nearby flowers, is all that’s needed to connect with nature.

Wicker chair in a summer lawn


Who can resist a hammock? Anywhere you have two posts or trees is the perfect spot for a hammock. And how charming is the herringbone brick patio with pergola?

Hammock on terrace or patio


If you live in an area with gorgeous views, be sure to set your hammock where those views can be enjoyed to their fullest. Add some plants, too. Right now I’ve got mums outside to add color while the summer blooms are fading. If you don’t want to invest in annual flowers, bring your houseplants outside as long as the temperature remains above 55 degrees Fahrenheit. They’ll flourish as long as you keep them watered.

Backyard deck with hammock and plants


Something I’ve been working on the past few years is creating zones within my yard. I was inspired by a garden featured in Country Living magazine that showed various garden areas throughout someone’s yard. This photo shows a small seating zone tucked near flower beds. Perfect for reading and relaxing.

Cozy lounge furniture on landscaped garden terrace.


If your yard doesn’t have a lot of privacy, you can create secluded zones with outdoor drapes.

Boho chic deck with patio furniture


A trend these days is to recreate a living room outdoors. Add pillows, rugs, and poufs for comfort. Sometimes areas like this are too hot to enjoy during the hottest days of summer – but fall is perfect for getting outside. Grab a blanket or two if it’s a little chilly.

Boho chic deck with patio furniture


My grandmother had a “summer house” in her yard much like this one. You can escape the bugs or head here when it starts to rain.

outdoor summer house



Image of gazebo house in a lush green back garden.


Can you ever have too many flowers? I say no! This porch is so festive and colorful – even the cats can’t resist this cozy balcony. I’m happy to say that even though it’s the end of September, all my annual flowers are still going strong – from the impatiens to the geraniums. They’re blooming their little hearts out.

Balcony terrace in summer with flowers and cats


And finally – here’s my favorite outdoor living space in my yard. It’s the “pond zone.” We had a professional photo shoot last week and I’ll share more photos later. The photographers are my co-workers at Aquascape – we have a multimedia team of six people but not all of them were there.

backyard koi pond near deck with Adirondack chairs


See More Outdoor Living Inspiration

Create Fall Curb Appeal with Pumpkins and Mums

Affordable Outdoor Kitchen Idea

A Backyard Outdoor Patio Lounge



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  1. I LOVE your outdoor spaces; and THAT POND!!! Thanks sooo much for sharing a picture of you and Hubby. I always get a chuckle out of the pictures of outdoor spaces staged with indoor furniture. Pretty, but so unrealistic and fuel for unmet expectations. You keep things real yet inspiring and that is much appreciated.

  2. I have some different outdoor spaces and enjoy them in the Fall and Spring. Your pond is so pretty, the sounds of water would make me sleepy. Thanks and have fun by your pond.