8 Outdoor Living Spaces That Will Make You Use Your Backyard

For many homeowners, the backyard is a property space rarely used and constantly showing up on the chore list. Your backyard doesn’t have to be a hassle. In fact, your backyard can be your family’s favorite space.

Here are outdoor living space concepts that will transform your backyard into a place where your family can make memories for years to come.

Swimming Pool

Likely the most obvious backyard upgrade, a swimming pool no longer has to be just a rectangular hole in the ground — unless you want it to be (great for lap swimmers). Design your pool with a large baja step where you can lounge and read. You can also design a grotto slide that will keep the kids playing outside all summer long. With technological advancements like in-floor cleaning systems, owning a pool doesn’t have to dramatically increase your backyard chore list, either.


Especially for older individuals and athletes, spa technology can provide a host of health benefits, including positive influence on blood pressure, overall circulation, and quality of sleep. Motorized tops create a room-like feel, which can make the spa a wonderful gathering spot for small groups or for just catching up as a couple each evening.

Athletes may also want to consider swim spas, which provide a challenging swim current in which to train.

Outdoor Dining Room

An outdoor dining room should be designed to fit your family’s entertainment patterns. If it’s usually just the family, create a space that is cozy and easily cleaned. If you often entertain, the design may be more complex, including buffets and a larger seating area (or multiple). And you need not adhere to dining room rules when designing this space; if you want a Tiki bar setting, build it!

Regardless of the space’s size, consider how to get the maximum use out of it, which may include building a ceiling so that it may still be used in more types of weather.

Outdoor Kitchen

If your family grills or smokes food often, an outdoor kitchen may make the activity a more social gathering for the whole family. An outdoor kitchen usually includes a grill, counter space, and a small refrigerator. Depending on your budget, you may want to include a sink, installed smoker, stovetop, and freezer.

Outdoor Living Room

Similar to a home interior design, the outdoor living room is oriented around large, plush lounge furniture, rather than eating areas. Creating an outdoor living room in addition to a dining room can give your family a great place to play games or gather just to chat, while extending your entertainment space when needed.

Fire Pit

If you have teenagers or young adults in the family, a fire pit area should be on the top of your list. The camping-like atmosphere is great for late night chats and s’mores roasting.


With small children, the traditional playground is a decades-old must-have. But playgrounds no longer just have to be a slide and two swings. Some are now themed, featuring a pirate ship or a simulated treehouse. The options are seemingly limitless.

Playgrounds can also be designed for adults; for instance, consider a putting green!


If you’re the type who enjoys working in the yard, why deny yourself? Tending a garden can be a wonderful way to spend time with loved ones. If you have children around, consider creating a fairy garden area. You will find them checking on it at least hourly.

In our backyard designs, depending on size, we typically look to create a combination of three to four space concepts. Some concepts can also be combined — swim-up bar, anyone? It is up to you to decide what should be the featured “room,” but each concept will give your family another reason to head outside!

Image credit: www.presidentialpools.com

Tim Murphy
Tim Murphy

Tim Murphy is the founder and CEO of Presidential Pools, Spas & Patio, the nation’s largest pool builder, based in Arizona. Since 1991, the company has been transforming backyards, providing custom design and building services for swimming pools, spas and patios in the Phoenix and Tucson metro areas.