5 Beautiful Outdoor Living Space Design Ideas

Covered back patio photo from Peterson in Redmond

May 3, 2023

5 Ideas for Designing a Beautiful Outdoor Living Space for Your Home 

The outside of your NW contemporary home is just as important as its inside. It is where you entertain friends and family, relax after a long work day, and watch your kids play. It is also what makes a first impression on visitors and buyers. If you’re looking for some non-permanent ways to upgrade the aesthetic of your luxury home’s outdoor living space, you’ve come to the right place.

We’ve created this list of ideas that are sure to inspire your next outdoor project. After all, it only takes small, thoughtfully designed touches to make your urban backyard feel like a magical oasis. So without further ado, here are five ways you can elevate your urban outdoor environment into an extraordinary one you’re proud to call your own. 

1. Add Fire Bowls

Spending time outside relaxing on a summer evening is one of life’s simple pleasures. However, even on a warm summer night, you may want to have a little extra heat for you and your family to cozy up around. This is where fire bowls come in handy. Fire bowls are large round metal bowls holding a smokeless fire powered by natural gas or propane. Unlike wood-burning fire pits or fireplaces, where you run the risk of stray embers sparking a fire, fire bowls are entirely safe to use on wood decks and in close proximity to your home. 

Depending on your yard size and preferences, you should place your fire bowl on your deck or near outdoor furniture to act as a focal point for gatherings, dinners, and parties. Another option is to utilize fire bowls as landscape decor and place them in various locations throughout your backyard. Made from a variety of materials such as bronze, chrome, or steel, fire bowls are attractive, artistic structures that can add an element of drama to your outdoor space. Best of all, they are easy and quick to shut off once you call it quits for the night! 

2. Install Innovative Outdoor Lighting Fixtures

Great outdoor lighting isn't merely an option - it is essential! Not only does outdoor lighting create a specific mood and atmosphere, but it allows you to enjoy your outdoor space during the dark winter evenings or late summer nights. Lighting is also a great design element you can use to elevate the aesthetic and curb appeal of your property. 

When it comes to the design of your urban outdoor space, there are many types of innovative lighting fixtures and systems you can utilize. For example, if you’re looking to host outdoor dinner parties or spend time eating outside, string lights or flush-mount ceiling lights are good options. These lighting fixtures can be affixed to your porch ceiling or across your deck or patio in order to illuminate the entire entertaining or dining area.

If you have a stone pathway that you would like to be able to walk at night, pathway lights are extremely beneficial. Additionally, if you need something for your outdoor staircase, stairway lighting is the way to go. You can install everything from outdoor wall lights on your backyard fence to solar lights in your garden or a house number light on your front door. No matter which route you decide to take when it comes to lighting fixtures, you can choose the material type and style that aligns with your home’s design and landscape architecture. 

Innovative lighting fixtures are not only ideal for creating the perfect entertaining and hosting environment, but they also make your outdoor area much more functional and safe for day-to-day use. 

3. Create a Stone Path 

If you’d like to take your backyard or garden area to the next level, a stone pathway or walkway is the way to do it. This stylish and functional design element makes it much easier for you to garden, play, and walk around in your outdoor space without destroying your landscaping (or your shoes, for that matter!). 

Of course, your unique property specifications will help determine what you can and cannot do when it comes to stone paths, but there are many options at your disposal. You can create a traditional brick walkway that leads up to your doorstep, a stepping stone walkway that goes from your deck to the fireplace, or a grassy stone walkway for your garden. The choices don’t stop there - you can add paver stones, stone steps, bluestone pavers, or flower gardening paths.  However, whatever style of stone path you choose, be sure that it compliments your existing landscape architecture and NW contemporary home design. 

4. Invest in Weather Friendly Patio Furniture 

No matter how beautiful or functional your patio furniture is, heavy rains or snow can render the pieces damaged and unusable. If you’d like to comfortably enjoy your outdoor space year-round here in Kirkland, you’ll likely want to invest in some weatherproof patio furniture. By selecting pieces made out of the right materials, you can enjoy benefits like greater durability, increased usage, and an overall longer lifespan.

You may wonder, “What material is best for our Pacific Northwest climate?” The answer is not black and white and can depend on some critical factors. To start, wood is typically not the best material choice when it comes to enduring rain and moisture, as it tends to warp and decay over time. However, if you decide to go with wood because of its gorgeous natural appearance, choose a hardwood with a high oil content that repels moisture, such as teak.

Other highly durable, water-resistant materials include polypropylene, polystone, and aluminum. These materials can handle all types of extreme weather, such as snow, rain, or heat, without warping, fading, oxidizing, or becoming a breeding ground for mold and mildew. Additionally, they are easy to clean and will not become saturated with pools of water when those heavy rains hit. Just be sure to also invest in a waterproof covering or some cushion protectors. And if you can, for some added peace of mind, try to bring some pieces undercover or indoors in the event of a storm!

5. Put Up Hanging Plants and Trellises  

If you love flowers, plants, and all things floral design, hanging plants and maybe even a trellis wall should be of interest to you. 

First, let's talk about hanging plants. Hanging plants or flowers are the perfect way to spruce up the appearance of an otherwise lackluster front porch, back patio, or outdoor deck area. They are also a great way to add a pop of color if your outdoor furniture or home’s exterior is fairly neutral. While you can't go wrong with any type of hanging plant, we love trailing fuchsias, geraniums, petunias, ferns, ivy, strings of pearls, burro’s tail, and golden pothos. You can also utilize some ornamental grasses and ferns to add texture around a walkway or dress up a deck or paver patio. Also, don’t forget to add some miniature succulents to your outdoor dining table, coffee table, or windowsills!

Now let's discuss trellises. A trellis is a structure used to help support the growth of plants or flowers. It can also be used as a beautiful decorative accent for a garden or outdoor space. The design of a trellis can range from a simple wood or vinyl lattice to a more complex arch or pyramid structure situated between raised beds. Typically vine style plants and flowers such as ivy, climbing rose, clematis, morning glory, and sweat peas are best to grow on a trellis as they scale upwards beautifully. 

What Will You Add To Your Outdoor Living Space?

When it comes to designing the outdoor living space of your home, you can’t go wrong with any of these non-permanent additions. However, you will need to decide what your priorities are and what is important to you. If you love to have people over, weatherproof patio furniture and a fire bowl are a must. If you love flowers and gardening, adding hanging plants, a small garden, or a trellis seems right up your alley. If you want to up the functionality and aesthetic of your space, consider a stone path. 

Contact Merit Homes, a Kirkland Luxury Home Builder

Merit Homes is a Kirkland luxury home builder. We specialize in the construction of enduring, NW Contemporary homes that integrate today’s living nature into every design. If you’d like more information on our available homes in Kirkland don’t hesitate to contact us today. We can’t wait to hear from you!

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