Creating Functional Outdoor Spaces

The Northwest is all about spending time outdoors, so it’s no surprise that creating outdoor spaces to enlarge your home’s footprint is in trend. The good news is that even the smallest of yards can be transformed into an inviting retreat. Here are a few ideas to inspire you.


There’s no rule about what kind of spaces you can create outdoors. Consider a dining room, reading nook, hot tub area, work space, or fire pit. Remember to consider how the sun or shade affects the area. You can also connect multiple living spaces with paths or stepping stones.


A living fence creates a great privacy screen while also enhancing a space’s color and texture. Other options include interesting fencing, decorative gates, or concrete walls. Pots of varying sizes can also define a space while adding color.


If you need shade or weather protection, a covered deck or patio is a great solution. Pergolas add shade while also serving as a structure for climbing plants such as wisteria, grapes, or clematis. For extra class, you can even hang a vintage chandelier.


Use durable, mildew-resistant outdoor linens and throw pillows to infuse color and add a cozy touch to your space. You can also use found objects to give a garden room personality.


There’s no rule that says you must have grass! Your base could be flagstone, pavers, bricks, sand, or decks of differing heights. To spruce up an existing wood deck, simply add a new coat of paint. Outdoor area rugs are another amazing solution for adding pizzazz while defining a space’s perimeter. Just make sure to choose an outdoor rug made from hearty, weather-resistant materials.


Installing low-voltage outdoor lighting, solar lamps, or even candles will add ambiance to any Northwest evening. Proper lighting will also help extend your outdoor time as long summer days give way to fall and winter.

For more content like this, check out our Remodel section.

"There’s no rule about what kind of spaces you can create outdoors."