Spring into the Great Outdoors

Start Planning Your Outside Spaces Now

Young friends dining at backyard of the country house

By Annette Brooks

Warmer weather may seem far off, but by March, the average high temperatures in Dallas and Houston reach the low 70s. You’ll be ready to get outside and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine. If your outdoor space needs a boost, start planning new construction and upgrades now before the spring rush. Below are a few ideas for inspiration to help you create a space that reflects your personality and lifestyle.

Exterior covered patio with fireplace and furniture

Outdoor Living Area

More than a deck or patio, this is an extension of your home’s interior living area that blends seamlessly with your indoor space. Optional features include fireplaces, misting fans, heating elements, built-in planters and pergolas, outdoor TVs and sound systems designed to withstand the elements, wet bars, and wine coolers. If you wish to extend the use of your outdoor living area, consider an automated retractable or louvered roof you can open and close. Furniture and decor often include outdoor sectional sofas, sophisticated lighting, sculptures, outdoor curtains, and the list goes on.

Custom Backyard Retreat


Derived from the Spanish word for hut, these three-sided structures add an element of privacy, provide shade for your pool guests and outdoor furniture, and can be used as extra storage space for towels, pool toys, and equipment. If you include plumbing and electricity, add a refrigerator and wet bar for easy entertaining and to keep the kids from traipsing inside dripping wet when they’re thirsty or want a snack.


If you’re thinking about your parent’s square concrete slab patio when you were a kid, get ready for a surprise. Constructed of stone, brick, pavers, or stylish stained concrete, your patio can include planter boxes, a fire feature, an elevated seating or bar area, a pergola with hanging pendant lights, and more.

Modern villa with pool and garden

Outdoor Kitchen

If you’re a grilling enthusiast or aspire to become one, you’ll love having an outdoor kitchen. It’s also the perfect backdrop for entertaining friends and family. There are plenty of options to consider, from stylish, ready-to-assemble modular kitchens that come in a variety of configurations to a custom-designed kitchen that meets your exact specifications and blends with your home. They can be as simple as a built-in grill and storage to deluxe designs that include prep areas, sink and bar centers, refrigerators and icemakers, pizza ovens, wine coolers, griddles, warming drawers, spice racks, and hidden trash bins.

Dining room table and chairs on open kitchen


Today’s decks can be virtually anything you want, from something beautiful or basic and functional to adding designs and features that deliver a serious wow factor. An excellent place to start is the material you wish to use. Do you prefer the timeless appeal of a wooden deck, or are you interested in a durable, low-maintenance alternative? If wood is your choice, what kind of wood do you want — redwood, cedar, pine, or exotic wood? And do you want wooden railings that match or metal or iron railings for contrast?

Next is the design itself. What appeals to you most, a single or multi-level deck with integrated stair lighting? Built-in seating, storage, and hot tubs are popular features, as are pergolas. You may even be able to add a firepit with a pad using metal, pavers, or bricks over the deck.

Modern Artist studio Guest house with aluminum glass doors and

Multi-use Pool House

Imagine what you could do with a pool house! Include doors that open completely to the pool, so you use it like a deluxe cabana with a bathroom and private changing area, and a wet bar with ice and a refrigerator. But go ahead and dream bigger. The structure can do double duty as a private getaway. It could be a quiet spot for yoga, meditation, reading, and writing. Maybe you want to use it as a craft room, for exercise, or an
art studio or home office. How about including a space for guests to stay?

Pool houses are typically single-story buildings that range from 100 up to around 800 square feet. But if you’re short on available yard space, there’s no reason yours can’t be a multi-level escape with a loft or a full upstairs.

Read more about Outdoor Spaces here on LivingMagazine.net

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