Living the Outdoor Lifestyle in Your Own Backyard

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Imagine adding rooms onto your house without any actual walls? 

In 2017, that is exactly what people are doing by adding on entire rooms all outside of the walls of their house.  Growing up on Long Island, we had a concrete patio and a traditional cedar picnic table.  That was outdoor living in the 70’s and 80’s including a charcoal grill that took forever to get a good fire to make hamburgers.  Traditional cedar picnic tables are few and far between in today’s home landscapes. 

I love to go on home garden tours to get ideas for my own garden and take photos of flowers, trees, and landscapes. But I especially like to to see what is hidden behind the gate in someone’s yard.  I am lucky that I am able to go on private garden tours with my Rutgers Master Gardener group and as a member of the Garden Conservancy Open Garden Days.   I have found that outdoor living is way beyond a backless hard bench!  Entire living, dining, and entertainment areas are showing up in backyards and they are quite original in variation and design.  I picked out a few favorites below of some outdoor living spaces that I would happily have in my yard.

Outdoor Living Room with Green accessories

This property was a treasure on a Garden Conservancy tour in upstate New York with over 1,000 square feet of an outdoor living room and dining room.  I couldn’t even get the whole shot of the space in one photo.  A small unassuming front yard and house led to a huge surprise of space in the backyard.  I immediately was drawn to this space because of the spaciousness and rock cover that was easy to walk on. The green lime color was a perfect design on this property.  A living room, dining room, and fireplace with seating was so inviting for an afternoon or evening party.

Gazebo in the garden

This elegant Gazebo was in backyard surrounded by Rudbeckia flowers.  The lovely walkway to the gazebo was filled with two foot high yellow flowers which welcomed me to take a seat and relax.  Super cozy, peaceful, and comfortable are the words I would use to describe this outdoor living spot.  It overlooked the rest of the garden and the pool.

Concrete outdoor furniture

This secret spot was tucked into the woods next to a pond on the property of Hortulus Farm – in Bucks County, PA. Moss covered with hard sculptured concrete made this picnic spot a peaceful haven on the property.  I am not sure how old the concrete table and chairs were, but they do seem to have aged well with wear.

greenhouse in the garden

For over 20 years, I have wanted a greenhouse on my property…and I am still waiting for one.  This beautiful greenhouse had so much color, variety, and energy; it was love at first sight.  Since it was summertime when I toured this private garden with my Rutgers Master Gardener Group all the sensitive plants were out basking in the sun.  The Mountier Garden in Excess County, NJ has many nooks and crannies of unusual views of their expansive garden.  This is another garden that is usually on the Garden Conservancy tour if you want to take a look at this property.  The greenhouse was only a tiny part of a unique garden space.

outdoor hookah loungeThis mystical outdoor living space was in the Glynallyn castle in Morristown, NJ.  The 32,000 square-foot, three story Glynallyn castle has 66 rooms, 19 fireplaces, 15 bedrooms, eight full baths and four powder rooms. There are also 185 doors, some of which are hidden and lead to secret passageways, a dungeon with 10 foot vaulted ceilings and a moat.  Unfortunately, I could not take photos inside the castle since it is a private residence.  But this “Hookah Lounge” was outside so I snapped a photo.  I love the vintage pillows, colorful throws and exotic feel of this patio on the second floor of the castle.

purple outdoor design furnishings
I fell in love with this outdoor space not just from the amazing farm view, but the purple terry cloth covered outdoor living room furniture.  Excellent blue accents make the purple seat covers POP! This is Clove Brook Farm – owned by Christopher Spitzmiller in Hillbrook, NY who is a renowned NYC lamp designer.  Purple was a reoccurring theme with purple painted doors on the house and more purple furniture in other locations.

What is your favorite outdoor living space?  Do you have one in your backyard?  Share your photo in the comments below.




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