Functional Outdoor Spaces

When planning your landscaping project, it's important to create spaces that serve specific purposes. Think about how you want to use your yard, then incorporate those features in your landscape.

Photo By: Stuart Lirette

Photo By: Jamie Rector

Outdoor Fire Pit

Fire pits and seating areas are popular features to incorporate into an outdoor living space, providing the perfect spot to hang out with friends and family. Design by Jane Ellison

Outdoor Dining Areas

Outdoor eating areas are great for entertaining guests, especially during the summer grilling season. This inviting dining area is only a few steps from the kitchen, making it the perfect place to serve brunch on a sunny Sunday afternoon. Design by Jane Ellison

Secret Garden

To create an interesting garden, don't give it all away at first glance. Create spaces that aren't visible at first, and build a winding footpath that leads to a hidden alcove. In this garden a herringbone pathway leads to a dining area, garden table and lush plantings -- a perfect place to eat dinner or read a book. Design by Jamie Durie

Play Areas

Make room for your pets or children to run around and play. These areas should have at least partial shade and a soft floor, such as recycled rubber or mulch. This yard, designed by Robert Hursthouse, provides a large grassy area and features a child-sized house where imaginations can thrive.

Shed and Work Areas

Every yard needs a discrete but accessible spot to store garbage bins, gardening equipment and landscaping materials. A locking shed offers protection, while a lattice corral or two easily hides a compost bin, trash cans or bags of mulch. In this yard, designer Virginia Rockwell used bamboo panels to camouflage the storage area.

Outdoor Kitchens

An outdoor kitchen should be made of weather-resistant materials like concrete, stone and stainless steel and should include amenities such as a refrigerator, a wine cooler, a sink, gas-fired burners or a charcoal grill. Made from cottage stone, this outdoor kitchen is simple and beautiful. Design by Sierra Hart

Swimming Pools

Aquatic areas should be fenced in with a self-closing, self-latching gate, especially if children are around. This pool has an unobtrusive guard along the side that prevents little ones from falling in. Design by Scott Cohen

Public vs. Private Spaces

The front yard can be a place for you to greet neighbors and for your kids to play with friends. Or it can be a neutral zone with little activity. Either way the front yard should make a good first impression and reflect the look and feel of the rest of the property. Photo courtesy of Rate My Remodel user On_the_east_twin

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