Outdoor Entertaining Spaces
Tour four homes with fabulous features ideal for outdoor entertaining, and learn tips for making your outdoor space more welcoming to guests.
Everything In This Slideshow
1 of 18
Deck Made to Entertain
This large deck offers ample space for entertaining. Large glass-paneled doors provide access to the deck from multiple rooms within the home, allowing for easy traffic flow when hosting large groups.
2 of 18
This dining room features large doors that fold completely open to connect indoor and outdoor spaces. The country-style decor used inside the home is consistent with the outdoor decor, furthering the indoor-outdoor connection.
3 of 18
4 of 18
Comfy Spot to Sit
An oversized, cushioned bench offers a comfy sofalike spot to sit with guests and enjoy the outdoors. Lots of throw pillows featuring a mix of patterns and bright colors add to the comfort and style. A pergola built off the house gives welcome shade on hot summer days.
Live Large Outdoors
Maximize your outdoor living spaces with these tips for easy indoor-outdoor entertaining.
6 of 18
Multiple levels featuring different flooring materials help define this outdoor space’s different zones. Three steps down from the wooden deck, a stone patio offers plenty of space for dining. Two more steps down, a gravel-surfaced area surrounded by a short stone wall offers a cozy place to sit and visit.
7 of 18
8 of 18
Heat Things Up
A cozy, sunken seating area becomes prime real estate for a fire pit. This fire pit is built into the stone wall for a truly custom, incorporated look. Three chairs offer the perfect spot for casual conversations on cool evenings.
9 of 18
When designing your outdoor space, use a variety of materials to add texture and visual interest. Here, gravel, stacked stones, green shrubs, and a wooden deck work together to create a visually pleasing layered look.
10 of 18
Maximize your outdoor entertaining space by creating zones. Here, the outdoor kitchen is positioned along one wall with plenty of space for the cook. In the dining zone a few steps away, a reclaimed farm table comfortably sits up to eight. After dinner, guests can move to the fire pit just around the corner.
11 of 18
Gather ’Round the Fire
A favorite pastime of outdoor entertaining, sitting around a fire pit offers hours of fun for all ages -- plus the benefit of warmth on cool evenings. This sculpturelike manufactured stone fire pit is a pretty centerpiece by itself. Be sure to check your local ordinances before installing a fire pit in your backyard.
12 of 18
In the same way you can vary flooring treatments to define different indoor spaces, you can use a variety of materials underfoot to define outdoor spaces. As an alternative to a stone patio, pea gravel provides a unique and easy-to-maintain option in this sitting area.
13 of 18
All in the Details
14 of 18
Arrange for Conversation
When arranging your outdoor furniture, consider what works inside and apply the same principles. These homeowners chose dueling sofas separated by a coffee table to optimize the layout for conversation. Throw pillows and fresh flowers on the fireplace hearth add color while punctuating the indoor-outdoor connection.
15 of 18
Creative Indoor-Outdoor Connection
This home’s sliding glass doors open to reveal a corner-less connection to the outside. The result is a seamless transition between indoor and outdoor spaces. Clerestory windows bring additional light inside.
16 of 18
For centuries, guests have been gathering around the warmth of fireplaces. An outdoor fireplace recreates the same cozy atmosphere while extending the seasonality of your outdoor space. Serving a similar -- albeit opposite -- purpose, a ceiling fan keeps guests cool during summer months.
17 of 18
Clean and Simple Comfort
Opt for benches around an outdoor dining table to squeeze more guests around. Here, cushions add comfort to the wicker furniture, while a patio umbrella provides welcome shade on long summer afternoons. These homeowners chose to keep the furnishings clean and simple and bring in a pop of color through the place settings.