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Outdoor Living Space Ideas: Patios, Lanais & More

House Plan 5631-00136

The birds are chirping, the flowers are blooming, spring is here. As the temperature warms up, you tend to see more ideas for our outdoor areas popping up on the internet than ever before. We are all consumed with thinking about new outdoor living space ideas to make the most of this beautiful weather. From your best friend adding a deck to your neighbor extending the concrete patio behind their home, there are so many outdoor projects happening now. This is the time to collect outdoor living space ideas to help you customize your favorite house plan to fit your indoor and outdoor needs. 


House Plan 963-00467

House Plan 963-00467


While you search for the perfect house plan, don’t forget that creating impressive outdoor living spaces helps to extend the square footage of your home while giving you the ability to live both indoors and outdoors. But how do you make the most of the outdoor spaces in your favorite house plan?


What is the difference between a patio and a lanai?

While a patio and a lanai are very similar, the main difference is space. Lanais are usually a bigger covered space than a patio. Another difference between a patio and a lanai, is the entrance to a lanai is always covered. Offering protection from the weather, this covered entrance usually extends to a larger covered area of the backyard. A patio can be uncovered or covered, big or small. Lanais are just fancier, bigger covered patios and thus the terms are similar but slightly different. 


If you’re considering enclosed outdoor living spaces, you could add a sunroom or a screened-in porch to your favorite plan. A sunroom is usually a room located toward the back of the house and glassed-in by wall-to-wall windows in order to view the outdoors. While these spaces are a part of the home’s interior, they are more open to the outdoors and thus create that indoor/outdoor feel without leaving it wide open. 


Tight on space? What about stacked decks? Go vertical! This concept is a bit luxurious but it provides a plethora of outdoor space. Having a deck on the top and bottom floor of your home creates extra outdoor space that can be covered or uncovered. To create a more comfortable vibe, you can add lounging furniture, plants, and outdoor kitchen items to establish the best outdoor living spaces for you and your guests. 


House Plan 286-00103House Plan 286-00103


How do you plan an outdoor living space?

First, consider how you want to use your outdoor space. If you just want to look outside while you work, make sure your office is facing the backyard with plenty of windows. Maybe add the office in the sunroom, giving you the best of both worlds. Furthermore, if you want to continue your indoor areas outdoors you have to consider how to make the most of your outdoor living space. 


Double doors or sliding doors leading outside are a great way to start the conversation. Do you want access to the outside from your living room, dining room, and/or a bedroom? A great way to continue the indoor space outdoors is to add double doors to the living room or kitchen. This provides a seamless connection to your outdoor living space, encouraging you to grab some snacks and drinks, open those doors, and walk right outside to your well-thought out backyard. Let the breeze inside and create your dream indoor/outdoor space. 


outdoor living space ideasHouse Plan 699-00133


How do you plan to use your outdoor space?

As you continue to mull over some  ideas, ask yourself these questions to determine how you plan on using your outdoor living space:

  1. Do you want to cook outdoors? Create an outdoor kitchen with a built in grill, counter space, and a table to make the most of those cool spring nights. 
  2. Is cozying up to a fireplace something you dream of? An outdoor living space with a fireplace makes it usable for most of the year no matter where you live. 
  3. Covered or not covered? Which do you want – lots of sunshine as you relax outside or the opportunity for shade? The answer to this question could lead to a covered outdoor living space like a lanai, pergola or covered patio. You could also leave the backyard wide open to enjoy nature with plants and flowers. 
  4. Will you include a water feature such as a pool, a waterfall, or a fountain? The look and sound of moving water can be very relaxing for most people and adds a spa-like aspect to the backyard. 
  5. Should there be a covered porch, stacked rear decks or a wrap-around porch from the front to the back? This question could change the entire look of your house plan and is easily done using our modification services. How much added outdoor space do you want to add to your favorite house plan?
  6. What additional features would make being outdoors even more enjoyable? Additional doors linking more rooms to the outdoors? More covered areas connected to the home?
  7. Need a little inspiration? Follow us on social media for a diverse range of house plans with different outdoor living space ideas. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest to get inspired.


outdoor living space

House Plan 9401-00112


How can you create your dream backyard?

Now that you know what you want for your outdoor areas, the second step is to consider how your favorite house plan fits those needs? Does it have the right elements to create that extra living space that you long to have? If not, we can help. With our modification services, you can alter your favorite house plan in 4 easy steps to include the outdoor living space of your dreams. There are countless ways to modify our house plans to increase your outdoor space.

Consider including these modifications: 

  • Connecting the front porch to back deck to create a wrap-around porch
  • Adding a sunroom in the back of the house to view the outdoors year round
  • Creating a covered outdoor living space to the family room to add useable square footage
  • Implementing an outdoor kitchen area that extends off the dining room or kitchen
  • Extending the roof to cover the balcony or deck below
  • Including additional windows to add more natural light indoors around the entire house
  • Increasing the front porch so you can enjoy the view from both sides of the house
  • Consider adding a patio off the primary bedroom to add more livable space
    • Or adding a covered hot tub space off the primary bedroom for the ultimate in luxury
  • Including a garden area connected to the kitchen to make the most of the indoor/outdoor space
  • Or put that garden area in view of the big living room windows so you can watch the veggies and flowers grow
  • Build an outdoor fireplace and create a year-round lounge area
  • If the pool life is for you, consider added a small pool house and more covered areas for additional shade
    • Consider a cabana. It not only provides shade for your outdoor living space but it also gives your outdoor space a luxurious touch
    • A pool bathroom could be the lifesaver you’ve never considered, but its convenience may be a feature you don’t want to live without

There are endless possibilities for the ultimate indoor/outdoor living space! Spend some time making a checklist of your must haves for your outdoor areas and use that list to determine how you will modify your favorite house plan to fit those needs. 

House Plan 5631-00136House Plan 5631-00136


Envision Your Outdoor Space

Finally, if you’re still not sure how to make an inviting patio or outdoor space, use the following questions to help you imagine the outdoor space of your dreams: 

  • Do you envision having lots of parties and family gatherings? Then consider adding covered outdoor areas and additional access to a bathroom. 
  • Are you a big grilling family? An outdoor kitchen is a must have and make sure it’s covered so the weather doesn’t dictate when you grill. 
  • Is the view everything on your property? An upstairs balcony and large windows throughout the home would make enjoying that view even better. 
  • Consider the basics – a water feature, a fire element, and lots of lounging areas!


House Plan 4195-00044

House Plan 4195-00044


How can I make the most of my outside space?

Think about the outdoor space before you build the home! As you are planning the modifications you want done to your favorite house plan, consider the outside almost as much as the inside. We recently created a blog post all about using color and materials to make the most out of the exterior of your favorite house plan. The same can be said for the outdoor spaces. You can use our modification services and some planning to create the best outdoor areas for you and your family. The best outdoor living spaces take into account how you will use the backyard today and 10 years in the future. Creating an inviting outdoor space gives you more areas to enjoy family time, make the most of your home, and create lasting memories. 

The amount of outdoor living space ideas are endless and we hope this blog post helped your journey to the ultimate backyard experience. Make sure to tag us in all of your outdoor photos! If you need any assistance with your modification choices, our customer service team is always here to help – give us a call

Posted in Architectural Elements, House Plans, Outdoor Space, Porches | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Outdoor Living Space Ideas: Patios, Lanais & More