Travis and Amanda Hervey of Georgetown, Kentucky, spend much of their time outside on the patio under their deck with their two young kids, Ada, 5, and Eli, 2. Each family member enjoys the pair of woven outdoor swings, and this outdoor space has become an additional room of the house, filled with Amanda’s thrift-store furniture and eclectic decor. Almost everything is hand-me-down, homemade or thrifted. “I might have a few dumpster-dive treasures too,” Amanda says.
The family of four loves being right on the banks of Elkhorn Creek, which Walt Whitman wrote about in Song of Myself.
Outdoor lighting: Lowe’s; floor paint: Valspar Porch Paint; door paint: Web Gray, Sherwin Williams
Jeff Jones and Shauna Glenn built their family’s custom home in Fort Worth from the ground up on an empty 2-acre lot with a deer-friendly pond. Their bright, color-happy interior palette carries through to their outdoor patio where they enjoy lounging on a sectional with their six kids and watching TV.
Patio furniture: Frontgate; outdoor rug: Pottery Barn
A pair of white loungers, anchored in the shallow end of the pool, make the perfect place to observe the surrounding wildlife.
White lounge chairs: Ledge Loungers
Journalist and therapist Lies Ouwerkerk spends her winters exploring the world and her summers in a renovated condo in a converted sewing machine factory in the trendy St. Henri neighborhood of Montreal. A private rooftop terrace and garden located off the dining room on the main floor was built at her request. Vertical walls separate her space from the common terrace shared among other homeowners on that floor and give her complete privacy.
“I used the services of Urban Seedling to build the wooden structures on my little balcony and deck, but the designs are mine,” she says. She made the pillowcases from fabrics that she picked up in Guatemala and India.
Madeline and Dawson Ellis, owners of Mimosa Handcrafted Jewelry, enjoy a short walking commute from their charming 1,350-square-foot Baton Rouge home to their backyard work studio. The couple constructed a large wraparound porch along the side of the house that nearly doubled the size of their living space, and this space is now one of the most-used parts of the home.
The couple added a wall built of shutters along one side of the covered outdoor seating area to create more private space. It’s great for cookouts and outdoor entertaining. Dawson salvaged the red vintage fireplace from a neighbor from his childhood home.
“We all enjoy spending time outside, so the porch is very much an extension of the indoor living space. With the big table, we’re able to easily have meals outside and even enjoy it when it’s raining,” Madeline says. They use this space often to host parties and impromptu gatherings.
The Westdale modern steel porch swing, Handsome Industries
Entertaining enthusiasts Carin Jacobs and Teresa Elston live in a 1929 Spanish-style home in the historic California Heights neighborhood of Long Beach. “This is such a party house,” Jacobs says. “We love all of these little outdoor entertaining areas.” The couple often host parties of 80 people or more, and they took advantage of each of their outdoor spaces. They set the yard up so that their guests can flow from the front to the back and utilized the open-concept design of the home and exterior courtyards to keep guests circulating.
Celebratory occasions such as dinner parties, casual gatherings and weddings have taken place on the idyllic patio of Melanie and Andrew Doubroff’s 1908 farmhouse. They are pictured here with their two Australian shepherds, Abby and Buckley.The expansive outdoor umbrellas, outfitted with retro-inspired outdoor lights, create an intimate, magical space at nighttime.
The existing Trex deck was replaced with a newer version and now holds two 8-foot-long farm tables plus a 4-foot insert, built by Andrew’s twin brother and finished by Andrew to add a patina.
Blue metal glider: Apple Annie Antique Gallery
Landscape designer Michael McIver lives in a 1929 Spanish-style home in the historic California Heights neighborhood of Long Beach, California. McIver converted the detached garage into his home office and added French doors that open to a trellis-covered patio.
Hummingbirds also enjoy the fountain and visit often. “If you put a water feature in your yard, it’s a guarantee you’ll get birds,” he says.
The backyard of this 1967 home in Texas had an above-ground pool when Bill Symon and Jason Kays moved in. It was fun for a while, but it eventually started to leak. They replaced it with a bench-height deck and a low-maintenance xeriscape landscape.
The homeowners did a lot of the rock and granite installation themselves to save money, then left the steel edging, deck and plantings to the landscaper. The total cost, including removal of the leaking pool, was about $15,000. Kays and Simon set up a vintage projection screen for outdoor movie nights.
Beatrice Valenzuela and Ramsey Conder live in a 1924 Craftsman bungalow in Echo Parkwrapped in lush trees overlooking peaceful views of Elysian Park. With fragrant breezes, chirping birds and glorious sunsets, their home provides a beautiful live-work setting for the artisan couple to design and create for their line of handcrafted shoes, jewelry, bags, furniture and lighting. Their deck serves multiple purposes for the family, from workspace to brunch space.
Laura Burkhart and Jake Michael’s Rhodesian ridgeback, Phinney, loves to take advantage of their backyard and outdoor area in Lake Forest Park, Washington. The couple often entertain in this space during mild Pacific Northwest summers and installed a fire pit area themselves. It gets plenty of use in the warmer months, and it’s a tradition to toast marshmallows for s’mores and stargaze late into the night. Tree stumps are repurposed as seating around the fire pit.
To ensure maximum play space for their beloved dog, the couple added a gate between their yard and Burkhart’s parents’ yard so he can enjoy running free with their dog.
The couple also built a small container garden that they enjoy tending in the spring and summer.