Defining Outdoor Living Spaces

When designing your outdoor living space it’s important to have defined spaces. By defined spaces I mean that the space should have a function. For example a dinning or eating area, walkways taking foot traffic from one area to another, a sitting area for conversations by a fire feature or possibly a lounging area  in a sunny spot next to the pool.

Here are just a few ideas of how to define a space when designing your backyard in-ground swimming pool project:

  • Decide on what amenity areas suit your needs. For an in-ground pool project I start with my big three: A place to eat, cook and lounge in afternoon sun by the pool.
  • The spaces need to be defined AND functional. Most homes have a grade change from the door to the ground level, when designing steps down from the door why not make one a large landing to accommodate the barbeque or even the dining area. Another step or two down to the less formal areas of the yard defines one space from another.

Elevation Change Accomodated with Landing


  • For yards that have less grade fall try incorporating a pocket garden into the patio between the spaces. Not only does this define the space, but it also gives water, from a heavy rainfall somewhere to drain. Remember that water needs to go somewhere so you better plan for it.
  • Use your structure – a storage structure is always useful. By extending the roof line you can create a sheltered area from either intense mid-day sun or unexpected rain shower. Look for some ideas in our outdoor living gallery.

Cabana with Extended Roofline

  • If you have a small yard, changing elevation can dictate furniture placement, furniture doesn’t work well with steps. Instead of changing elevation, consider a material change only. Incorporating a change in material defines the space yet allows you to re-arrange furniture for hosting larger events.

Material Change - Interlock to Flagstone

  • Fire features – (a personal favorite of mine). Incorporate a fire feature between two spaces. This both defines the spaces and gives a unique focal point to a dining area while giving function to the sitting area on the opposite side.

I hope these ideas spark your imagination when designing your back yard swimming pool project. Remember to plan your yard ahead of time, get a professional designer to assist you and hire a quality pool contractor that can deliver.

Bryan Wing – Solda Pools Design Professional


Please select the Circle and click the submit button.