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25+ Amazingly cozy backyard retreats designed for entertaining

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If you love to entertain and relax outdoors, why not make this summer the year you design that cozy backyard retreat you have been dreaming of? Try adding a pergola, deck, fire pit, fireplace, grilling/kitchen area, a bar, a pizza oven, outdoor shower to compliment your swimming pool, a hot tub or even a backyard movie theater. The possibilities for your outdoor living space is endless—limited only by your budget and space constraints. If you are limited by budget constraints, don’t give up that easily, get creative with your outdoor space.

You may be able to do a DIY makeover with some playful touches, such as strings lights, outdoor lanterns and some inexpensive outdoor seating options. You can even design your own fire pit, or purchase a movable fireplace—or fire bowl—instead of a more expensive, built-in fireplace. The same with a movie screen, instead of a television mounted on a wall, you can DIY with a white sheet. Please see our article, 20 Cool backyard movie theaters for outdoor entertaining, for some fabulous ideas! Have a look below for some great inspiration. Enjoy!.

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1. Small backyard in San Diego, California features a BBQ Island with Grill, sink, and plenty of counter space. The BBQ Island is clad with a stone veneer and a concrete counter top. The fireplace matches the island with a veneer stone and concrete cap. Colorful fabrics, low-voltage string lights and lush vegetation completes the aesthetic. (via Promised Path Landscaping)

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2. Nest to a pool and spa, a pergola and fireplace setting provides a cozy spot for an outdoor furniture grouping to entertain guests in Dallas, Texas. (via V Fine Homes)

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3. A beautiful cottage on Lake Minnetonka, Minnesota features a cozy outdoor living space just off the back of the home. Most of this outdoor patio is covered, with Phantom Screens concealed in the trim, which helps to protect from the elements and bugs. The deck is clad in Bluestone from Orijin Stone. (via John Kraemer & Sons)

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4. An inspiring outdoor fire pit area features limestone defining the space, with decorative stone chips (304 gravel base) as the filler. Adirondack Chairs encircles the fire pit for cozy outdoor seating. The patio dimensions are 20′ x 25′. This outdoor space would be quite enjoyable on a nice hot summer day with a lovely breeze sipping on a beverage. (via Ketron Custom Builders)

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5. The gas fire pit under the pergola is UL listed, which gives specific instructions on clearances to combustibles. This gas fire pit needed to have 69″ to the ceiling and 19″ to any side of a combustible structure (the house and pergola). Several small seating arrangements allows for more intimate and inviting outdoor spaces to relax and enjoy conversation. (via Yardscapes Northwest)

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6. A perfect addition to your outdoor living is a seating wall surrounding a firepit. Cambridge Maytrx wall, Pyzique Fire Pit, Round table Pavers. This backyard oasis was installed by Natural Green Landsacpe & Design in Lincoln, Rhode Island. (via Conklin Limestone)

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7. This fabulous lake house retreat in Dallas, Texas features the ultimate party deck with a bar/entertaining area. Loving the built-in bench seating, coffee table with integrated ice cooler and the island bar with an ice chiller. (via Pulp Design Studios)

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8. Boost your backyard appeal by adding a cozy seating area around a fire bowl. Add some gravelly stones for a beachside effect and enjoy some s’mores! (via MDesigns)

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9. A large rough cedar pergola provides a fantastic spot for entertaining guests. The decorative concrete patio used an integral color and release, was scored and then sealed with a glossy finish. There is plenty of seating designed into the patio space, while custom cushions creates comfortable seating integrated along the fireplace. (via DRM Design Group Landscape Architecture & Planning)

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10. A vacation home in Mumbai, India features hanging lanterns that adds to the ambiance of this outdoor space in the evening. Dining and built-in seating offers plenty of areas to entertain family and friends. (via The Orange Lane)

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11. Beautiful tropical outdoor living space with relaxing furniture set on a deck surrounded by trees in Byron Bay, New South Wales, Australia. (via Alida & Miller)

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12. A suburban home in Northwest Washington, D.C. features an outdoor living room, often the hub of entertainment. All of the furnishings are Kingsley-Bate, covered with custom Sunbrella fabrics. The colors tie into the interior rooms that have direct access out to the terrace. The stone is Carter rock, quarried less than two miles from the house. (via Botanical Decorators)

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13. An inviting outdoor living space features a pergola defining the seating area in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. A poured concrete pad features a small cut-out filled with rocks, purely a decorative/Zen feature. The fire feature was sourced from a second-hand store. Loving the tiki torches, perfect for some nighttime ambiance! (via Modern Edge Design)

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14. An elegant backyard patio in San Francisco, California features brick pavers and a large dining table for entertaining. A pergola helps to create visual separation from the dining area and an outdoor seating space with a fire feature. (via Casa Smith Designs)

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MORE INSPIRATION

15. The redwood Sonoma Arched Pergola on this backyard oasis features a lattice roof and privacy wall, decorated with string lights to provide a festive ambiance. Gas lanterns and the Sonoma Gas Fireplace (The Outdoor Greatroom Company) also helps to add to the overall ambiance. The chairs are part of the Balsam collection by The Outdoor Greatroom Company. They consist of a powder-coated metal frame covered with a hand-woven HDPE “wicker” weave, making them highly durable when exposed to the elements (cushions are also weatherproof). The deck consists of recycled granite paver stones.

Designer Tip: If mosquitoes are a concern, install an outdoor wood burning fireplace instead of the Sonoma gas fireplace. Smoke from the wood burning is a natural bug repellent. (via CJ’s Hearth & Home)

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16. A backyard fire pit (3’x3′) in San Francisco, California features 4×4 cedar wood for the deck and seating area (the bench is 18″ in depth). Steel brackets were installed into the concrete to hold the bench in place. The concrete pavers are poured in place with integral Davis Color— Silversmoke, but they were given an acid wash so they would be more toothy and not slippery (the wall is 12″ thick).

A dark gravel is used to fill in-between the slabs. The fire pit had more lamp black added into it to get a darker grey, it was a custom blend. Growing against the weathered redwood fence are white oak-leaf hydrangeas, which will grow to be about 4′ in height. (via Arterra Landscape Architects)

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17. An elegant multi-level Ipe Deck showcases simple lines, built-in benches with an unobstructed view of terraced gardens and pool. A wonderful spot to lounge with guests after a dip in the pool or enjoy some pre-dinner drinks! FYI: The top rail is Meranti. The designers used 2 layers of 1 x 12 glued together with marine epoxy and cut to the radius.(via Decks by Kiefer)

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18. This outdoor patio in Chicago offers distinct outdoor living spaces. The dining area is separated from the social space by three large potted plants on one side and by a low profile planting bed and sunken fire pit on the other. A built-in grill with a spacious countertop is conveniently positioned near the three-season, screened-in porch. The main space is 28’x18′. The fire pit space is 14’x14′.

The patio is a Unilock product called Thornbury (cast brick paver); Color: Bavarian Blend. The edging is Unilock: Ledgestone; Color: buff. FYI: The foliage between the grass and patio is Pachysandra, an evergreen groundcover that requires shade. (via K&D Landscape Management)

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19. A patio surrounded by forest in Sammamish, Washington features a fire pit constructed with a cmu base, then clad with a natural stone. The gas burner was custom made and finished with black lava rock and a ceramic log-set. The pavers surrounding the fire pit are made by Belgard. The covering of the patio is Douglas Fir for the structure and tongue and groove cedar for the ceiling. The steps are flagstone, while the ground is Belgard precast concrete pavers. Overall, the natural elements used in this project appears peaceful and relaxing… great spot to entertain! (via Alderwood Landscape Architecture and Construction)

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20. This cozy backyard in suburban Illinois features a full range patterned bluestone (1 1/2 to 2″ thick) patio set on a compacted crushed gravel base. The bluestone was shipped from the East Coast. The fire pit features gas logs (the homeowner sourced them on the internet). FYI: The ground cover plant is a rock crop sedum. (via Rolling Landscapes)

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21. The inviting fireplace in this Northern Virginia backyard draws you through the garden via a walkway consisting of full-color Pennsylvania flagstone (same material used on the patio). The wall stone, kitchen stone, and fireplace stone is a building stone called Eagle Ridge. The pathway lights are are manufactured by Unique Lighting Systems. FYI: The purple flowers in the garden bed are perennial-type Geraniums. (via SURROUNDS Landscape Architecture + Construction)

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22. This Australian outdoor living space features a built-in kitchen at one end, dining area in the middle and a cozy seating area at the opposing end. The wicker furnishings feature fabrics in serene hues of blue, gray and white. Lattices, louvers and awnings are typical elements for verandas in this region. They help to control breezes, provide shade from the sun and protect from monsoons. (via Highgate House)

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23. In Santa Barbara, California this beach style outdoor space offers a pergola, comfortable furnishings and a fireplace for both warmth and ambiance. (via Smith Firestone Associates)

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24. A pergola covered outdoor area offers a great cooking/dining combination in Hermosa Beach, California. A built-in kitchen with a grill along with an expansive dining area offers the perfect entertaining spot. The Arteriors Henson Wood Iron Swivel Stools were sourced from Candelabra. Loving the lanterns hanging over the dining table! (via JDS Outdoor Designs)

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25. A sunken living area in Sydney, Australia features a privacy wall of black slate stone. A modern fireplace is integrated into the wall, as is a nook for wood. Built-in lounge seating offers relaxing spaces to enjoy the ambiance of the fire, while an integrated beverage chiller is perfect for entertaining guests. (via Rolling Stone Landscapes)

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26. A covered Mediterranean style outdoor patio in Phoenix, Arizona features a stone clad fireplace wall and dining area. Beyond is a cozy built-in seating area and water features, perfect for entertaining and relaxation. String lights zig-zag over this space, adding an inviting ambiance. (via Est Est)

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27. In Perth, Australia, a cozy outdoor space features a custom Jarrah timber bench (painted black—Dulux Nightsky) with cozy pillows and mirrors mounted on the wall above. Special adhesives were used to affix the mirrors directly to the wall. Small clips that support the bottom and lock the top of a mirror are another option. The flooring is a sawcut filled and sealed (not honed) Roman Classico travertine tile laid on a concrete slab. FYI: The gardens consist of Waterhausia trees, a weeping Lillypilly, massed star jasmine under and some Japanese Box for definition. (via Swell Homes)

Tell us: What is your favorite thing about summer? Please share your thoughts in the comments below, we love reading your feedback!

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