How to Design the Perfect Outdoor Living Space for Summer

Tacos & Tequila


When the sun is high and the days are long, there's no better place to be this summer than outdoors. And what better way to soak up the warm SoCal rays than by creating an outdoor oasis right in your own backyard? With just a few simple touches (and others that require a tad more foresight), you can transform your outdoor living space into a relaxing retreat perfect for entertaining, dining alfresco, and whiling away those endless summer afternoons. Not sure where to start? SBP’s got you covered — with inspo from our current listings, no less. Here's how to make it happen.

Bring the Indoors Out 

The key to a truly luxurious outdoor living area is making it feel like, well, an actual living area. That means incorporating all the cozy comforts of the indoors: plush seating, soft textiles, you name it. Start with a few oversized weather-resistant sofas or lounge chairs topped with neutral year-round cushions (we love RH). Accessorize with throw pillows and weatherproof poufs, and maybe even anchor the conversation area with a stylish outdoor rug to define the space. With these thoughtful touches, you'll never want to go back inside.

Photo: 538 Chautauqua Boulevard 

Light it Up

When the sun dips below the horizon, you'll want to keep that outdoor ambiance glowing. String lights draped overhead or wrapped around structures add warmth and twinkle while lanterns along pathways or the pool create a lovely glow path. For dramatic downlighting, mount trendy cantina fixtures or wrought iron lanterns on exterior walls. And incorporate a flame feature like a fire pit, fireplace, or tabletop torch for primal flickers that extend the enjoyment all night long.

Photo: 810 Amoroso Place

Cool Off in Style

Summers in LA can be hot, so you'll want ways to beat the heat. A pool (while not an overnight addition) is the ultimate backyard status symbol. Install a few chic loungers and daybeds around the perimeter for sunny-day relaxation, or keep it simple with a stylish misting system that'll have you feeling like you're at a five-star resort. Take 921 Rivas Canyon Road, for example. Stunning, timeless, useful…and did we mention the added value of a pool if you decide to sell?

Photo: 921 Rivas Canyon Road

Make it an Entertainer's Paradise

No outdoor living room is complete without a fully equipped kitchen and bar setup. A built-in grill and fridge stocked with chilled beverages are non-negotiable. But to really impress your guests, consider adding a snazzy beer tap, pizza oven, or luxe cabana bar with bar seating. Don't forget plenty of serving space for laying out those mouth watering spreads. And for easy alfresco cleanup, an outdoor sink is a must.

Photo: 1871 N Stanley Avenue

Get Your Green Thumb On

Lush greenery and pops of color from vibrant florals add so much life to an outdoor space. But who has time for fussy landscaping? Opt for low-maintenance plants like succulents, lavender, rosemary, and other drought-tolerant varieties that thrive in SoCal's dry heat. Add a raised planter box for a kitchen garden of herbs, veggies, and edible flowers you can snip for meals. Finally, freshen up boring hedges or fences with vertical gardens of trailing vines and potted plants.

Photo: 343 S Bundy Drive

With a few inspired additions, that neglected patio can become a blissful haven for soaking up long summer days and nights with friends and family. For more tips & tricks, be sure to follow us on Instagram @smithandberg

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