My current 'outdoor space' is a 2 foot by 2 foot patch of fire escape where I am not legally allowed to place anything at all, but that doesn't keep me from thinking about my dream backyard, which is comfortably cozy and yet large enough to host parties for fifty or more, and leafy and green but with a view of a rugged west Texas mountainside. Your fantasy backyard may look a little different from mine, but I think you'll find at least a few things on my list that you absolutely can't live without.
Above: I've always been attracted to lap pools — their long, narrow shape just seems so elegant. I only want a little pool — I mean really, is that too much to ask? This one is at a resort hotel in Greece, because of course it is.
Next to my modest pool I'd like a modest pool house, like this one spotted on Arch Daily.
Oh, and also a stock tank hot tub. With a view of the mountains. Spotted on Home DGSN.
My dream backyard will have an outdoor kitchen, of course, like this one from Living Corriere. Charcoal grill not pictured, but of course it's charcoal because that's the only way to cook.
There will be an outdoor shower (like this one from Birmingham Home and Garden)...
...and maybe an outdoor tub (like this one from designer Alexandra Angle's Los Angeles home). But definitely a citrus tree (or two or three).
A bocce ball court (like this one spotted on Traditional Home) would be a great place to while away lazy summer afternoons...
While a poolside conversation pit would be the perfect place to relax on a warm (or even a cool) summer night. From ABM.
For a cozy spot for quiet reading, I've love a little cocoon like this one (available from Dedon for a price that will surely stagger you).
And finally, I would also like... a blueberry bush. This one just might actually be attainable.