31 of the Best, Dreamiest Outdoor Living Spaces of All Time

updated May 18, 2020
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It case you haven’t noticed, plants are wonderful (and you absolutely can be a good parent to them—this guide can help!). There really can’t ever be too many plants in your home, too weird of a way of displaying them, an outdoor space too small—not even a home too small. Below, find some of the dreamiest outdoor living spaces ever, from backyards to greenhouses to terraces to courtyards and everything in between. Use them for inspiration for your own indoor and outdoor plant-filled spaces, or simply drool and daydream over the possibilities!

Perfect pink patio

This Los Angeles house has color in every stylish room, but the outdoor area is particularly dreamy. Anchored by teracotta floor tiles, the creative couple used an array of pink furniture pieces (plus some pink paint on the terrace’s half wall) to create a cozy little desert-colored oasis in the city.

Dreamy tiny house deck

‘Tiny Miss Dolly On Wheels’ is a DIYed, cheery, colorful tiny house that’s stuffed with small-space inspiration on the inside. But the outside is pretty cute, too! The homeowner indulged a bit on this outdoor feature, hiring a friend to build a deck. It was worth the splurge!

Dramatic-colored modern terrace

This Canberra, Australia house hides sleek modern lines and designs from the kitchen, to the living room, to the bedrooms, and beyond, and their small outdoor terrace is no exception. While many outdoor spaces tend to go light or bright, this house went dark and dramatic with its terrace color palette.

Covered pool-side dining room

This Argentina house is full of beautiful interior design ideas (including lots of curtains in places other than the windows), but the outside area is STUNNING. Like, looks and feels like a high-end boutique hotel or resort kind of vibe. And yes, there are curtains used outside, too!

Credit: Carina Romano

Bold blue backyard with DIY mosaic art

Photographer Carina Romano shares a Philadelphia row home with her partner (and two very cute dogs) and that house came with a unique and big concrete backyard. To add some color and cozy, she painted an old retainer wall a bright cobalt blue and DIYed a cute mosaic art piece. It’s the kind of place you’d love to sit around a fire pit in!

Credit: Sandra Regalado

Patterned Spanish balcony

This renovated Barcelona home has stunning tile floors all throughout the home (man I’m jealous) but the gorgeous designs extend even to the balcony! Though long and narrow, it’s enough space to fit a small table and chairs and a few plants.

Black brick modern deck

This Jan Juc, Australia house proves you don’t have to have a big outdoor area or even an enclosed one… this creative family splurged on a cute little seating setup, some big plants in modern planters, and painted the exterior of their house a dramatic black to create this outdoor look.

Colorful Mexico courtyard

This modern renovated Mexico home has gorgeous color and style ideas over every inch, and the outdoor courtyard brings the whole look together. Two complementary colors–cobalt blue and sunshine yellow–both highlight the home’s architecture and add a ton of energy to the outdoor space.

Floor-to-roof vertical garden

This bold modern house‘s outdoor area is basically dreamy in every way–not to mention it’s incredibly big and beautiful–but this plant array is incredibly inspiring (and could be implemented in just about any size space). It’s a floor-to-roof vertical plant garden, and is a lovely way to display plants in a fresh way.

Open air deck and patio

If you’ve ever dreamed of living in the wild, growing your own food, and being more one with nature, then this off-grid Hawaii homestead is a tour to checkout. Their whole home blurs the line between indoors and out, and there are numerous huge, open-air porches that overlook the surrounding jungle.

Palm Springs-Inspired front yard

This Australia home updated the front of their house to add some personality to their property. It only took some cute chairs, an umbrella for shade, a punch of yellow on the front door, and of course a pink flamingo.

Gorgeous New Orleans backyard

This 100-year-old Spanish Revival New Orleans home is not only stunning inside, the backyard it absolutely LUXURIOUS. There’s a big pool, a huge seating area, a bar, and even disco balls.

Credit: Natalie Jeffcott

Cozy and cute sun room

Sam Michelle, her husband, and their two kids live in this Melbourne house with a pretty small but very lovely interior courtyard/sun room. Mismatched furniture and lots of natural light give the whole room a cozy feel.

Teeny, tiny, and terrific terrace

This small apartment in Lisbon, Portugal has a teeny tiny terrace that’s just perfect. Just enough room to fit a table and some chairs, there’s not much space for extraneous decor. But when the view’s as beautiful as this one… you don’t need anything else!

Plant-filled central courtyard

This home in The Hague has a most striking feature: a big, central greenhouse/courtyard with an abundance of plants and amazing light. Yvonne and her family lived in Malaysia for thirteen years before returning to their native Dutch homeland. Having grown accustomed to warmth and lush flora, the greenhouse was definitely a unique selling point when the family was looking around for a new place. It’s become the beating heart of the home, connecting several areas.

Credit: Lana Kenney

Small, airy interior courtyard

The owner of this Cape Town home describes her home as “Scandi with a South African Twist” and you can see why from the interiors, where natural wood tones blend with colorful art pieces. It’s the outdoor area that really struck me as magical, though. With the help of an architect, Ivonne reconfigured and maximized the semi-detached cottage. They removed the third bedroom to create the lovely living area and fitted large sliding doors, which open up onto the courtyard. The result is a spacious, open-plan area that is the heart of the home and great for entertaining.

Quirky outdoor living room and bar

If you haven’t scrolled through the house tour of Kate Richards of Drinking with Chickens fame, you’re in for a treat. The entire California house is outfitted in a colorful modern farmhouse style, but the outdoor area is an absolute dreamy space, with a gorgeous outdoor bar, to boot!

Jungle-esque terrace perfect for al fresco dining

When Maximiliano and Fernando were looking for a place to live, they realized they could afford a bigger home if they were willing to give it some TLC before moving in. They found a house in this building of La Boca, a neighborhood known for its bright-colored dwellings. The whole home is a gorgeous example of a renovation done right, and the couple says that friends love to come over for dinners al fresco on their terrace.

Outdoor bathing under the stars

There is a definite blurring of the boundary between indoors and out in the main bathroom that couple Franz and Patsy Knapp designed. Here, they took both the bath and the shower outside, building a little brick cove covered in ivy with no roof other than the sky above. They use this bathroom every single day and love that they are in direct connection with nature. It truly is a special little place. Actually… the entire home is.

Credit: Katie Currid

Jasmine-scented veranda

Kate Goethe, like most military spouses, didn’t picture herself living in an Italian villa five years ago when she was living in a small suburb of Kansas City, Missouri. But like all military members and their families, you go where duty calls—and, well, sometimes that comes with perks that include a jasmine-filled veranda and a villa.

Grass-covered rooftop

Sofia and Santiago met while attending architecture school, where they started dating and later founded their own studio. The home they built together is amazing… and so are the outdoor areas! They built a green roof terrace, where they have a portion dedicated to composting organic residues. The wild greenery grew on its own; they filled the structure with soil… and nature did the rest. 

Patterned and colorful tile Moroccan courtyard

This particular 200-year-old Moroccan riad—home to Nina and Mohamed and their kids, Alima, Maymuna, and Inès—is a succession of rooms and open spaces punctuated with an impressive collection of vintage textiles, Nina’s own creations, and Mohamed and the girl’s DIY projects. And the colorful, tiled courtyard is the outdoor space of my dreams.

Back deck with incredible views

You don’t need many accessories—nor a large outdoor space—when the view looks like what Susan and David get to enjoy from the back of their East Bay, California home.

Graffiti rooftop

A rooftop is a dreamy outdoor space even empty, but Liz took her Chicago rooftop’s decor over the top!

Rock walls and wood trellis outdoor area

Surrounded by incredibly charming rock walls and shaded by a modern wooden trellis, this Ojai home’s outdoor area is perfect for lounging or dinner parties.

Ivy-covered outdoor seating area

Jana’s entire home is amazing to look at, but the outdoor areas are particularly beautiful, like the ivy-covered-wall outdoor seating area above…

Bold blue courtyard and greenhouse

Communal rooftop with Downtown LA views

Rory’s vibrant rental apartment is located in a building with a communal rooftop that doesn’t need a lot of colorful furniture when it has views of Downtown Los Angeles like this.

Compact but lush yard

An old Victorian terrace in a suburb full of character, Beci and her family have filled this home with a “Make and Do” aesthetic. Every item has been curated with love, made by Beci herself or talented artist friends and family. And their compact but lush yard is no different.

Backyard concert stage lean-to

While Tim has dedicated most of his free time over the past six years to renovating his large house, he has still found time for fun. Over the past four years, he’s created an unconventional outdoor living space that’s become a popular gathering place for friends. He transformed a lean-to he built as a covered outdoor work and storage area into a hangout space and stage for small concerts. The last show included a burlesque dancer and a juggler. 

Colorful and cozy backyard haven

Nancy says her home is a haven—it’s colorful, cozy, bright, and full of memories.  A bright green color covers the walls, but the greenery goes beyond the paint. A few steps to the backyard reveal a lush outdoor space that’s perfect for entertaining and enjoying the sounds of birds chirping. And if Nancy’s guests listen closely, they can hear the trickle coming from a small stream connected to the property, making the home feel even more like a private oasis.