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A Complete Guide To Outdoor Living Space Design Components

What if you stopped thinking of your backyard as just that, a backyard, and instead began thinking of it as a beautiful, functional outdoor living space that serves as an extension of your home? Creating an outdoor space that can be used both for entertaining and relaxing with friends and family — as well as private oases for you to tune out the bustle of the each day — is a home improvement project that results in additional living space and can increase the value of your home.

At Compass Outdoor Design, our patio contractors in Dallas specialize in outdoor design. We have helped many homeowners transform their backyards into comfortable, functional, and luxurious spaces. There is a vast world of exploration when it comes to the elaborateness of the features and components that you can add to your outdoor living space to make your own personal get-a-way, but our patio contractors are here to help! Let’s explore the different components you can add to create the outdoor living space of your dreams!

If you are planning on turning your backyard into an outdoor living space, it can be a complex home improvement project to take on alone, and while there are many factors to consider and plenty of decisions to make, the very basics of outdoor living space design is knowing what you want and how that fits into your available space and budget.
There are a variety of designs, features, and components that you can incorporate into your patio design to make your outdoor living space more comfortable, functional, and enjoyable.

Outdoor Living Space Design Features

Your outdoor living space can be made up of various features that can help you extend your living spaces outdoors by creating an awesome, usable space that you can enjoy with your family and friends. If you are ready to design and build an outdoor living space for your home, here are some essential features you’ll want to consider.


In order to design the perfect outdoor retreat for your home, bringing shade to the space is essential, especially in Dallas where the summer sun can often make the outdoors uncomfortable. When it comes to creating shade in your area, there are two main categories of structures homeowners typically choose for their outdoor living spaces: pergolas or covered structures such as a covered patio or deck. Choosing which structure is best for your outdoor living space project requires an understanding of the differences between pergolas and covered patios as well as a clear vision for your outdoor space. Here is the basic information you need to choose between a pergola or a covered structure.


A pergola is a freestanding structure used to provide shade over a space. These structures rarely have a solid roof, but rather a slatted roof structure that blocks out a proportion of the sunlight that hits them, instead of blocking out sunlight completely. Pergolas are most often rectangular or square in design. Some pergolas can be designed with retractable UV-resistant canopies, but the open slats otherwise leave the area underneath open to sunlight and the elements.


  • Free-Standing Design
  • Enhances Your Outdoor Space
  • Adds More Privacy To Your Backyard
  • Creates Shade and Protection from the Elements

Covered Patio

A patio cover is essentially an outdoor structure that has a full coverage roof with completely open sides. The full roof coverage allows you to spend time in your outdoor living space in nearly all weather conditions, rain or shine. Plus, these structures provide plenty of shade to keep you comfortable even during the hottest summer days. Covered patio structures are usually square or rectangular and are most often constructed from wood or stone. They can be designed to match or complement your existing architecture, landscape, or outdoor living features.


  • Provides Sufficient Shade and Relief from the Sun
  • Creates More Living Space
  • Makes Your Outdoor Living Space More Usable
  • Increases Property Value
  • Can Be A True Extension of Your Home


Wondering whether a covered patio or pergola is right for your home? Consider the differences between the two outdoor living structures.

As mentioned, a covered patio is often installed as an extension of your home. Pergolas, in comparison, do not attach to your home. They can, however, be placed near your home, on your patio, or anywhere in your yard for that matter.

With covered patios, homeowners can get creative with the design and overall look of the structure. As mentioned, covered patio structures are often constructed out of stone, wood, and other materials. Pergolas are typically built out of vinyl, wood, or other high-quality material.

Pergolas are a much more simple structure than covered patios, so they tend to be cheaper. Compared to pergolas, both the cost and project timeline for a covered patio will be more. However, considering the value they add to your home, they are well worth the investment.

While pergolas do add some privacy to your patio design and space, they can’t really compare to the privacy you can create with a covered outdoor living space. Plus, with covered patios, you can add automated drop shades and other features that will help increase privacy.

Start Planning Your Outdoor Living Space Structure

If you are unsure which option is best for your home, let our patio contractors help! We can help you choose the best option for the available space you have as well as the budget you have set for your project.

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Outdoor Living Area

Your outdoor living area is the heart of your patio space. Think of it as the living room of your home. It’s an area where you can kick back and relax after a long day at work as well as host and entertain friends and family during gatherings or special occasions. The type of structure you choose for your outdoor living space will determine the different components, furnishing, decor, and other features that you will be able to add to your space. However, if you want to make the most of your space, there are a few different areas you should ensure not to overlook when planning the design of your outdoor living area.

One thing you’ll want to include in your outdoor living area is seating. You’ll want to ensure that you have enough available space to add some furniture and other seating options. There are many different types of outdoor furniture, and with a covered patio, you really don’t have to worry about the type of furniture you choose as it will be protected by the structure. Consulting with an outdoor design company about patio furniture is a smart idea for an overall cohesive design. Patio designers will be able to help determine placement and size, as well as the best materials, color, style, and they can even help you choose actual pieces.

If you want to enjoy your outdoor living area at any time of the day, you should definitely take some time to think about lighting. Incorporating patio lighting into your patio design is essential to make your outdoor space usable at night. With the right lighting, you can help define your outdoor living area, brightening the space in subtle ways that tie everything together. For an eye-catching look, layer the lighting, beginning with the perimeter to call attention to the boundaries of your outdoor living area, followed by paths. After that, add stairs and accent lighting into the mix.

There are so many ways you can transform your outdoor living area into an entertainment space for you, your family, and your guests. If you want your outdoor living space to include all the comforts of the indoors, you’ll need some entertainment options, whether that means surfing the web on your laptop, binge watching your favorite series on Netflix, or kicking back to your favorite tunes. Of course, if you are going to invest in these entertainment options, you’ll want to make sure that your outdoor living space has a structure that will provide enough protection from the elements. Some entertainment features you can add to your home include TVs, WiFi, stero and sound systems, and more!

If you want to use your outdoor living space throughout the entire year, you’ll want to do more than just ensure you have a covered patio structure over your outdoor living space. To escape the intense heat of the summer and the cool temperatures of the winter months, you can add different features. For example, our patio contractors have designed outdoor living spaces with mister fans that can keep you cool and lower the air temperature of the space by anywhere from 15 to 30 degrees Fahrenheit. Additionally, we have also designed patios that have heaters that can be used on chilly evenings and during the cooler months of the year.

With the right additions and features you can make your outdoor living area just as comfortable — if not more comfortable — than the living area inside of your home. Of course, if you aren’t sure which features you want in your outdoor living area, contact our patio contractors for a free consultation!

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Outdoor Kitchens

Nothing beats grilling outdoors in the summertime, but what if you could prepare and cook more meals outdoors? With an outdoor kitchen it’s possible! If you really want to make your outdoor living space truly functional and ready to be the primary entertaining space, you will definitely want to consider adding a patio kitchen to your outdoor living space design. Outdoor kitchens are becoming a popular trend with homeowners and are even considered a necessary addition for those who live in warmer climates, like Dallas. Whether you just want to spend more time outdoors or are interested in hosting friends and family for meals, adding an outdoor kitchen to your patio space is a great way to enhance your outdoor experience.

The Benefits Of An Outdoor Kitchen

  • Convenience. Adding an outdoor kitchen gives you the space and appliances you need to create your next meal outdoors — no more running back and forth between the kitchen and the grill.
  • Increases Home Value. You’ll be sure to enjoy an outdoor kitchen, but you’ll also appreciate the increase it can have on the value of your home when you are ready to throw it on the market.
  • Versatile. When you work with a professional patio design company, you’ll be able to customize the layout, choose which appliances you want, and add all the elements needed to comfortably cook grill-side.
  • Great Entertaining Space. With an outdoor kitchen, you’ll have the ability to entertain and cook for guests right in the comfort of your outdoor living space. When food is made outdoors, guests are still able to converse and it’s less crowded.

Essentials for Your Outdoor Kitchen

If you are considering adding an outdoor kitchen to your patio space, make sure you don’t miss out on these essentials!

Of course, you may already have a grill, but if you don’t you’ll want to ensure you get one! With an outdoor kitchen, especially one that is under a covered patio, it’s definitely worth investing in a nice grill as you will likely be using it quite a bit. We recommend a two-sided grill if you really want to take your grilling to a whole new level.

The same goes for your indoor kitchen as it does for your outdoor kitchen — you can never have enough counter space! To ensure your outdoor kitchen is functional, you'll want plenty of room to prepare food and serve guests. Our patio contractors often recommend using granite countertops as they help bring a nice aesthetic to your outdoor kitchen and patio space in general.

While they may not be as essential as a grill, a refrigerator and a sink are a useful addition to your outdoor living space, nonetheless. If you’re planning on using your outdoor kitchen for a lot of food prep, a sink is a great way to ensure your space stays clean and sanitary. Having a refrigerator will also provide peace of mind when it comes to food safety and storage.

Never have to run inside to grab a cold one again! With a fully-stocked bar in your outdoor kitchen, you’ll have a place to store drinks as well as make some delicious cocktails! With a bar, everyone has an area to stand, sit or generally gather for conversation — and keep out of the way of the cooking area. Beverages, glassware, and barware can be stored underneath the bartop in cabinets or shelving.

When looking at outdoor kitchen design, be sure to consider a comfortable seating and dining area for you and your guests. Reserve an area of your patio kitchen for entertaining family and friends and eating the meals you prepare for them out there. You could add a table and chairs or have a large kitchen island installed that serves as both an area for preparing and eating meals.

When it comes to creating the perfect outdoor kitchen, it all comes down to customizing the space to suit your unique lifestyle. No matter the design you choose, the goal of your outdoor kitchen should be to cook, eat, and entertain!

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Outdoor Fireplace

Outdoor fireplaces have become a popular outdoor living design trend. Adding a fire element into your outdoor living space creates a focal point that is both elegant, warm, and that will visually transform your patio into an outdoor living room. Adding an outdoor fireplace will not only add warmth and comfort to your space, but it will make it more useable throughout the year. There isn’t anything better than bundling up next to a roaring fire on a chilly evening during the late fall season. Whether your idea of the perfect night is roasting marshmallows with the kids or snuggling fireside with your significant other, an outdoor fire feature is sure to bring your entire patio space together.

The Benefits Of An Outdoor Fireplace

  • Create the Perfect Area for Entertaining guests
  • Add Beauty, Warmth, and Ambiance to Your Outdoor Living Space
  • Can Increase Your Property Value
  • It Extends Your Outdoor Season

Adding An Outdoor Fireplace To Your Patio

If you are interested in adding an outdoor fireplace to your Dallas home, be sure to first consider these three factors:

Where you place your fireplace is very important! The location of your outdoor fireplace will impact its usage and the overall atmosphere of your patio. Oftentimes, homeowners choose to place them alongside a wall or in a corner.

Outdoor fireplaces can be constructed from a variety of high-quality materials, including brick, stone, concrete, or stucco. Typically, homeowners will choose a material that best fits with the architectural style of their home.

There are two main types of outdoor fireplaces:gas-fueled fireplaces and wood-burning fireplaces. Wood burning outdoor fireplaces are the most popular as they have the traditional authenticity of a fireplace and bring a rustic sense of style to your outdoor room or sitting area.

Considering the following factors will make planning and designing your outdoor fireplace much easier for you. If you need assistance with designing an outdoor fireplace, you can rely on our team of patio contractors!

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Let Us Help You With Your Outdoor Living Design Project

An outdoor living design project is not something that you should take on all by yourself. To create the ultimate outdoor living area, you’ll want to ensure you incorporate a structure, living area, outdoor kitchen, and an outdoor fireplace. This, of course, can take a lot of planning and decision making, so it’s best to work with a professional patio design company.

At Compass Outdoor Design, our team of experienced patio contractors can help you design and build a high-quality outdoor living space that is based on your wants, needs, available space, and budget! By following a detailed design process, we can help you visualize what your new outdoor living space will look like before we start any construction, ensuring that you get the patio and backyard of your dreams.

If you are interested in learning more about our outdoor living design services or requesting an estimate, contact our professional patio designers today!

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