I live in a temperate climate which means that 9 – 10 months out of the year, I can hang out on my balcony and enjoy the weather. I liken our climate to, “Not too hot, not too cold, but just right,” from Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Since I’m maybe 2 years away from purchasing a house of my own, and knowing that it probably won’t be my “dream home” but instead rather on the small-ish side, I’ll have to make the most of every square foot, including the out doors.

Using the out doors properly, with the help of a porch, deck, or slab, can expand the interior footprint by quite a lot. For instance, in my neighborhood, most lots are around here are about 6,000 sq. feet, which means I’d have about 1,500 – 2,000 outdoor square feet to work with. Most people don’t hang out in their front yards, which is a shame since it’s usually about the same size as the back, which means my initial focus would be on the back yard. Searching Houzz.com for ideas, these backyard ideas piqued my interest:

Layered backyard patio from Houzz.com

Layered backyard patio from Houzz.com

Outdoor kitchen from Houzz.com

Outdoor kitchen from Houzz.com

I love both of these ideas; a comfy fireplace and relaxing area to hang out in as well as an outdoor kitchen to grill and cook.

Now, the front yard shouldn’t be forgotten. As much as people might think it’s not private enough to relax in, there are ways around that without putting up a fortress such as adding seating to a porch (Adirondack chairs look great on Craftsman-style porches) or a swing, expanding the porch space by adding flagstone or a slab off the entry way that’s large enough for a few chairs. If you want the privacy, but don’t want to install a wrap-around fence, privacy screens are a good way to hide a small portion of the yard. Here are a few front yard ideas:

Porch swing from Houzz.com

Porch swing from Houzz.com

This house doesn't have a porch, so an area was added to the front, left for seating. image from Pinterest.

This house doesn’t have a porch, so an area was added to the front, left for seating. image from Pinterest.

Even small houses can have porches and yards that make the house appear larger and add an inviting flair to the modest-sized house:

I love this little house with the big front porch (or at least porportionally so).

I love this little house with the big front porch (or at least porportionally so).

Inspired yet? Have you recently landscaped your yard?