Ever wish your house was just a little bigger? Moving is a huge inconvenience. Renovations and additions can be expensive and overwhelming. When daydreams of having more space get you contemplating your options, there might be one you’re missing.

Your yard holds the potential to become an open-air extended living space if you plan it properly. Here are some ways that you can use hardscaping to turn your yard into an overflow living space at a fraction of the cost of a complete renovation.

Make a Seating Area

A seated gathering area is a simple way to elevate your backyard into a living space. You can personalize every step of the way to tailor the area to your tastes. The patio area could be designated with pavers, cement, or flagstone. Seating could be in the form of permanent seats made into a wall around the area or patio furniture that you can rearrange.

Two features that can elevate the character and charm of your seating area are fire features and water features.

Fire Features

Fire features could include a fire pit, a fireplace, or a fire table. Each fire feature can add ambiance to your outdoor seating area.

If you don’t mind the smell of smoke and the maintenance of fires, traditional fire pits or fireplaces might be a good option for you. If you would rather avoid the smell and would prefer a cleaner environment, consider a gas fireplace or fire pit.

Water Features

Water features have the ability to turn a regular seating area into a relaxing oasis. The sound of running water nearby can create soothing background noise for your outdoor gatherings.

When choosing a water feature to include your outdoor living area, don’t forget to take into consideration the cost and work associated with maintaining it.

Make a Dining Area

A seating area could easily be converted to a dining area by simply adding a table. The table could even be a temporary piece brought out only when needed. This allows your area to be versatile and fit many different needs.

Make a Kitchen Area

Outdoor kitchens are currently a popular addition to outdoor living spaces. Your outdoor kitchen can be as big or small as you need it to be. Some options you could feature in your outdoor kitchen include:

  • Grill
  • Pizza Oven
  • Refrigerator
  • Sink
  • Bar or other counter space
  • Smoker
  • Griddle
  • Burners
  • Storage
  • Wine Cooler
  • Ice Maker

Some outdoor kitchens even include sound systems, televisions, and other entertainment to keep the party going even when you’re the one preparing it.

What to Consider Before You Commit

Redesigning your yard to become a more livable area can be exciting, and it’s easy to get ahead of yourself. In the early stages of planning your yard, you will want to take a few things into consideration.

Wants and Needs

As you list out things you would enjoy having in your yard, you may find there are some that are a higher priority to you. Put all the features you would like into two categories: wants and needs. If time or budget does not allow for everything from the wants section to make the final cut, remember that this does not need to all be done at once. Consider implementing your plan in phases to make things more manageable for your wallet.


Having everything listed above might sound ideal to you, but you have to be realistic about what space you are working with when you are deciding what to implement.

Walk through your yard and take note of the existing grade and landscaping. These factors can be worked around, but they may make your project more expensive or difficult.


After you have decided what you would like in your yard, determining how much you can afford is a helpful way to narrow down what will make the final cut. Reach out to local hardscape contractors and landscape installers to help you get an idea of what certain aspects of your yard would cost in your area.


If you do decide to implement your yard in different phases, be sure to plan ahead. For example, if you know you will be adding a gas fire pit in the future, consider running the gas line before installing the patio, so you do not have to ruin work that has already been done. Keep the big picture in mind as you start each phase.

Transforming your yard into an open-air gathering spot for hosting parties or even a luxurious relaxing zen garden just for your own enjoyment can help you maximize your space, budget, and resources.