Enviable Outdoor Living Room Designs

The difference between a simple patio and an “outdoor living room” is in the details. Think in terms of visually recreating an interior space outdoors. These five unique outdoor living rooms utilize a variety of interior design concepts while taking advantage of the outdoor venue. By incorporating some of these ideas, you can create an enviable outdoor living room that will have the Joneses wanting to keep up with you.

Cozy Retreat

Cozy Outdoor Living Room Designs
Mirroring a classic indoor living room design, the outdoor fireplace serves as the focal point of this outdoor living room and includes a nearby bar for serving guests. Privacy fencing provides a backdrop to make it feel more intimate. Tropical plants, textured pavers, water features and an additional fire feature work together to add an exotic quality.

Villa Veranda

Villa Veranda Outdoor Living Room Designs
This Mediterranean-style home uses a mixed-material design to visually define the living room area of the outdoor space. Vibrant color blocks in the paver design help reinforce this by creating the look of an oversized area rug. The fire pit design incorporates an extra-wide wall cap, allowing it to also function as the coffee table of the furniture grouping.

Entertainment Mecca

Fireplace Outdoor Living Room Designs
A terraced design divides this outdoor living room into separate entertainment zones. The upper level offers an intimate conversation area with furniture facing the fireplace. The lower level features a stunning waterfall fire feature that serves as the base for a weatherproof outdoor TV. The expansive patio area surrounding the fire feature allows for multiple furniture groupings, perfect for movie nights or backyard tailgating.

Light and Airy

Outdoor Back Deck Living Room Designs
Outdoor lighting design plays a major role in this relaxing outdoor living room. An oversized fire pit, uplights, edison-style string lights and lanterns all add to the ambiance. Attractive pendant lights hang over the seating area to add additional illumination and create the aesthetic of an interior room. A faux rug paver design reinforces the living room concept.

Terraced Sitting Rooms

Enviable Outdoor Terrace Living Room Designs
This multi-level terrace design creates the look and functionality of multiple sitting rooms. Utilizing retaining walls to convert a sloped backyard into usable entertainment space, the design incorporates a contemporary paver pattern to mimic the look of interior carpeting. Contrasting paver banding and landscape walls create visual separation between each distinct sitting room. Wall caps mirror the color of the banding to tie the look together.

For more outdoor living room design ideas, visit our Stylish Roomscapes Pinterest board.

Heartwarming Fireside Memories and Mouthwatering S’mores Recipes

Fire Pit S'mores Recipes

Last month, we reached out to our readers for submissions of their favorite fireside memories and s’mores recipes during our annual National S’mores Day Fire Pit Giveaway. We were thrilled to receive over 5,800 submissions! As part of our celebration, a random name was chosen to receive a Belgard fire pit for making treasured fireside memories and yummy s’mores in their own backyard. Congratulations to this year’s winner:

TAMRA C. – Fresno, CA

We enjoyed reading through the wonderful stories and recipes that were submitted. Here are a few of our favorites for you to enjoy.

Everything’s Better Around the Fire

Recently we were flooded from our home and were homeless. We went up to my parent’s place back in the country and to cheer my kids up, my grandmother had sent s’mores makings to my mom’s house. We all sat around a fire and had s’mores and had a great time helping to forget the bad things happening to us that night. — B. Bluey / Latrobe, PA

Whenever daddy was deployed and the kids were so sad, I broke out the s’mores stuff. It was amazing. They perked up, and we were able to laugh and talk, and for a moment, even if it was only for that moment, the kids were happy. — K. Backowski / Olathe, KS

Under the towering pines of Colorado, we sat outside around the fire pit…my children’s faces lit up with joy, and starlight…downing s’mores. They each called out how they wanted their own marshmallows …either gooey or crunchy-crusted. We sang and told stories while the fire died down. Chocolate still on their cheeks, they nodded off, grinning, and had to be carried in to bed. — D. Patton / Dallas, TX

First time I ever had a s’more, I didn’t realize it was ok to blacken the marshmallow, so I kept throwing them away. Next thing I knew I used up the entire bag trying to make the perfect s’more. We had to run to the nearest store to buy more marshmallows so everyone else could have a s’more. — O. Chansombat / Oklahoma City, OK

Roasting marshmallows for my s’more at age 11, it caught fire. I shook it instead of blowing it to put it out. It flung off the stick across the fire and landed all melty on my aunt’s lip. Good times. — T. Locke / Jasper, AL

I remember as a teen, my sisters and I would write our wishes on slips of paper. We would toss them into the fire thinking as they burned, our wishes went to our guardian angels. — M. Scott / Joplin, MO

Some of my favorite fireside memories are of fixing lemonade and watching the grandchildren play and run with water guns and bubbles. Just listening to their screams of excitement as they played. We laughed because they did! — J. Burney / Kennesaw, GA

The first time I ever had s’mores was at Girl Scout Camp with my lifelong best friend, Lisa. A few months later, my family and I moved 2,000 miles away. Every summer for the next 4 years I came back and we had s’mores at the lake. We grew up, got married, had kids, lost touch. 20 years later, I made a visit back “home” with my family and showed up at Lisa’s door with a bag of marshmallows, a box of graham crackers and some chocolate bars. It was like we’d never been away from each other. — Anon / Denton, TX

New Versions of Everyone’s Favorite Fireside Treat

We got lots of submission that suggested switching out the standard milk chocolate bar for a favorite candy bar. Some yummy suggestions included using an Almond Joy, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup or Ghirardelli Squares. Those ideas all sound pretty darn awesome! Here are some other intriguing recipes submitted by our readers:

Graham crackers, pumpkin flavored marshmallows, Hersey bars and a smear of peanut butter. — R. Walker Conrad / Kingbury, TX

Drizzle caramel sauce over toasted marshmallows before putting chocolate on and sandwich between peanut butter cookies. — Anon / Reno, NV

Adult S’mores: Strain the juice out of a jar of cherries and soak the cherries in rum overnight. Push the cherry into the center of the melty marshmallow before assembling the s’more. — Anon / Eeau Claire, WI

Graham crackers, Nutella, chocolate squares, sliced fruit. Always went to campgrounds every weekend with my whole family. My grandparents always made them like this. We still all get together and have camping nights with s’mores. — C. Black / Marion, OH

Mexican S’mores: Tortilla, chocolate, and marshmallow — deep fried and covered in cinnamon and sugar. — Anon / Gomez, CA

I live for sliced strawberries in between my s’mores. I also recently fell in love with chocolate and toasted marshmallow in between an open Oreo cookie. The more burnt, the better! — A. Church / Rockledge, FL

Key Lime Pie S’mores: Honey graham crackers, key lime marshmallows and white chocolate. We topped them with a little bit of lime zest and voila! The perfect tropical s’more. — R. Dutton / Ashville, NC

Vanilla wafers and starbursts. Soften the starbursts over a fire, then place on top of a vanilla wafer. — M. Fullmer / Logan, UT

Happy National S’mores Day! Enter to Win a Fire Pit and Artisan Chocolate!

Happy National S'mores Day

Due to the popularity of last year’s National S’mores Day Giveaway event, we have decided to celebrate again this August by giving away another fabulous Belgard fire pit. And to literally sweeten the pot, this year’s winner will also receive a year’s supply of Chuao Chocolatier® artisan chocolate!

CLICK NOW TO ENTER!

Like last year, share your special fireside memories or unique s’mores recipes when you enter. We’ll compile our favorite entries to share on the Outdoor Living by Belgard blog when we announce the prize winner!

Belgard FIre Pits for S'Mores

So many of us do have fond memories of sitting around a fire, sharing stories and roasting marshmallows. Just the mention of it is likely sending you on a walk down memory lane to a moment during a camping trip or a week at summer camp. Or maybe even just last week in your own backyard. After all, fire pits are currently ranked as the number one trend in outdoor living design.

Types of Fire Pit Features

Now don’t get us wrong, we do love the classic s’mores recipe of a gooey marshmallow sandwiched between melty milk chocolate and cinnamony graham crackers. But if you’ve never tried any other combinations, here are some tasty ideas to get your creative juices flowing.

S'more Recipe Ideas

We look forward to checking out your ideas for delectable fireside treats, as well as reading about your cherished fireside memories. Good luck!

CLICK NOW TO ENTER!

Fire Pit Patio Design Trends

Research shows that fire pits have been among the top five outdoor living design trends for the last several years. As this trend continues to grow hotter with each passing season, design ideas for fire pits have evolved and taken many different forms. Whether a gas-burning, wood-burning or hybrid version, fire pit designs continue to become more unique and individualized in nature.

In-Ground Fire Pits

The appeal of an in-ground fire pit is that it creates the beautiful, primal effect of flames erupting from the ground. In terms of fire safety, there is the added benefit of lower flames that are kept more contained. However, there’s a safety drawback, as well, as there are no protective walls around the fire.

Gas Fire Tables

Gas fire tables offer a contemporary look and appeal to homeowners who prefer the ease of gas — always ready to light, no wood or ash to worry about. An added benefit of a fire table is that it has a larger surface area and can actually be used as a table, creating more of an outdoor living room aesthetic than a traditional fire pit. Fire tables can also be built at varying heights, including bar height.

Multi-Level Fire Pit Patios

A multi-level fire pit patio offers a dimensional element to the design and separates the fire pit area into a distinct outdoor room, making the fire pit more of destination spot in the backyard.

Fire Pits with Built-in Seat Walls

Built-in seating often holds a spot in the top 10 outdoor living design elements as well, so it’s only natural that seat walls would become a popular aspect of fire pit patio design. After all, where does everyone want to sit and gather? By the fire, of course.

. . .

Home is Where the Hearth Is

Products: Belair Wall® (fireplace and seat wall) and Mega-Lafitt® pavers.

The outdoor living room has been one of the fastest growing trends in outdoor design over the last few years. When considering the popularity of this trend, the question arises: What’s the difference between a patio and an outdoor living room? The answer is simple: Livability.

Products: Bristol Elements™ fireplace and Lafitt® Rustic Slab pavers.

An outdoor living room is more than just a grouping of chairs with a coffee table. It’s a cozy and inviting space that evokes a sense of relaxation, a space where people want to spend time both alone and enjoying the company of others. To achieve this effect, it’s important to apply interior design techniques to creating your outdoor space.

With that in mind, what tends to be the centerpiece of most interior living rooms? The answer, of course, is a fireplace. The reason for this is multifaceted. Historically, a fireplace would be added to the living room to heat the home. But as this need diminished in necessity over the years, the popularity of an interior fireplace did not. That is because the warmth that exudes from a fireplace is not only physical in nature, but emotional, as well. Spending time in front of a fire with a loved one often creates a deeper connection with that person on an instinctual or primal level. Fire, good.

That’s why one of the easiest ways to create an emotional sense of warmth in an outdoor living room is to add a fire feature, which has the added benefit of physical warmth during the colder months, allowing you to use your outdoor living room year round. Another benefit to fire features — like fireplaces, fire pits and fire tables — is that they appeal to people of all ages. When multiple generations gather around a fire pit, the generation gap disappears, and they can all relate to one another on a purely human level. It’s no wonder that fire pits have been on the top of the “must haves” list in outdoor design for the last several years.

A fire feature, like this welcoming fire pit at the HGTV® Dream Home 2018, instantly converts a simple patio into an outdoor living room. Products: Belair Wall® 2.0 (fire pit) and Urbana Stone® permeable pavers. (photo: Robert Peterson, Rustic White Photography)

When adding a fire feature to an outdoor living room, be sure to leave ample space for seating and traffic because it will instantly become everyone’s favorite gathering spot. If it’s a wood-burning fire feature, it will also need to be an adequate distance from any structures, as a safety precaution. In fact, some municipalities and HOA’s have specific regulations about this, so be sure and do your homework.

To complete your outdoor living room, add other interior design touches — such as tables, accent lighting, pillows, throws and other accessories. But be warned, once you create an inviting outdoor living room, get ready for company!

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For fire feature design ideas, read our blogs on Fire Pit Design Ideas and  Outdoor Fireplace Design Ideas For more design inspiration, visit the Belgard Pinterest boards.

NEXT WEEK:  Don’t let the frigid temperatures fool you. If you want your new pool to be ready for swimming season, it’s time to start planning now.

2017 Outdoor Living Contractor Wish List

In addition to our homeowner audience, the Outdoor Living by Belgard blog is read by many of Belgard’s industry partners. This week’s blog is a nod to those hardworking professionals who create beautiful outdoor living spaces. With that in mind, we offer season’s greetings to our designers and installers with this year’s favorite picks of gadgets, tools and gift ideas for the Belgard Professional.

VIRTUAL REALITY GOGGLES

VR is no longer just for gameplay, but can be a powerful design and sales tool. With the Belgard Design Studio‘s new Virtual Reality platform, you can immerse a client into the design of their future outdoor living space. Simply slip a smartphone into VR goggles to see a 360-degree view of the design as though standing in the actual future space. Contact your local Belgard rep to learn more about receiving your own Belgard VR goggles.

CONCRETE Cup GRINDER

This handy tool will be integral in turning jobs faster in 2018. Earlier this year, Belgard debuted the revolutionary new Techniseal® DriBond™ Advanced Dry Mudset for laying thin pavers over existing concrete, thus eliminating the need for concrete demolition and removal. A concrete cup grinder will help level and prep the slab for the overlay process, allowing contractors to take advantage of overlay opportunities. The concrete cup grinder can also be used for a host of different hardscape applications and is a versatile tool that all crews should have in their toolbox.

AERIAL VIDEO DRONES

Those who read the Contractor Wish List each year know that we regularly recommend buying an aerial video drone. Well, with good reason. The technology continues to improve and get easier to use, making it a must-have for the savvy designer or installer who wants to showcase their work on a website or social media platform. Each year, PC Magazine does an in-depth report on the best drones of the year. Click here for their 2017 favorites.

BATTERY-OPERATED PAVER PLACER™

Large-format pavers are a tremendously popular trend in contemporary patio design, which can be back-breaking work to install. Pav Mor® offers a full line of paver-placing tools that help to both reduce injuries and speed installation. Many of their models work off of a standard air compressor, but the one shown is this photo is a battery-operated model that can allow the freedom to function far away from an outlet.

WESTON FIRE PIT KIT

There’s an old saying that states, “The cobblers children have no shoes.” Many an outdoor living professional has neglected his or her own backyard to spend time beautifying other people’s homes. But the Weston Stone® Fire Pit Kit is so easy to install, the kids will not only have shoes this year, but will be roasting marshmallows to boot.