What To Add to your Outdoor Living Space

Creating an outdoor living space for your home is one of the most common requests we receive. Especially during these days when people are spending more and more time at home, entertaining family and small groups of friends with outdoor dining, entertaining and living spaces. 

Now more than ever, outdoor living spaces are an important part of what we do at James Martin Associates, when we partner with clients on designing and installing the landscape of their dreams. Whether you want to create an entire outdoor kitchen or living space for entertaining, or a fire pit or bbq space, there is something for everyone when considering how to add more outdoor spaces to your existing landscape.

Our team of professional landscape designers will help you build your dream outdoor space. 

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Outdoor Entertaining Area

Whether you’re entertaining your family, neighbors or friends, a designated outdoor entertaining space to host is always desired. This space could include a table within an outdoor dining area, an outdoor kitchen with bar stools, even a fire pit or fire element with comfortable seating to relax and enjoy at.

James Martin Associates has 40+ years experience working with our clients, listening to their goals and desires, and partnering with them to create the outdoor space of their dreams. 

For the ultimate outdoor entertainment space, consider adding the below features to your backyard:

  • A comfortable sofa/seating area for entertaining, relaxing, and hosting company. 
  • A swing to create a space where people can relax, hang out
  • An outdoor bar or kitchen. Many of our clients who enjoy cooking for their guests love the ability to dine alfresco  4-5 months a year (dependant on Chicago weather).  Their outdoor kitchen becomes an extension of their home during the Spring, Summer and Fall months. 
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Outdoor kitchens are a very common request when we work with clients to design their outdoor living space.

An outdoor kitchen can include elements such as a BBQ, a dishwasher, a fire pit, a pizza oven, really whatever you desire we can add into the design of your outdoor space.

Some of our favorite elements include bar seating where guests can engage with whoever is behind the bar hosting or cooking for them. This also adds additional seating above and beyond a designated seating or dining space. 

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When James Martin Associates creates a backyard landscape design, the dining space is one of the first things we consider to determine where the deck or patio should be, where to install the outdoor kitchen and other elements of a client’s backyard design.

For example, if your yard is large enough to accommodate multiple outdoor living spaces, you may want a few unique spaces including a few bars stools by the outdoor kitchen, a large table that seats the family and possibly a smaller table for the kids to dine at when entertaining other families.

There are endless possibilities in which we cater to each client’s style, needs and space. Call us today to speak to our design team about enhancing your outdoor space.

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Outdoor Fireplaces & Firepits

Both a fireplace and a firepit are great for outdoor entertaining and they’re perfect for cooking with your family day to day.   If you have the space for an outdoor grill and an outdoor firepit we’d encourage you to add both as the outdoor grill is more functional for cooking dinner, bbq’ing… and the outdoor fire pit is more of a leisure space to have a glass of wine, roast marshmallows and relax with family and friends.

Another thing to consider when selecting a firepit or fireplace is which material to use? Whether it’s blue stone,  granite, slate, limestone or brick there are quite a few options to make a unique outdoor living space perfect for your style, needs and functionality. 



We have had many past clients who wanted to incorporate a TV into the design of their outdoor space. 

Many families add an outdoor TV to their outdoor kitchens or outdoor living spaces to enjoy sports or even movie nights during the warmer Spring or Summer Chicago nights.

When adding a TV to your landscape design, be sure to consider the natural elements, such as snow in the harsh Chicago winters. For that reason, most of the outdoor spaces we install have a covered TV or cabinets where you can close and protect the TV from Chicago’s natural elements.  

Whatever your requirements, our landscape design experts will work with you to create the perfect outdoor living space for your lifestyle.

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Water features are another great element we suggest our clients add to their outdoor space. These not only create a beautiful focal point in your backyard, but can also add a sense of tranquility and calm created by the sound of trickling water.

Some examples of great water features to enhance your outdoor living space include:

  • A pond
  • A koi pond: Fish can be a wonderful addition to a garden not only because they’re fun to look at and engage with but they also have relaxing benefits helping to reduce stress.
  • A pool or hot tub
  • A stream or waterfall. Both of these water features are great to add relaxing sound to your outdoor landscape design and also the soothing views of water flowing. 

Call us today to speak to our landscape designers about creating the outdoor living space of your dreams. With endless possibilities, James Martin Associates looks forward to connecting with you and helping create the ideal landscape for your home. 

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