Planning what your custom home will look like  isn’t just about architecture of your house but about what your outdoor living space looks like as well. Potentially having been stuck inside for much of 2020 and the beginning of 2021 due to COVID-19, outdoor living spaces are all the more important. And since you’re designing your custom home with North Star Premier Custom Homes, you can create that space however you want: with a front porch, a covered kitchen, a play/exercise area, a garden, a privacy wall, an outdoor cottage, or otherwise.

6 Ohio Outdoor Living Space Ideas for 2021 and Beyond

Much like your custom home investment, you want to be happy with your outdoor living space choices—making sure you enjoy it for many years to come. That means a space that’s weather-resistant and can be used year round (two qualities necessary for Ohio’s sometimes unpredictable weather). Here are a few ideas we think will brighten up your front and backyards.

#1 Outdoor Living Space Idea: Take Advantage of the Front Yard

When we think about outdoor living areas, we often think about making full use of backyards, since there’s typically more space. But a front porch adds to a home’s curb appeal (or, if your home is tucked away, it offers a relaxing area to take in your view.)

When you begin the home design process with North Star Premier Custom Homes, make sure you mention if you want a front patio! We can help you figure out what will look best for the home you have in mind or offer recommendations if you’d like a starting point.

#2 Outdoor Living Space Idea: Covered Outdoor Kitchens

Gathering with family and friends has always been fun, but step up your party planning game with an outdoor kitchen—and keep it covered for year-round entertainment. Deck it out with terrazzo countertops and weather-resistant, easy-to-clean concrete furniture with colorful cushions. Grill up some steaks and fresh vegetables for a meal under the stars and make sure you have outdoor heaters for colder months plus fans for warmer months.

#3 Outdoor Living Space Idea: Play/Exercise Areas

While family time indoors is great, it’s nice to get some fresh air, too. An outdoor pool is an awesome addition to an outdoor living area but unfortunately can’t be used year-round. A covered play or exercise area can, though! Fill your room with weather-resistant toys or games like Giant Jenga. Next to your covered play space, consider a tree swing or a playground set. Design a rock climbing wall or put up a basketball hoop. (Some of these might not be able to be used all year in Ohio, but they can definitely be used most of the year.)

If you want an exercise area, have your exercise equipment in a fully covered space with windows. Or create a serene, outdoor yoga space where you can enjoy nature. Really, the only limit is the space you have available.

#4 Outdoor Living Space Idea: Sustainable Gardens

It can get pretty chilly in Ohio, but that doesn’t mean we can’t grow crops. Flower gardens are beautiful to look at, but gardens can also provide fruits, vegetables, and herbs almost all year round. In winter months, try beets, carrots, onions, radishes, and turnips that are buried deeper in the soil and are easier to grow in the cold. In spring and summer, test out cucumbers, mint, squash, tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant. Think about adding apple trees or other fruit trees in your yard as well.

You can preserve everything you grow by canning, dehydrating, pickling, and freezing. If you decide to grow fresh herbs, you can freeze them in ice cube trays with olive oil to spruce up your next home cooked meal in your outdoor kitchen. The other advantage to having a garden in your backyard is sustainability. You’ll have fresh fruits and vegetables for your family and can compost your food scraps for richer soil.

#5 Outdoor Living Space Idea: Private Backyards

You might enjoy being around your neighbors but also might want privacy when you’re outside doing yoga or spending time with friends. You can accomplish this through landscaping—with evergreen shrubs—or with a stylish fence. White pickets are classic, but depending on how you want to set the tone for your backyard, you could add a pop of color with warm tones or bring some tranquility to your space with earth tones.

#6 Outdoor Living Space Idea: Guest Cottage

Having a cottage in your backyard allows guests to have a completely private dwelling when they visit. In-laws can live in outdoor cottages (often called “granny flats” for a reason) or older children can use the cottage as a transition space after they graduate college. These guest cottages, much like your custom home, can look however you want. You can design them with smart technology, mini kitchens, a bathroom, and more—or stick to simple amenities.

A few other outdoor living space add-ons:

To make your outdoor spaces cozier, these last couple options offer a little something extra.

Outdoor Internet

Want to take a zoom call outside or watch Netflix in your outdoor cottage? Adding an internet booster amplifies your wi-fi signal so you can spend time on your laptop while relaxing or working outdoors.

Hot Tub

While this isn’t a year-round addition—unless you want to be really toasty in the summer—outdoor hot tubs are perfect for the fall and winter times under a covered area. Enjoy late-night drinks with friends or unwind with your partner.


Dogs are typically okay to run outside for a minute during Ohio winters (and there are indoor solutions if not). But if you’re a cat person who wants their animals to have a space as well, catios are trending this year. These outdoor enclosures allow cats and other small animals such as rabbits to roam around outside with an added layer of safety.

No matter what you choose to do with your outdoor space, it should feel like an extension of your home—with that same feeling of comfort. North Star Premier Custom Homes will help you find the right solutions and partners to make your outdoor living space dreams happen.

Ready to build your fully-customized dream home?

If North Star Premier Custom Homes feels like the right fit for you, please give us a call at 216-469-0286. We look forward to hearing about your dream home!