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14 Envy-Inducing Outdoor Spaces

by Kevin O'Gara

As summer rolls around and the days get longer, gardens and outdoor spaces spring back to life. From patios to balconies, these outdoor havens provide shade and sometimes homegrown fruits and veggies to enjoy all season long. The Design*Sponge archives are full of outdoor spaces that have been lovingly cultivated by their owners, ranging from full produce gardens and landscaping makeovers to alfresco dining and seating areas. Nurturing plants new and old, and spending long, candlelit nights gathered around the dining table on our patio has to be one of my favorite parts of the warm weather of summer.

With the variety of styles and tastes represented in these spaces, I hope you find some inspiration to spend time outdoors this season, and reconnect with the sounds and flora around your home. Whether you’re creating an oasis on an apartment balcony or filling the garden beds in your backyard, I believe outdoor rooms should be considered just as carefully as any interior. –Kevin

14 Envy-Inducing Outdoor Spaces on Design*Sponge
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This charming patio sits behind the Berkeley, CA home of a photographer, blogger, and cookbook author. You can spy the photo studio at the back of the patio, situated perfectly for capturing the California sunlight.
14 Envy-Inducing Outdoor Spaces on Design*Sponge
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Behind a Spanish-style home in Hollywood, CA, two entrepreneurs made this plain patio cozy with a metal dining set and string lights. The smallest touches can make an outdoor area welcoming and warm!
14 Envy-Inducing Outdoor Spaces on Design*Sponge
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The padded top and cubbies for tools, seeds, and cuttings of this upholstered garden cart make it a very useful piece (that you can build yourself) when starting or maintaining a garden.
14 Envy-Inducing Outdoor Spaces on Design*Sponge
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The magical deck of a converted church in the Netherlands shows how easy it is to create a lush garden table of planted terracotta pots. The striking modern furniture extends the home's style outdoors.
14 Envy-Inducing Outdoor Spaces on Design*Sponge
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The bohemian patio of a Beverly Hills home showcases the enviable outdoor living in Southern California, and also the many layers that can be brought into an outdoor "room" with plants, furniture, and textiles.
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The small backyard of this San Francisco home is given a modern treatment, with sculptural accents and simple plantings. The slate tiles provide a stark contrast to the bright white walls, which help reflect light back into the home.
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The before and after of this glamorous xeriscape proves just how beautiful a drought-resistant garden can be. The project upgraded the curb appeal of this home and provided a more sustainable solution for the front yard.
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The urban backyard of this Brooklyn, NY home shows just how far some elbow-grease can take a rough, inner-city space. The couple behind this transformation utilized raised beds, planters, and a great plant ladder to create an oasis.
14 Envy-Inducing Outdoor Spaces on Design*Sponge
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Separate gravel and grass areas were defined in this backyard makeover from a Portland, OR home. The long dining table and seating area are perfect for both relaxation and entertaining throughout the summer.
14 Envy-Inducing Outdoor Spaces on Design*Sponge
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The great shape and pattern of this vintage dining set bring energy to the intimate patio of this San Diego, CA home. In keeping with the style of the house, the patio is filled with colorful plants and the pattern of the furniture.
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Dusty green aloes and cacti line this handmade stone path, created by the owner of this Arizona home and her son. Such a personal touch surely makes the walk to the backyard even more special.
14 Envy-Inducing Outdoor Spaces on Design*Sponge
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The dining table and bench were a thrift store find for this San Francisco apartment and were given a new coat of paint to freshen them up. String lights and bamboo set a cozy scene for the small patio.
14 Envy-Inducing Outdoor Spaces on Design*Sponge
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I can only imagine how the vines must have grown in since this Philadephia home was published on D*S. The metal trellis training a leafy vine creates a lush "wall" to this charming patio with the cutest dining chairs.
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The backyard of this Brooklyn townhome used to be a bamboo forest. Now, the couple in this home enjoys gardening greens, herbs and flowers in the raised beds (not pictured), and grilling on the deck almost every night of the summer.

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