25 Dreamy Patios, Pools, and Porches

Inspiring pools, patios, and porches from Ballard DesignsNo matter how large or small your outdoor space is, we think everyone should have a pool, porch, or patio where they can unwind and enjoy the gorgeous weather summer has to offer. We dug through our archives to find our favorite spaces simply to bring you inspiration on these dog days of summer.

1. Dining Al Fresco

One of our must-haves for any dream outdoor space is a stylish place to entertain and host a dinner party. Nothing says summer like a big green salad and something hot off the grill. Invite guests over for a casual, impromptu evening or plan a super chic meal and go all out with place settings and flowers.

2. Let Nature Sing

If you’ve got a beautiful landscape or a fantastic view, keep outdoor furniture neutral. We love these two spaces just for that reason. Our Amalfi outdoor furniture and Suzanne Kasler’s teak campaign chair are certainly chic but they don’t upstage the main event.

3. Pair Up

If you’ve got space, a pair of chaise lounges make the perfect spot to relax in the sunshine — whether it’s for an after work cocktail or while the kids play in the pool. 

4. Style It Like Suzanne

We always look to acclaimed designer Suzanne Kasler for the ultimate style tips, so you know we’re taking notes on how she furnishes her own outdoor spaces. In both of these outdoor rooms, she used her classic Directoire collection mixed with plenty of stripes.

5. Sectional Seating

If you’ve got a big space, a sectional is a great way to pack in a ton of seating for entertaining or perhaps a big family! In both of these spaces we chose a large sectional and brought in black and white accents.

6. Fall Color

As the weather cools, there’s no reason you can’t keep using your outdoor space. Bring in a freestanding fire pit or strike up a crackling fire in your outdoor fireplace. 

7. Cool Off By the Pool

Pools are the ultimate backyard paradise, and we love giving you plenty of ways to enjoy them. Chaise lounges are a natural choice, but you may also want to place a dining area or a hammock nearby so you can enjoy your pool even if you aren’t taking a dip.

8. Gauzy Curtains

We love how romantic outdoor curtains feel. They enclose the space, making your outdoor room more intimate. Solid white panels let in plenty of natural sun light but still give that airy, gauzy effect.

Large, narrow outdoor patio designed by Suzanne Kasler | Ballard Designs

9. Break It Up

If you’ve got a long, narrow porch or patio, break it up into smaller seating areas. Here, Suzanne Kasler used her Directoire collection to create two large seatings areas that are mirror images. Plenty of comfy pillows and coffee tables for snacks make this a space you’ll enjoy for reading, entertaining, and maybe even napping!

10. Outdoor Lighting

Don’t forget to set the mood with outdoor lighting. A great chandelier on a covered porch, string lights, or wall mounted lanterns are a great way to make sure your outdoor space has plenty of light and you can relax even after the sun goes down. 

11. Stripes & Shade

In sunny backyards or seaside spaces, you’ll want to stay cool and comfortable in your outdoor space. A large tilting umbrella is the perfect solution. They’re super functional and stylish, and our favorite 9′ and 11′ Auto Tilt Umbrella comes in 30 colors!

12. Lush Greenery

Every outdoor space needs lush greenery, even paved patios! Bring plants in containers onto your porch or patio to help fill in the space and create a more lush room.

Find more outdoor inspiration, or shop our favorite outdoor collections.

Caroline McDonald

Caroline lives for pairing together patterns, mixing furniture styles, and oogling over our newest furniture pieces. As you can imagine, her little 1920's craftsman is in a constant state of flux. Here on How to Decorate, it's her goal to help you turn your home into your own little slice of paradise.