10 Outdoor Living Ideas to Steal from California

California is well loved for its sunny skies and mild year-round weather. It's the type of place where outdoor living is a given. California homes reflect that way of life, with outdoor spaces that seamlessly blur the line between the indoors and the backyard. But you don’t have to live in California to value an outdoors attitude. Check out our favorite ideas for outdoor living inspired by the Golden State.

  1. Outdoor Cooking

    Outdoor kitchen

    Zillow Digs home in Danville, CA

    No matter where you live, entertaining family and friends outdoors is more convenient and more pleasurable when you can cook right where your guests are gathered. This outdoor kitchen is fully equipped and sheltered in a pavilion. No doubt just like at a party indoors, everyone always ends up in the kitchen!

    Related: Design Ideas to Steal from 10 Amazing Outdoor Kitchens

  2. Outdoor Lounging

    Outdoor lounging

    Zillow Digs home in Los Angeles, CA

    With an intelligently designed outdoor living space, you can extend the square footage of your house and gain an entire room to use when the weather is warm. In this outdoor living room, a pergola provides shade on sunny days, and a fireplace keeps it cozy on chilly evenings.

  3. Outdoor Entertainment

    Outdoor entertainment

    Zillow Digs home in Tarzana, CA

    Whether it’s watching the big game, or going Hollywood with a movie screening on a warm night, integrating technology like TVs and sound systems into your outdoor space lets you take your summer entertaining to the next level. Plus, with an outdoor media center, you can enjoy the fresh air without missing the newest episode of your favorite show. 

    Related: 18 Inspiring Ideas for Easy Outdoor Entertaining

  4. Generous Hardscapes

    Generous hardscape

    Zillow Digs home in Pebble Beach, CA

    Extended hardscapes give you solid ground to stand on, even in the backyard. A big stretch of floor outdoors makes it easy to transition your activities from indoors to out. Even better, it reduces the amount of grass and landscaping you need to maintain—which frees up the time and money you'd otherwise spend caring for an expansive lawn.

  5. Drought-Tolerant Plants

    Drought tolerant plants

    Zillow Digs home in San Jose, CA

    Most people want to spend more time outdoors—but not if that means taking care of the yard. Drought-tolerant plants, shrubs, and trees require less maintenance but still offer a beautiful landscape to enjoy—ideally from afar, relaxing in a lounge chair.  

    Related: 20 Plants That Survive With or Without You

  6. Artificial Turf

    Artificial turf

    Zillow Digs home in San Diego, CA

    Grass can be laborious and expensive to maintain, especially in typically dry areas of the country like California. But artificial turf has gotten so good looking in the last few years, it’s becoming a real option—in any part of the country—for those who want a lush, green lawn without the work.

  7. Gorgeous Gravel

    Gorgeous gravel

    Zillow Digs home in San Diego, CA

    If you'd like to mix up your terrain, gravel is a fine choice. Pea gravel's natural look and feel complements the stucco exteriors so popular in California, but it goes well with other building materials as well. It’s also a lot more economical than pavers or stone walkways, which means you can spend the rest of your redecorating budget on an outdoor dining set or a brand-new grill.

    Related: Pass on Grass: 7 Reasons to Landscape with Gravel

  8. Built-In Seating

    Built in furniture

    Zillow Digs home in La Jolla, CA

    Built-in seating makes outdoor comfort a part of your very landscape. More than just merely convenient, it can help define and bring structure to the patio while providing ample seating for backyard cocktail parties and barbecues. As well, you can finally ditch your old plastic patio furniture—just add cushions and accessories to amp up comfort and color.

    Related: 10 American-Made Buys for Your Outdoor Living Area

  9. Fabulous Fireplaces

    Fabulous fireplaces

    Zillow Digs home in Los Angeles, CA

    Fireplaces are still trending big-time in outdoor spaces. They offer the coziness of a fire pit, without the smoke—and of course, you can still toast marshmallows over that roaring flame!

  10. Patio Bars

    Patio bars

    Zillow Digs home in Danville, CA

    Cocktail parties are almost ubiquitous in classic Hollywood films. Conjure up a little bit of that silver screen magic for yourself with the addition of a patio bar. Connected to an outdoor kitchen, this patio bar offers a perfect place for guests to chitchat with the host during dinner prep. It also helps create a smooth transition from the hardscaping to the natural spaces of the yard.

    Related: 9 Creative Ways to Build a Backyard Hangout

  11. See the Kitchen of the Week


    These innovative and beautiful kitchens may inspire your next renovation or redecorating project. Take a look to see the latest images and inspiration.