As soon as the snow melts in southeastern Wisconsin, we are ready to get outside and enjoy as many months as possible outdoors. Families are spending more time at home and looking for ways to add comfort and entertaining areas to their homes all year-round. So why not explore ways to turn ordinary outdoor spaces into extraordinary outdoor living rooms? Homes on the lakes create an environment moving from home to the pier or boathouse with beautiful outdoor spaces to bridge the two. Here are some simple solutions for turning an ordinary backyard into a luxurious outdoor living space.

Luxurious Outdoor Living Spaces for Your Custom Home


Typically found in gardens, a pergola is a structure made without walls or a solid roof, generally constructed with vertical posts or pillars that support a sturdy lattice of cross beams. Coming in all shapes and sizes, these structures can dramatically change your backyard. Larger structures serve as an inviting area for garden entertaining. Particularly when they are covered with plant vines like jasmine or wisteria, pergolas provide both shade and ambiance, leaving guests bathed in beauty and relaxation. These structures are typically preferred by homeowners whose backyards are void of a patio and don’t want to add a deck.


Full Roof Extension, Pavilion or Lower Patio

Installing a full roof extension or pavilion is another way to bring a touch of class and elegance to your backyard. Often built separate from the main home, a pavilion is a freestanding pergola with a solid roof and gives you a tranquil place to sit and relax among surrounding trees and other landscape vegetation. Ideally, your full roof extension or pavilion will also include power and lighting for multi-purpose activities such as meal prep, music, mood lighting, and overall entertainment. If you plan your outdoor living space when you are building your custom home, you can have a full roof over your upper deck to make a sheltered outdoor living space underneath.

Rich Landscaping

To create the ultimate backyard escape, it is important to consider form and texture as well as color when selecting plants and materials. And, how you combine shapes and textures in your landscaping plan is also critical. The two main elements that make up outdoor living spaces are known as hardscape and softscape. Hardscape is the hard elements in your yard (i.e., concrete, bricks and stone). Softscape is the soft, growing elements (i.e., flowers, shrubs, trees and succulents). Ideally, a well-designed landscape balances these two elements beautifully.

A Variety of Seating Options

Spending time outdoors in the comfort of your backyard is a wonderful way to unwind after a long day. Consider the multiple uses for your outdoor space when creating your plan. Make sure it incorporates multiple seating options to help your friends and family enjoy your backyard for as much of the year as possible. Need fireside seating for cozy nights by the fire? A lounge area to read a book or laze under the summer sun? Consider benches, chairs, stools, or sitting areas designated for dining, lounging, entertaining, and gathering.

Fire Up the Fire Pit

Summer nights in Wisconsin are perfect for enjoying a beautiful night under the stars to gather with friends and family around a fire pit. It provides a wonderful excuse to step away from our phones and devices and enjoy the beauty that exists in our own backyard.

Like many other materials, there is a wide range of options to choose from when selecting the perfect fire pit. Beyond considering its location in your yard, you will also need to decide on a wood or gas burning fire pit and potential seating elements. A cozy built-in seating area next to a fire area can create an ideal environment for snuggling and relaxing in warmth.

Custom Outdoor Kitchens

Alfresco dining and summer go hand in hand. There is no need to skip on the amenities when you are cooking or entertaining in your backyard. A chef-inspired outdoor kitchen will bring a whole new level of luxury to your outdoor living space. Consider a built-in BBQ, and how about a woodfire pizza oven? Many Lake Country homeowners choose to include an outdoor sink, refrigerator, and plenty of counter space for preparing dinners.

Garage Door Windows/Expandable Floor to Ceiling Folding Doors

Homeowners who are fully vested in bringing the outdoors in, are installing expandable floor-to-ceiling folding doors or garage doors that instantly open up their homes to an outdoor great room. Planning to do a lot of entertaining? A pass-through window is another great option that connects your outdoor space with your indoor kitchen allowing you the flexibility to whip up fixings and pass them through the window seamlessly and effortlessly.

Sound System

If you enjoy listening to music or watching TV, either relaxing alone or entertaining guests, an outdoor entertainment system is a perfect addition to creating a luxurious outdoor living space. A carefully planned, evenly distributed soundscape will make all of the difference in maximizing sound quality and enjoyment. Work with a professional designer to determine the best places to locate speakers. It will also be important to purchase speakers intended for outdoor use only.


From infrared heaters to standing gas heaters, cool spring and autumn nights in Wisconsin become toasty outside by adding a heater. It is just the amenity you need to extend your outdoor living space season. Infrared heaters operate silently, emit no greenhouse gases or unpleasant odors, and do not require ventilation. They provide heat on the patio, by the pool, or in a covered area, such as an outdoor kitchen/eating space, working well in places where the air is not easily contained and circulating.

Outdoor Movie Theater or Large Flat Screen TV

Skip the cinema and enjoy a movie night in your backyard. There’s nothing like it! With the optimal sound system in place and an ideal location set up for a screen or large flat screen, you can get ready to stream!

Hot Tub

After coming off the lake, what better amenity to have than a hot tub to take the chill off after a day or evening on the lake? An in-ground or sunk-in hot tub is a wonderful addition to your outdoor space.

When you decide to build your custom, dream lake home, think beyond the indoors. The experts at Colby Construction can help you to create the ambiance and perfect setting that brings the outdoors in and the indoors out.