11 Ways to Maximize Your Outdoor Structure All Year Long

A rustic pavilion, charming gazebo, or elegant pergola can transform the look of your backyard and give you some much-needed outdoor living space. 

But as much as you may dream of adding a beautiful outdoor structure to your landscape, a part of you is worried. What if I don’t use it that much?

In fact, maybe your lawn already houses an outdoor structure that fills you with more guilt than joy because you simply don’t use it as often as you thought you would.

At Fisher’s Backyard, we know that anything from cold winter months to wet weather to inconvenient storage can make your outdoor structure lie unused and empty.

But it doesn’t have to be that way!

In this article, we’ll explore five creative uses for your outdoor structure as well as six ways to streamline it for maximum convenience, adding up to eleven ways to maximize your space all year long.

Table of Contents

  • 1

    1. The Importance of Outdoor Living Spaces

  • 2

    2. Six Ways to Streamline Your Structure for Maximum Usage

  • 3

    3. Five Creative Ways to Use Your Structure

The Importance of Outdoor Living Spaces

The outdoors has a calming effect on people. Simply sniffing a flower or feeling fresh air on your face instantly boosts your mood. Spending time outside has many health benefits, including giving you more vitamin D, improving your mental health, and giving you better sleep.

But increasingly, we’re an indoor-oriented society, spending our days sitting in chairs and staring at screens. Even though we want to get outside more, it can be difficult. If you don’t have time or energy to drive to a pickleball court or hiking area, what are your options? Standing in your backyard doing nothing?

That’s where outdoor living spaces come in. Investing in a pavilion, deck, patio, gazebo, or pergola creates a space for living outdoors instead of in. Whether you’re chatting with friends, eating dinner, or even scrolling on your phone, you can now do it in nature instead of in your closed-up home.

Note: If you’re interested in outdoor structures but don’t know where to begin, here are a few helpful blogs to get you started:


Six Ways to Streamline Your Outdoor Structure for Maximum Usage

Have you ever bought something shiny and new that you assumed you’d use all the time, only for it to stand unused in the closet, making you feel guilty every time you looked at it?

Sometimes, this happens with outdoor structures.

You put up a gazebo, thinking you’ll spend hours relaxing in its shade or eating dinner al fresco, only to find yourself deciding time and time again to stay indoors.


Unfortunately, outdoor living spaces are not always comfortable or convenient. Any number of things may be discouraging use. Maybe your yard is full of wasps. Maybe your pavilion is on the other side of a stretch of wet grass. Maybe the furniture is uncomfortable.

Let’s take a closer look at ways to streamline structure to work around these issues and make your space as comfortable and convenient as possible. 

1 - Placement and access

Before buying an outdoor living structure, think about where you’ll put it, and if you already own one, consider moving it to a new location. 

Your structure should be in a place that feels convenient to access. Most importantly, if you hope to eat meals in your structure, place it near your kitchen!

Finally, make sure there’s a path leading from your home to your structure so you can use it no matter the weather without getting your feet wet and muddy. 


2 - Furniture and storage that make sense

Your structure is only as comfortable as the furniture inside it. First, it should be comfortable⁠—if not, you’ll never use it! Second, it should make sense for the type of structure you have. If you’re placing it in a roofless structure, make sure it’s made of a material that will dry quickly.

Consider buying specialty furniture, such as modular, multi-use, or built-in furniture. That way, you can make the most of the space. For example, you may be interested in:

  • Built-in gazebo benches
  • Benches with storage underneath
  • Modular outdoor couches that can be arranged in multiple configurations to fit the space and event
  • Foldable furniture or hammocks that can be stored in small spaces

Finally, no conversation about furniture is complete without talking about storage. A lack of storage makes outdoor living inconvenient. Storage can be built into the structure itself, or you can buy free-standing storage units. Either way, make sure you have it!

If your furniture needs to be put away for the winter, make sure you have an adequate place to put it that’s easy to access from the outdoor structure. 

3 - Screened-in areas

Have you ever wandered outside with a book or some gardening sheers, ready to spend a few hours in the sunshine, only to be attacked by mosquitos, swarmed by flies, or accosted by wasps?

Bugs are a huge pain that drives people indoors. There are multiple ways to deal with bugs, from hanging insect traps to burning mosquito coils. But the most foolproof method to keeping your outdoor space bug-free is to install screens in your outdoor structure.

From porches to gazebos to pavilions, you always have the option of creating a screened-in, bug-free zone!

4 - Heating and cooling

Part of the beauty of the outdoors is dealing with the climate nature gave you instead of the precisely heated or cooled interior. However, if the space is uncomfortably hot or bitterly cold, it may cause you to use it less.

Consider adding a heating option to your outdoor structure. There are many types of outdoor heaters on the market, but if you’re looking for something cozy that will foster deep conversation, there’s nothing like a crackling fire! A fire pit or outdoor fireplace can do wonders.

Shades and awnings can help with both heating and cooling, blocking sunlight in the summer and wind in the winter. 

Finally, cool off by installing ceiling fans in your structure!

5 - Electricity and lighting

One way to make your outdoor structure infinitely more convenient is to run electricity to it. With a few outlets, you can do almost anything in the space, from charging your phone to plugging in a crockpot to setting up an outdoor movie night with friends. 

Most importantly, install lights! Lighting drastically expands the amount of time you can logistically spend in your outdoor structure.

6 - Allergy-free zones

Many people struggle to go outdoors because of their allergies. Nature is not much fun with a stuffed-up nose and watery eyes!

While there’s no surefire way to eliminate environmental allergins, here are a few tips for creating a space where you can comfortably be in nature even if you struggle with allergies.

  • Plant allergen-friendly plants in your yard, especially near your outdoor structure
  • Use hardscape materials around your structure
  • Use an allergen-friendly ground cover such as clover or dichondra
  • Place your structure in a sheltered area, or put up shades or walls to block most of the pollen-carrying wind

Just think⁠—if you can successfully use your outdoor structure as an allergy-free zone, you’ll be able to get the health benefits of being outside with the pain and suffering associated with allergies!

Five Creative Ways to Use Your Structure

Now that your structures are comfortable and convenient let’s look at creative ways to bring your indoor life outdoors!

1 - Outdoor kitchen

Bring the heat and dirt of the kitchen outdoors! This doesn’t have to be elaborate⁠—start with a grill, a table, and some storage for utensils and salt. But if you want to go all-out, you can design a fully functioning kitchen outside, with a sink, cabinets, and even a refrigerator!

Another idea is to add a fire pit or pizza oven for making specific types of food with friends.

2 - Pool cabana

If you have a pool, consider using your outdoor structure as a pool cabana. Fill it with comfortable furniture, or curtain it off as a changing area.

3 - Outdoor dining area

One of the most popular ways to use an outdoor structure is as a dining area. All you need is a large table and chairs, and you can host dinner parties in the great outdoors or simply enjoy family meals in the fresh breeze!

4 - Workspace

As long as you have electricity and a table or desk, your outdoor structure can be your workspace. Start by taking your laptop into your structure to see if you enjoy the feeling of working outdoors, and if you do, consider adding a permanent work setup with weather-protective storage space for placing your computer while you’re not working.

5 - Creative space

Finally, consider making your outdoor living space a creative area for messy art projects! If you have children, they will love the chance to make messy art in the beauty of the outdoors, and you’ll be able to clean up by hosing the area down, which you can’t do inside. 


Where to Buy an Outdoor Structure

At Fisher’s Backyard, we want to help you make your dream outdoor living space a reality! That’s why we construct beautiful, high-quality outdoor structures, including:

If you’re interested, you can play around with designing your own structure or contact us with any questions you may have!

We look forward to working with you.

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