Design + Build

Summertime Oasis: Designing the Perfect Outdoor Retreat

Among all of Western North Carolina’s features that draw visitors from across the Country, our temperate climate is at the top of the list. The exceptional weather often factors into our clients’ decisions to live in this area, and designing outdoor living spaces that they can enjoy is one of our greatest joys! In this article, we will explore luxurious outdoor design ideas that will inspire you to create your very own summer sanctuary. From stunning poolside lounges to elegant outdoor kitchens, we’ve got you covered. So grab a refreshing drink, sit back, and let’s dive into the world of outdoor retreat design.

When the sun is shining and the temperature is just right, there’s nothing quite like spending time outdoors. Creating a perfect outdoor retreat allows you to make the most of the summer season and enjoy the beauty of nature right in your own backyard. Whether you have a spacious yard or a small balcony, there are endless possibilities to design a space that reflects your personal style and provides a haven for relaxation.


1. Creating a Vision for Your Outdoor Retreat

Before diving into the design process, it’s essential to have a clear vision of what you want to achieve with your outdoor retreat. Consider how you intend to use the space. Do you envision it as a peaceful oasis for solitary relaxation, a lively area for entertaining friends and family, or a combination of both? Define your goals and preferences to guide your design choices.

Luxurious outdoor living space at a home in Asheville NC


2. Maximizing Comfort with Lounge Areas

A key element of any outdoor retreat is comfortable seating. Lounge areas provide the perfect spot to unwind and bask in the sun or seek shade under a canopy. Choose plush outdoor sofas and chairs with soft cushions that invite you to sit back and relax. Consider incorporating daybeds or hammocks for ultimate comfort and a touch of luxury.


3. Embracing Nature with Lush Greenery

One of the main attractions of an outdoor retreat is the connection to nature. Embrace this by incorporating lush greenery into your design. Plant vibrant flowers, create a herb garden, or install vertical gardens to add visual interest and a refreshing ambiance. Strategic placement of trees and shrubs can also provide shade and privacy.


4. Poolside Paradises: Designs for Relaxation

If you have the space and budget, a poolside oasis can take your outdoor retreat to the next level. Install a stunning swimming pool surrounded by lounge chairs, umbrellas, and tropical plants. Consider adding features like waterfalls, fountains, or even a hot tub for a truly luxurious experience. Don’t forget to ensure safety by installing proper fencing and pool covers.


5. Outdoor Dining: Entertaining with Style

For those who love to entertain, an outdoor dining area is a must. Design a stylish space with a large dining table and comfortable chairs to accommodate your guests. Consider incorporating a pergola or a retractable awning to provide shade during daytime gatherings. Enhance the ambiance with string lights or lanterns for intimate evening dinners.


6. Enhancing Privacy with Landscaping

Privacy is essential when designing an outdoor retreat. Create a sense of seclusion by incorporating strategic landscaping elements. Install tall hedges, trellises, or decorative screens to shield your space from prying eyes. Combine these with beautiful climbing plants for a natural and visually appealing barrier.


7. Cozy Fire Pits: Creating Ambiance and Warmth

Extend the usability of your outdoor retreat into the cooler evenings with a cozy fire pit. Gather around  and enjoy the warmth as you chat with friends or toast marshmallows for s’mores. Fire pits come in various designs, from traditional wood-burning ones to modern gas-powered options. Choose the style that suits your taste and complements your overall design.


8. Lighting Up the Night: Outdoor Illumination

Proper outdoor lighting is essential for both aesthetics and functionality. Illuminate pathways, steps, and seating areas with soft lighting to create a warm and inviting atmosphere. Incorporate solar-powered lights to reduce energy consumption and make maintenance easier. Consider adding accent lighting to highlight architectural features or focal points in your outdoor space.


9. Incorporating Water Features for Serenity

The sound of trickling water can create a serene ambiance in your outdoor retreat. Consider adding water features such as fountains, ponds, or even a small waterfall. The gentle flow of water will not only add a sense of tranquility but also help mask any unwanted noise from nearby surroundings.


10. Sustainable Outdoor Design: Eco-Friendly Choices

Designing an outdoor retreat with sustainability in mind not only benefits the environment but also adds a unique touch to your space. Choose eco-friendly materials for your furniture and accessories, such as reclaimed wood or recycled plastic. Opt for native plants that require less water and maintenance. Install rainwater harvesting systems to water your garden and reduce water waste.


11. Choosing the Right Furniture and Accessories

Selecting the right furniture and accessories is crucial for a functional and stylish outdoor retreat. Invest in durable, weather-resistant materials that can withstand the elements. Look for furniture with removable and washable covers for easy maintenance. Consider adding storage solutions to keep cushions, blankets, and other items protected when not in use.


12. Adding Color and Texture with Outdoor Rugs

Outdoor rugs are an excellent way to add color, texture, and coziness to your outdoor space. Choose rugs made from durable materials that can withstand exposure to sunlight and moisture. Opt for patterns and colors that complement your overall design and create a cohesive look.


13. Stylish Shade Solutions: Canopies and Umbrellas

Shield yourself from the scorching sun with stylish shade solutions. Canopies, pergolas, and umbrellas provide relief from direct sunlight and add a touch of elegance to your outdoor retreat. Consider options that are adjustable or retractable, allowing you to adapt to changing weather conditions and create the desired level of shade.


14. Maintenance Tips for a Lasting Outdoor Retreat

To ensure that your outdoor retreat remains beautiful and functional for years to come, regular maintenance is essential. Clean your furniture and accessories regularly, following the manufacturer’s guidelines. Trim and prune plants to maintain their health and shape. Inspect and repair any damages to structures, such as pergolas or fences, to prevent further deterioration.


Designing the perfect outdoor retreat is a creative and rewarding process that allows you to make the most of the summer season. By incorporating elements such as comfortable lounge areas, lush greenery, inviting pools, and elegant dining spaces, you can create a personal oasis where you can relax, entertain, and connect with nature. Remember to consider sustainability, privacy, and maintenance to ensure a lasting and enjoyable outdoor experience.



  1. How much space do I need to create an outdoor retreat?

The space required for an outdoor retreat depends on your needs and available area. You can create a beautiful retreat in a small balcony or a spacious backyard. We recommended drawing out your plan to scale including your furniture. The key to great outdoor design is mostly in the detailed planning! 

  1. What are some budget-friendly options for outdoor retreat design?

If you’re on a budget, consider DIY projects, upcycling furniture, and opting for cost-effective materials. Focus on creating a cozy and inviting atmosphere with comfortable seating and creative decor. Facebook marketplace and re-stores (like Habitat for Humanity’s restores located throughout WNC) are an excellent place to look for unique, affordable finds!

  1. How can I protect my outdoor furniture from weather damage?

Choose weather-resistant furniture and accessories, and store or cover them during harsh weather conditions. Applying protective coatings or sealants can also help extend the lifespan of your outdoor furniture.

  1. How can I make my outdoor retreat more kid-friendly?

Ensure that your outdoor retreat has childproof features such as secure fencing, cushioned surfaces, and non-toxic plants. Consider adding fun elements like a play area or a sandbox to keep children entertained. Performance fabrics make all the difference in keeping your furniture clean and functional for years to come!