If you have a spacious outdoor living area, the whole family is able to enjoy its vastness. It provides you with all the space you need to put together big summer parties, host rousing volleyball tournaments or play catch with the kids. However, on the other hand, it can appear to be quite a lot of space to design. Fortunately, there are ways to make hosting or enjoying time with your family feel warm and intimate, even in a large living area.

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What you really want are a few cozy conversation nooks with strategically placed outdoor lounge furniture, comfortable spaces for alfresco dining and designated garden areas that help you show off your beautiful landscaping. Sectioning off the backyard or large patio can help you make it feel warmer while also recreating the feeling of being inside. There are tons of unique ways to divide and delineate outside, including those below.

  1. Install a Trellis with Vines or a Plant Wall — Trellises and lattice panels are the perfect option for those looking for stylish, permanent dividers that also serve as decorative accents. Install wall-like trellises to frame in open spaces and enhance them with flowering vines, such as bougainvillea or wisteria. Note that vines can quickly climb out of control and set up shop on your landscape permanently, so make sure to keep them tame. If you’re concerned about things growing too wild, consider installing a vertical planter wall with containers instead.
  2. Section Off Areas with Large Planters — Don’t underestimate the power of a large outdoor planter, especially when it’s potted with a tall tree or shrub. Towering greens, such as arborvitae, also make excellent options for your large planters. When placed in rows of three or four, they can create dense privacy walls that perfectly delineate the most challenging exteriors.
  3. Create Natural Delineations with Shrubs — In the same vein, you can create more permanent sections in your outdoor greenspace by planting shrubs or evergreens along perimeters. Arborvitae is an obvious choice for creating shrub walls and privacy hedges, but boxwood, photina, honeysuckle and others will do the trick as well. When selecting your privacy shrubs, be sure to consider whether you want colorful blooms, solid greens or a winter palette.

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  4. Create Pathways with Paver Stones — Transform your vast outdoor living area into a meandering English garden by installing various paver stones surrounded by pretty edging, garden stones or planters. This is an affordable way to create a natural path to the more private or hidden parts of your yard. It will also help you frame in specific areas, whether you want to divide your lounge area from your garden or separate lawn from landscaping.
  5. Outline and Frame with Mulch Beds — Mulch beds are a simple, affordable way to frame in spaces so that edges don’t appear so stark or harsh. They can also help you conserve moisture, shield your plant roots from harsh temperatures and even prevent rain damage, helping to enhance the overall health of your gardens and lawn. Create zones by extending your mulch beds out around fences and walls or edging patios.
  6. Install Outdoor Privacy Screens —If you’re seeking a temporary and versatile solution to divide your outdoor space, consider buying outdoor garden panels or privacy screens that you can set up and take down as needed. Just make sure you either choose an all-weather option made of a hardy wood such as teak or plan to store your panels indoors at night and during the winter. Ideally, you should do both to ensure a sound investment. This is a great choice if you’re looking for space to conceal less-than-attractive items when they’re not in use, such as your garden bench or patio furniture covers.
  7. Use Benches and Sofas As ‘Walls’ — Long outdoor furniture is essential to helping you create comfortable lounging areas both inside and out, especially if you like to host big groups. Sofas, benches and oversized chairs serve as the frame of your seating space and help create natural walkways and relaxation zones where people will want to gather. Just be sure to place the back of the sofa facing an area you want to close off; otherwise, you will unintentionally create zones that feel off-limits to your guests.

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  8. Build a Pergola or Shade Screen — Pergolas are structures that feature open lattices or beams on the top or sides. You can use these structures as supports for climbing plants and vines, which create natural shade and add a jungle-like ambiance to your space. What’s great about pergolas is that they effectively create outdoor “rooms” which can serve as your central lounge or dining area. The shady, intimate environment makes them perfect for hosting or simply enjoying dinner outside with family when the weather is nice. You can even use the top beams as supports for hanging chairs or benches!
  9. Use Large Outdoor Rugs to Create ‘Zones’ — Outdoor flooring has come a long way, so don’t discount this option! Durable all-weather area rugs can help you create a cozy zone on the patio or beneath your pergola. Use different sized area rugs in different parts of the space to create several chill areas. A small area rug in a corner is perfect for your conversation set with two chairs and a table, while a large one beautifully frames your dining area.
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A well-designed outdoor living space will help you spend more time outside with family and friends. The reality is that if you don’t enjoy being in your open-air living environment, you’ll simply stay inside. Creating comfortable sections with these brilliant landscape dividing techniques will help you easily and affordably make your backyard your new favorite hang space.