Ideas for your outdoor spaces from Atlanta homeowners. Plus, entertainment tips!

From perfect patios and pool houses to custom outdoor kitchens and decks, Atlanta builders and designers show you how to create your ideal outdoor space. Plus, get entertainment tips from Mandy Landefeld, Tiffanie Barriere, and chef Linton Hopkins.

It’s time to gather the besties in your backyard to enjoy barbecues, dips in the pool and some sun. No other season of the year prompts visions of dining and entertaining outdoors quite like spring. Here, some of Atlanta’s most successful designers and builders offer their take on the ultimate outdoor spaces. From outdoor kitchens and patios, a classic, timeless pool house, to over-the-top, modern stunners, these designers ramped up the creativity to make the most of their clients’ entertainment spaces. If you’re considering a complete remodel or just want to refresh your outdoor area a bit, read on for cool ideas. There’s even a private dog park that will capture not only your attention, but Fido’s as well.

Deck with patio furnitureA Serene Setting

This spacious covered deck takes advantage of a view of the forest, providing a tranquil backdrop. Using dark wood for the roof and flooring, contrasting with the white posts, railings and furniture cushions, gives the space a cozy feeling. Atlanta Porch & Patio owner Sol Elisha used a clever trick to divide the space. He angled the floor planks in opposing directions separating the space into areas for dining, lounging, and more. Black balustrades in the railing seem to disappear, revealing the greenery beyond. AtlantaPorchAndPatio.com

Basketball court

Game On!

This Milton family wanted an environment where their children could be active, but the location was heavily sloped and in need of a level playing field. Mark Ziller, vice president of CBA Sports, came to the rescue by leveling the area and keeping the surrounding trees. The 28-foot-wide by 62-foot-long Sport Court® SportGame™ flooring allows kids to play basketball, volleyball, badminton or pickleball with minimal impact on their joints thanks to an advanced athletic surface technology. CBA tackled the entire project, even providing a retaining wall, and a rebounder, which returns balls to the player(s). CBASports.com

Intimate backyard oasis with raised cedar hot tub
Small, Yet Spectacular

This 250-square-foot, ultramodern backyard in Dunwoody is the work of designer Chip Wade, owner and lead designer of Wade Works Creative, and host of HGTV’s “Elbow Room.” He used a low-maintenance wood alternative, Fiberon composite decking, for the path from the house to the entertainment space outside. A raised cedar hot tub is encased in a crisp white stucco platform that matches the fire feature and lounge seating nearby. “I wanted to connect an amazing small backyard to the home’s small interior, but combine them to make the space new and special,” he says. WadeWorksCreative.com

Double deck

A Darling Deck

Frank Pologruto, owner of Decks and More, collaborated with this Buckhead homeowner to create an upper deck for the home and connect it to an existing brick patio below via an elegant staircase. Frank chose wood from TimberTown Atlanta lumber yard for the project and says he made the most of the space by creating an area large enough for a barbecue grill and fireplace in a spacious discreetly screened-in porch. “We also used wide-format stairs for easier access to the backyard,” he explains. DecksAndMore.biz  |  TimberTown.com/Atlanta

Asian inspired backyard design
Zen Zone

An Asian design aesthetic inspired the remodel of this Johns Creek home’s entire outdoor space. Michael Grant, residential designer and owner of Modern Rustic Homes, says that three sides of the house wrapped around the courtyard, so he utilized a sunken seating area with a dramatic fountain to provide an entertainment space that didn’t impede the view from one side of the house to the other. His design includes a terrace-level patio and pavilion and he collaborated with Universal Aquatics to install the charming koi pond behind it. ModernRusticHomes.com  |   UniversalAquatics.com

Pool house with kitchen and seating area
Party-Perfect Pool House

Shannon Taylor, owner and senior designer of Barrel & Board Design, helped create this pool house with room enough to entertain large groups, but still offering a cozy feel. The travertine tile blends seamlessly with the pool deck and ties together other beige and gray architectural features, like the warm gray brick walls, granite countertop and natural timber ceilings. She explains, “The pool house provides an easily accessible bathroom, separate changing room, and an easy place to refresh your beverage and lounge in the shade.” BarrelAndBoard.com

Backyard turned into a private dog park

It’s A Dog’s Life

Richie Arpino, owner of Richie Arpino Salon, had Bennett Design & Landscape create a “pup paradise” for his favorite furry family members. The private park, which is aptly named Anderpino after its homeowners, Richie Arpino and partner Mitchell Anderson, contains plenty of plants for animals to sniff and run around. Humans enjoy it as well as there is a trail for walking and even a hammock for lounging. Richie’s dogs Lacey (above) and Schotzi love hanging out in this space and neighborhood dogs like Wellbourne (see left) even pop in for a playdate every now and again! BennettDesign.com

Picnic table with flower, candles and food

A Fresh Look for Entertaining At Home

Lifestyle expert and blogger Mandy Landefeld shares her favorite outdoor entertaining combo. “For simple elegance, top a linen tabletop runner with pots of herbs (cook with them later!) and lots of candles. Use colored chargers, heavy white stoneware plates, green linen napkins and rustic silverware for a garden-fresh look that won’t fly away.” —Mandy Landefeld, Sumptuous Living, SumptuousLiving.net

Drink Up Escapade Lemonade
For an easy spring cocktail (or mocktail), try this fun spin on lemonade. Ingredients
• Juice of ½ a lemon, lime, grapefruit and orange
• 1 ounce of agave
• 2 ounces of vodka, gin or rum (if desired)
• Club soda
• Rosemary sprig and leaves

Directions: Combine juices, a few rosemary leaves and agave in a mixing glass; add ice and alcohol (if using); shake until cold. Double strain into a tall glass with fresh ice. Add club soda and garnish with rosemary sprig.
—Tiffanie Barriere, The Drinking Coach, Instagram.com/TheDrinkingCoach

Juicy Burgers at Home
Pick the best meat: One-hundred percent chuck is the best. It blends out naturally to about 80 percent lean to 20 percent fat (fat equals flavor), which is the ideal ratio for a burger.
Spice it up: I love adding homemade Creole seasoning! I take the seasoning and rub it on the top and the bottom of the patties before putting them on the grill for a Cajun kick.
Keep it simple: Use just one fun ingredient. You can grind bacon into the burger meat or chop and fold Hatch chiles into your burger mix for a Southwestern-style burger.
—Chef Linton Hopkins, Holeman and Finch Public House in Atlanta, Holeman-Finch.com