California Backyard Living: Outdoor Home and Garden Tour

Experience the enchanting allure of California backyard living, where sun-soaked days and balmy evenings create the perfect place for outdoor relaxation, entertainment, and a place to spend quality time with family and friends. 

California backyard living- A beautiful backyard with tables and chairs, areas to relax and more.

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California Backyard Living

This post will inspire and guide you through many of our beautiful and curated outdoor spaces, showcasing the unique elements of Southern California backyard living. By highlighting the design, functionality, and charm of various outdoor areas, this post aims to provide you with ideas and practical tips for creating your own stunning and enjoyable outdoor living areas and gardens. 

Join me on a delightful tour of my outdoor spaces, featuring lush gardens, inviting outdoor dining areas, charming porches, and more. Each corner is thoughtfully designed to showcase the beauty and versatility of California backyard living, where we create the ultimate embodiment of indoor living outdoors. 

Today, I am joining several blogger friends hosted by my dear friend Chloe @celebrateanddecorate. We will take you on a tour of our homes and gardens to inspire you for the summer. Be sure to see the other links at the end of this post.

The California Outdoor Lifestyle

The essence of California outdoor living is characterized by a seamless blend of indoor and outdoor spaces, where the beautiful California weather allows for year-round enjoyment of nature. It embraces a relaxed and casual lifestyle, focusing on comfort, functionality, and a great outdoor living experience. The backyard space is designed to be an extension of the home, featuring inviting patios, lush gardens, and a comfortable space to entertain guests. Using natural materials, vibrant greenery, and thoughtful decor creates a harmonious environment that encourages relaxation, social gatherings, and a deep connection with the great outdoors.

Southern California features a Mediterranean climate characterized by warm, dry summers and mild, wet winters. The region enjoys abundant sunshine throughout the year, with temperatures typically ranging from the mid-70s to the low 90s in the summer and from the mid-40s to the mid-60s in the winter. Rainfall is sparse, primarily occurring during the winter months, creating an ideal environment for various outdoor activities and lush landscapes. The consistent mild weather makes Southern California a haven for outdoor living and recreation.

We are fortunate to have a rather large backyard. This is not always typical of Southern California homes. However, our home happens to sit on a double-wide lot with a swimming pool and lots of lovely outdoor living spaces. A California backyard can consist of outdoor kitchens, dining areas, fire pits, and areas to relax.

Pool in the backyard of a California home.
Back patio- California Backyard Living at its best.

The Garden

Gardens make up a large portion of our landscape here in our So. California. Our home has cottage-style gardens (my personal style) that are very casual and inviting. 

Our yard has several different gardens, including a raised bed-cut flower garden, a shade garden, a front entry garden, a driveway island garden, a pool garden, a backyard garden, and a shed garden. 

front house garden

Each garden has its own style, but most are cottage-style gardens full of plants that invite butterflies and pollinators to the yard. Our zone is 10b, so I try to plant varieties of plants that work well for our climate. 

Since our garden is very informal, I have not used a particular layout. I prefer a more carefree, natural look. Here are a few of the plants that I use in my gardens. 

The Shade Garden

My shade garden features a beautiful mix of foxgloves, oak leaf hydrangeas, hollyhocks, azaleas, ferns, hellebores, small maple trees, and abundant daylilies.

Shade garden- part of the backyard living in California.

The Cut Flower Garden

I consider this garden a big part of California Backyard Living. Being an avid gardener, I truly live in the garden.

My raised flower beds are brimming with beautiful cut flowers that are perfect for bringing indoors. They include sweet peas, lupines, ranunculus, zinnias, dahlias, cosmos, black-eyed Susans, rudbeckia, astilbe, delphiniums, lamb’s ear, columbine, roses, sunflowers, and more.

The secret garden
Tip from wendy’s garden:

Maintaining a garden in a California climate can be rewarding and challenging due to the region’s diverse microclimates and periods of drought. Here are some tips to help you keep your garden thriving:

Use drip irrigation systems to deliver water directly to the roots, minimizing waste.

Apply a layer of mulch around plants to retain soil moisture, regulate temperature, and suppress weeds. Organic mulches, such as wood chips or straw, are ideal.

Group plants with similar water needs together to make watering more efficient.


Outdoor Living Ideas for California Backyard Living

Our outdoor living spaces feature several distinct areas, each tailored for different activities. We have spots to relax, entertain guests, and sit back to enjoy the gardens and pool. Each area is furnished with patio furniture and garden decor, creating a cohesive and inviting outdoor living environment. We’ve covered everything from the outdoor entertainment area to the outdoor living room.


We have several porches that serve as perfect outdoor lounging areas for our family and friends. The front porch is ideal whether you’re seeking a great escape or just a place to enjoy a glass of iced tea. The best part is that the whole family loves spending time on the porch on a beautiful summer afternoon. Create an outdoor lounging area on the porch to nap on a cool summer’s eve. 

wrap around porch
Front porch makeover on a budget with blue and white decor
Back porch with a couch and two vintage windows hanging. The perfect California backyard living.


If you have a pool, create a luxury outdoor living space with a Baja step. This was one of the best things we did when remodeling our pool. 

We then purchased 4 Adirondack chairs to sit in the water and enjoy each other’s company under the umbrella. This is a perfect place to sit and relax for a mental health day!


California backyard living with a swimming pool that has a baja step with four chairs.California Backyard Living.

Outdoor Kitchen and Dining Area

We love to have an evening meal outdoors in the garden. My husband is quite the chef and loves outdoor cooking. Unfortunately, we do not have a fully equipped outdoor kitchen, but our house kitchen is right off our indoor-outdoor living space., making it accessible and easy to get to. We do not have a suitable outdoor kitchen space, so I had to let this one go. 

This is our side planting garden near the Shed, and it’s the perfect place to entertain. I have a large farm table with these great outdoor lights that we made out of garden baskets. This outdoor setting is rustic and full of charm. It’s a beautiful addition to our home and perfect for outdoor barbecues. 

California Backyard living outdoor dining
Potting garden table set for fall with gourds and fresh flowers
Tablescape in pink and orange with little cuties and pink glasses.

We also have a large table out back off of the outdoor living room; this is a perfect spot for a smaller, more intimate dinner.

California backyard living- A beautiful backyard with tables and chairs, areas to relax and more.

Outdoor Pizza Ovens 

Outdoor pizza ovens are a great addition to an outdoor kitchen or dining area for several reasons.

1. *Enhanced Cooking Experience*: Outdoor pizza ovens allow you to cook authentic, wood-fired pizzas with a crispy crust and delicious flavor that is hard to achieve with a conventional oven. The high heat and even cooking temperature provide exceptional results

2. *Versatility*: These ovens are not just for pizza. You can bake bread, roast meats, grill vegetables, and even cook desserts. This versatility makes them a valuable asset for any outdoor cooking enthusiast.

pizza oven

California Room 

This cohesive outdoor living space is one of my favorites. This extension of our home is the perfect outdoor entertainment oasis. Furnished with a couch and two comfy chairs, it creates the ideal social setting under the covered roof. I have hung these vintage windows on the sides of the room to make it feel like an indoor space.  The Ceiling fans keep the air circulating and the outdoor spaces cool. 

A California outdoor living room in a backyard.

Fire Pit

Adding a small firepit is an easy way to create another enjoyable spot for family fun. We created this small pit in our son’s yard with a few cylinder blocks from Home Depot, and the family has loved spending time outdoors on cooler evenings with a nice fire. 

Couple sitting in their new backyard with market lights and fire pit.

Decorative Elements of California Backyard Living

The decor of your exterior spaces should be an extension of your home with lots of aesthetic appeal. I carried the same colors I use indoors to my outdoor living spaces. 

Choose furniture that matches the style of your home and will hold up in the harsh weather.

Add lanterns, candles, planters, and garden decor for an added touch. 

I love vintage treasures, so you will find these throughout my garden and outdoor spaces. I hung vintage windows outdoors to make the patio feel like a room.


We have several forms of lighting in our outdoor areas, including low-voltage landscape lights, market string lights, hanging light fixtures, ceiling fans, and more. 

California Backyard Living-Exterior of my she shed in the dark with lights on .
California Backyard Living- 21 Cozy Ways to Decorate Your Outdoor Spaces For Fall- fall outdoor dining table

Water Features for California Backyard Living

Water features add a beautiful and soothing sound to your backyard living spaces. We have incorporated three different water fountains:

A fountain that flows into the pool helps circulate the water and adds an elegant feature to the pool area.

Pool water fountain
  • We transformed an old tractor till into a fountain, adding a vintage touch to the yard. I love sitting nearby, listening to the relaxing sound of the water.
  • A ceramic pot fountain in the California room brings the feel of the garden into the covered patio area, enhancing the outdoor ambiance.
  • A vintage watering can has been turned into a fountain at our front gate entrance.

 Functional Aspects of My Outdoor Spaces 

Every outdoor area needs storage space, and we’ve found solutions in several different spots.

  1. The She-shed: I store many crafting and gardening supplies in this shed. I keep it looking charming because it’s also a retreat where I can enjoy the quality of life I love.
She Shed

2. The small garden shed:  This small shed sits in the planting garden and houses most of my garden supplies, such as large buckets, fertilizers, and pesticides.

3. The garden bench: This is a new addition and probably my favorite. I kindly refer to this bench as the bus stop. This bench comprises five old doors and one old window with a roof over the top. The doors are built around a large box I use for storage in the cut flower garden. I have cushions on top of the box, creating the cutest bench where I sit and have tea.  

 Activities and Entertaining

The family is enjoying lunch in a lovely outdoor setting!

Are you looking to host an outdoor party? Here are my best tips for a perfect evening outdoors. 

Seating: Ensure ample seating with chairs, benches, and cushions.

Shade/Shelter: Provide umbrellas, canopies, or tents, and have a rain plan.

Ambiance- Lighting: Use string lights, lanterns, and candles for a warm atmosphere.

Decorations: Incorporate seasonal or themed decor, such as a luau or bbq. 

Food and Drink—Menu: Choose dishes that work with your theme and are easy to serve, such as grilled items, salads, and finger foods.

Set up a self-serve station with various drinks, keeping them cool in ice buckets. Make a punch and serve it in a large glass dispenser.

Entertainment- Music: Create a playlist and use portable speakers.

Games: Provide outdoor games like cornhole, croquet or lawn darts. Add pool games if you have a pool.

Bug Control: Use citronella candles, bug spray, and fans

Other Projects from WM Design House

If you love this Garden tour, you might also enjoy some of my other favorite [projects]:

Planted chairs in the garden

How to Make A DIY Vintage Chair Planter for the Garden

Get creative in the garden this year and plant an old chair

Showing a finished shovel that is planted with succulents and leaning against a chippy wall.

How to Repurpose Old Tools into Succulent Planters

Learn how to turn old garden tools into the most beautiful planters

Check it out
Cafe Au Lait Dahlia

Are Dahlias Perennials

You can learn all about Dahlias and whether you need to dig them up in the winter.

Check it out

In this post about California backyard living, I’ve shared a tour of the various areas in my garden and outdoor living spaces. From relaxing spots and entertainment zones to practical tips for hosting outdoor parties, you’ll find inspiration to enhance your own backyard. Whether you’re looking to create a serene escape, a vibrant gathering place, or a functional garden, my tips and ideas will help you make the most of your outdoor spaces. Don’t forget to go visit the other gals home tours, see the links below. Happy touring.


Summer Home and Garden Tour – Celebrate and Decorate

1891 Cottage Summer Home Ideas – Tatertots and Jello

Summer Garden Tour – Southern Alabama – Zone 8B – Happily Ever After Etc.

California Backyard Living Outdoor Home and Garden Tour – WM Design House

10 Inspiring Summer Home Tour Decor Ideas – Craft Klatch

Welcome Home Summer Traditions Kids Love to Come Home to – White Arrows Home

Ultimate Summer Decor Ideas Home Tour and DIY Inspirations – Chas’ Crazy Creations

Gathered and Found Summer Screen Porch Tour – Red Cottage Chronicles

Summer Home Tour – Design Morsels

California backyard living at its best.

More about me!


Hello, I’m Wendy – a dedicated homemaker with a deep passion for decorating, gardening, cooking, and crafting. I find joy in harmonizing beautiful elements to fashion a space that is both comfortable and inspiring. I will help you create a beautiful home, one project at a time.

Connect with Wendy

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  1. Oh my goodness! The weather there sounds amazing! I love your backyard and gardens – they are gorgeous!

  2. Your backyard is so pretty! I love your decorating style with the signs and wheelbarrows… all the little hidden pieces of yesterday tucked in everywhere. Plus the foxgloves… I love the foxgloves. Pinned!

    1. Wendy McMonigal says:

      Thank you. I love spending time in the gardens. It’s like a little slice of heaven!

  3. Every picture is a treat! So happy to feature you at this week’s TFT party. Happy summer!

    1. Wendy McMonigal says:

      Thank you for the sweet comment and the share Amber. I appreciate it!

  4. Wowza Wendy! Your garden is so beautiful. I love the different ‘rooms’ you’ve created, the zoning of the spaces makes each one feel so special. It really is stunning.

    1. Wendy McMonigal says:

      Thank you, Julie. Our gardens have been a labor of love, but they are one of my favorite “rooms” in our home. I enjoy having all of our outdoor living spaces to enjoy year-round.

  5. Wendy, how lovely is your garden! It is obvious you put so much work into your beautiful yard and garden! I love seeing how you use the outdoor space for entertaining family and friends! Thank you so very much for joining our hop! Have a wonderful summer!

    1. Wendy McMonigal says:

      Thank you Chloe. The garden can be a lot to upkeep, but I love spending time outdoors and taking care of it. The beautiful flowers make it all worth it!

  6. Do you know your backyard is quite the inspiration Wendy? My inspiration has always been the backyard in the tv series Parenthood, but now it is yours! Thank you for sharing, now my husband will be all so excited to figure this out… I can hear him groaning now. 😉 The she shed was enough for me, but now, I am thinking well, let’s go all out!

    1. Wendy McMonigal says:

      That is so sweet of you to say. Thank you Cara. Our yard has been a labor of love for sure, but the garden and She Shed are some of my favorites and I love spending time out there.

  7. Every area is gorgeous! It is like your own retreat! I love it!

    1. Wendy McMonigal says:

      It is our own little oasis and I love it. We’re so lucky that we get to enjoy it all year long.

  8. Nancy Brantley says:

    Beautiful! This is Paradise!

    1. Wendy McMonigal says:

      Thank you Nancy. We think so too! I hope you are enjoying your summer and staying cool!

  9. Wow, you have a stunning home and backyard. I love your garden it is gorgeous! You have done a nice job of setting your space up to encourage spending time outside. I’m sure you get a lot longer season than most of us.

    1. Wendy McMonigal says:

      Thank you Chas. Yes, we are very blessed here in Southern California that we can enjoy entertaining all year long.

    1. Wendy McMonigal says:

      That is so kind of you Mary. Thank you for your sweet comment.

  10. Wendy, thank you so much for joining in our Summer Home and Garden tour! Your outdoor spaces are fabulous! I have to admit I am a bit envious of all of the space! We are on a pretty tight lot and I am just grateful for the little corner I have for some hostas and hydrangeas. It must be lovely to sit out and enjoy all of your beautiful blooms (those foxglove!!!) and listen to the waterfall into the pool! Of course I especially love seeing all of the ways you style your outdoor table for summertime entertaining! Enjoy your summer! HUGS!! Chloe

    1. Wendy McMonigal says:

      Thank you Chloe. I love our little slice of heaven and we are very lucky to have an extra large lot. Happy to join the tour!

  11. Your home is so beautiful. I love all of the outdoor dining spaces and the color of your home is beyond. The gardens! How do. you do it? I think my favorite is the table with oranges and light peach glasses. Love those.

    1. Wendy McMonigal says:

      Thank you Andrea. It is a lot of work to keep up the gardens, but I spending time outside. It brings me so much joy!

  12. Thanks for the beautiful tour, Wendy! You know I feel right at home with your vintage-loving vibe:) That card catalog with garden tools-I’m drooling! I had to laugh-I’m just planting my zinnia seeds; so much later seasonally than you:(

    1. Wendy McMonigal says:

      Thank you Lora. Yes, I sometimes forget how much ahead we are her in Southern California compared to my friends in other parts of the country!

  13. Cindy@CountyRoad407 says:

    Love it all Wendy. I could spend hours and hours out there. Especially sitting in the pool. What a great idea. Enjoy your summer!

    1. Wendy McMonigal says:

      Thanks Cindy. We love our little outdoor oasis and enjoy spending as much time there as we can!

  14. Wendy – Your home is so beautiful! I love the dining area for outdoor gatherings! We are in the beginning stages of trying to create a firepit/gathering area for entertaining in our side lot. I love the feel of yours!

    1. Wendy McMonigal says:

      Thank you Mona!

  15. What a STUNNING backyard oasis you have created, Wendy! It’s just gorgeous..I don’t know how you get anything done because I would just want to be out there all day, everyday!

    1. Wendy McMonigal says:

      lol…Thanks Rachel. That is so sweet of you. We do enjoy spending a lot of time outside entertaining. We’re very blessed.

  16. Wendy, your garden(S) are amazing. You have created an enchanting and beautiful oasis for foamily and friends.
    I love your farm table area and your Shed shed!

    1. Wendy McMonigal says:

      Thanks so much Elizabeth. Our outdoor entertain area is one of my favorites spaces.

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