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Modern Living: How to Build your Outdoor Space on a Budget

Modern Living: How to Build your Outdoor Space on a Budget
Outdoor living rooms don't have to cost a fortune. Explore these
Having a space to gather with friends and family while enjoying the outdoors has long been an essential addition to many homes. Having a space outside that is modern AND budget-friendly – now that’s just a full-blown dream. 

Believe it or not, dreams do come true. Whether it’s a porch, patio, deck, or courtyard you’re looking for, our Modern House Plans Collection features many examples of budget-friendly outdoor spaces. 

Let’s hone in on some plans and look at simple ways to create a dwelling that gets you back to nature (without being costly).

Porches, Porches, Porches!

Who doesn’t enjoy unwinding outside and breathing in the fresh air? A porch provides a lovely escape to the great outdoors and invites you to kick back and relax. Not only does a veranda lend you the opportunity to put your feet up, but it also adds attractive curb appeal to your home. 

Typically, porches are the main entrance to a home (they are also located in the back of some designs) and grant guests a welcoming feel.

One of the terrific characteristics of verandas is a covered roof. These overhangs administer shelter from bad weather while protecting your outdoor furniture (for the most part). Throw some chairs and plants in the mix and you’ve got yourself a delightful outdoor area – bring on the porch hangs!

Plan 924-9 (above) features a modern (and simple) porch and deck. While this design is just under 800 square feet, a veranda provides some extra living space. This will make the home feel much larger than it actually is.

With a porch at the main entrance and screened porch located at the rear, this modern farmhouse (plan Plan 933-8, above) design encourages outdoor living. What’s even better – the simple footprint helps make this plan cost-effective to build.


Patios are a fantastic way to increase the square footage of a home while also adding an outdoor addition (without being too costly). They provide an area for homeowners to congregate with company, have a BBQ, host meals under the stars (or sun) – the uses are endless. See more backyard living plans here.

Concrete, gravel (being the simplest form), brick, and stone are all examples of different patio options – this detail really depends on budget and preference. Unlike a porch or deck, the foundation of a patio can be detached and placed away from the home (an added bonus). 

Plan 933-5 (above) includes an attached covered patio at the back exterior of the plan. Notice the floor-to-ceiling glass doors that open completely to the back patio for seamless indoor/outdoor living between the great room, dining room, and outdoor area.


An exceptional deck is a pleasant way to expand your lifestyle and enjoy everything being outside has to offer – without leaving your property. Sounds like a fabulous idea, right? 

The difference between a deck and a patio is pretty straightforward. A deck is raised and generally made of vinyl or wood, whereas a patio is constructed directly on the ground. Although decks can be cost effective, they typically cost more than a patio. 

Plan 23-2631 (above) features both a deck and a patio. At just 1,200 square feet, this modern design takes full advantage of outdoor spaces. A smooth flow is created between the dining room and deck with a sizable glass door.

This contemporary design (plan 549-22, above) includes a generous covered patio that lets you sit in the shade, or lean forward to enjoy the sun when it hits.


If privacy is your thing, then a courtyard might be an essential addition to your home. Being enclosed by walls, a courtyard enables you to have a functional outdoor living space while still maintaining solitude. 

Enclosed by three walls, the courtyard in plan 895-11 allows homeowners to relax outside on the side of the home. Accordion glass doors create a smooth transition from the dining area to the courtyard, allotting for easy entertainment. The master suite also steps out to the courtyard via sliding doors.


A breezeway does more than administer a passageway between two spaces in a home. It can be a nifty location to lounge in on a sweltering summer day. Popular in the South traditionally, these additions created air flow through the living areas while also implementing a comfortable space to cool off on when the weather is sultry. 

A breezeway is conveniently placed between the two-car garage and entrance hallway on the side of the home in plan 549-22 (above). Adding a small cafe table and chairs would be a simple way to turn this area into an outdoor place to retreat to in the summer.

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