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More Life Outside

Outdoor Spaces Are the Vital Areas Where Communities Grow, Families Bond, Friendships Flourish, and Lasting Memories Are Made

Article by Caroline Heiberg

Photography by Jessi Edison

Originally published in Boerne Lifestyle

In an era dominated by digital interactions and fast-paced lifestyles, it’s impossible to overstate the significance of outdoor spaces. These zones are ideal for fostering community, strengthening family bonds and friendships, and creating cherished memories. These spaces offer a unique blend of tranquility and interaction, creating an environment where hospitality flourishes and relationships deepen. Utilizing outdoor areas, whether a backyard, garden, pool, or greenhouse, can transform the dynamics of social interactions, enhancing the quality of life and strengthening our social fabric. 

For co-owners Justin and Marian Ellis and Austin and Sarah Thompson of Outer Space Pools, these spaces are designed to create lasting memories. That’s a huge reason why they do what they do and why they and their friends want to encourage others to make the most of their outdoor areas. We spoke with three local families to get their ideas on how to better utilize our space to build community and connection this summer.

Justin & Marian Ellis
We are situated on four acres. It’s not perfect, but we have always wanted it to be a place where friends and family can gather. We decided to live open-handed and with open doors; it’s interesting that when you don’t stress about ten or more families with kids running around, our friends quickly feel comfortable in our space. There is a beautiful chaos to it.

From up on a hill, we can see Comfort, Boerne, San Antonio, and Leon Springs, so it's a great place to watch fireworks on the Fourth of July or New Year's Eve. We have done everything from ziplines to sack races, trampolines to barbecues. Our pool is old, and it’s not perfect, but we maintain it. You don’t have to have the top-of-the-line for kids to have fun; they keep coming back. Life can get hectic, but brisket cookouts listening to George Strait or teaching little ones how to use sparklers… are the memories that stick with you. 

Brian & Kristen Hutchens
Landscaping and gardening have always been a part of who we are. Over time, we narrowed our vision to creating rooms within our yard for interest and enjoyment. We feel if the space is inviting and beautiful, people will want to linger to share a glass of wine or play a game of bocce ball. 

In the upper yard, we have a pool, a hot tub, and a patio with a fireplace. When our adult children and our families come for a visit, a pool party can easily turn into a dinner party on the lawn with a roaring fire in the background. On the lower lawn, our newest addition is a greenhouse surrounded by garden beds. We plan to grow flowers and vegetables and host more birthdays, luncheons, and a wedding in the future. Our yard is an extension of our home, and we love how it extends our way of living and entertaining.

Matt & Becky Surber
Our backyard and pool have become the heart of our home, providing us with endless opportunities to entertain and connect with others. Throughout the year, we host a variety of events that bring together our community. From neighborhood parties that welcome up to 150 people to church events to intimate gatherings with friends, our outdoor space accommodates them all.

The pool acts as a central attraction, offering a refreshing escape from the summer heat and a focal point for socializing. However, the versatility of our backyard space allows us to cater to different occasions. We have a spacious patio with comfortable seating areas for conversations and dining, a barbecue station for outdoor cooking, and a fire pit for cozy evenings under the stars. Our outdoor space has truly become an extension of our home, where laughter, conversations, and connections flourish.

Tips to Maximize Outdoor Spaces
Design With Purpose. Create distinct areas for different activities, such as dining, lounging, and playing. 
Incorporate Nature. Use plants, flowers, and natural elements to enhance the aesthetic appeal and create a tranquil environment.
Comfort Is Key. Invest in comfortable seating and adequate shade to ensure guests feel relaxed and enjoy their time outdoors.
Lighting Matters. Use outdoor lighting to extend the usability of the space into the evening. String lights, lanterns, and solar lights can add ambiance. 
Add Entertainment. Incorporate outdoor games, a music system, or a projector for movie nights. | 830-875-0555

“Live open-handed and with open doors… There is a beautiful chaos to it.”

“Outdoor space [is] where laughter, conversations, and connections flourish.”

Businesses featured in this article