Define with Design

Welcome to Part 3 of our series about designing outdoor spaces.  I, along with my compadre, Landscape Architect, Mike Flaugh, are exploring all things related to exterior design, outdoor living spaces, and landscaping in a series of conversations on each of our blogs.  We’ll be covering a lot of ground here (no pun intended!)- don’t miss an update.  Sign up to receive our email brainstorms of love…..and thank you!

Last week, in Part 2 of our series, Mike expertly took us through some of the preliminary steps necessary to get your outdoor space design started.  With your site analysis complete you should have a pretty clear idea about what you want to do with your exterior space and where you can do it.  Let’s refine and define a bit more and get inspired.

Define your Outdoor “Room” by giving it a purpose.

Will you be dining?  Cooking?  Lounging with a book?  Showering?  Swimming?  Meditating or exercising?  Potting, crafting, or (my husband’s favorite- egad!) cleaning fish?

Keep in mind that most of these activities will require access to water and possibly electricity.  Dining areas should be kept relatively close to the main house with an easy path to the kitchen, otherwise they will most likely never get used.  Summer kitchens are great.  Pay careful attention to where you place your grill.  Give it plenty of ventilation and keep it far enough away from your house entrances to keep smoke and smells from billowing into the house.

Define a “room” by giving it “walls.”

“Walls” can be natural features, like hedge lines and trees, and also man-made features such as stacked stone walls, fences, rows of potted plants, living plant walls, glass walls, and my personal favorite- outdoor drapes.

via Pottery Barn

via Design Serendipity

via Pottery Barn

a "wall" of Mother-in-law's tongue

Define a “room” by giving it a “floor.”

Grass, mulch, pavers, bricks, tile, shell stone, and outdoor rugs are used to create activity zones and anchor furniture groupings.

via Small Garden Love

Define a “room” by giving it a “roof.”

A “roof” can be a natural feature, such as a large shade tree.  Perhaps your architecture has been blessed with a covered patio area- that’s great!  In addition to that, an inviting outdoor room can be created with umbrellas, canopies, thatched tiki huts, wooden trellises entwined with flowering vines, or shade sails.

via Colorado Shade Sails

via West Elm

via Tiki Murph

via Balfoort Architecture

Vine and trellis "roof"

modern shade sail promenade

What are some clever ways you’ve defined your outdoor havens?  Leave a comment, and be sure to sign up for more inspiration delivered right to your inbox.

Stay tuned for Part 4 when Mike takes up our favorite summertime topic again.

One Comment

  1. Posted June 21, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    Beautiful ideas. I am going to my outdoor space right now. I love living in Florida. We can enjoy these spaces all year long. Of course, with use, they need to be refreshed more often. Lucky me. I also love to decorate.

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