Outdoor Rooms

Welcome to Part 1 of a new series about designing outdoor spaces.  I, along with my compadre, Landscape Architect, Mike Flaugh, will be 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!

The best way to increase your living space without building an addition is by creating outdoor rooms.  I use the term “room” loosely, of course.  There are many fantastic, romantic words available to describe the many ways people have cultivated the Great Outdoors for their fun and leisure.  What do you picture in your mind’s eye when you hear the words grotto, lanai, veranda, and grove?  Rough-hewn stone, cobbled paths, lush and fragrant plants, shady trees, trickling water, mist in the air, pregnant silence.


The most beautiful and useful outdoor spaces seem to follow some universal rules:

  • Easy access and coordinated transitions from inside to outside
  • Outdoor dining areas that are conveniently located near the kitchen
  • Access to a cabana bath from outside
  • Wide-opening doorways and connecting breezeways
  • Attention to all the senses
  • Focal points and privacy nooks, as well as open vistas
  • Fragrant plants, and/or edible plants
  • Wind chimes, music, bubbling water
  • Comfortable seating, touchable materials, pleasant textures underfoot
  • Creating moods with the natural elements: fire, water, air, earth, light and space

  • Protection from the elements
  • Covered areas, shady retreats, protected enclosures

  • Easy maintenance
  • High-quality, durable furniture that will maintain its beauty over time with little or manageable intervention
  • Outdoor fabrics, cushions inserts, and rugs
  • Easy to clean surfaces
  • Native and adapted plants and trees that are appropriate for your climate and require less water to maintain

The most successful personal habitats owe their brilliance to good planning.  That’s where professionals like interior designers and landscape architects come into play.  Your home’s exterior is an extension of your interior, and determining your needs, how you live, and how you intend to use your outdoor space is critically important.  Good designers know the right questions to ask and how to make manifest your dreams without wasting your resources.

In this continuing series, Mike and I will break down these concepts, and share ideas and strategies to make your gardens, yards, patios, and porches beautiful and integrated areas of your home.  If you have anything specific you would like to learn more about, leave a comment, or contact us!

Tammy Dalton- Interior Designer and Mike Flaugh- Landscape Architect.  Thanks for joining us!

8 comments on “Outdoor Rooms

  1. so stoked you guys are doing this. and if you happened to catch my blog … this summer for me is all about “outdoor planning” … and in some cases coming up with solutions for real trouble areas. hoping to do a patio yes, some plantings and re work of a pond << easy enough. but I have one area in particular that gets shade (like it could be the center of the earth). Because it is under tree and all but a grove (heavy roots with mucho falling leaves)… I am not finding really any straight up mainstream type ideas… every thing is off the wall and a little unusual. I would love to hear more about turning trouble areas like this into wonderful alcoves. (mature) Trees are great with a capital G but sometimes they can present real challenges for land/hardscaping. anyways. cheers. ~jb

    • Hi Jb! I did see your post, and I love a good tree challenge! Send me some pictures, and I will consult the Oracle. Perhaps your yard could be a case study. ;-)

  2. Pingback: Take it outside! | MIKE FLAUGH landscape architect

    • Hi Nancy, Thanks for chiming in! Hmmm, a secret garden behind the garage? That would be fun. :-)

  3. You got my mouth watering, hungry for some new ideas to make my beloved patio area prettier. But first, it’s the yard beyond that really needs work. Looking forward to your next post.

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