Luxury backyards are intended to create living experience that unify the highest aesthetic of landscape design with the pinnacle of indoor creature comforts that define the lifestyles of the Elite. Entertainment is the driving force behind a luxury landscape, with design being developed around key points of interest and patterns of movement between those points.
Among the most popular elements in luxury backyards are outdoor kitchens. Kitchens have become icons of luxury in today’s large custom home. No longer a place of simple places of food preparation, they now function as hubs of home entertainment where everything from snacks, drinks, and even full course meals are served and enjoyed.
Outdoor kitchens fulfill much the same function in luxury backyards. They are not only intended to accommodate all the requirements of food preparation, but most are also designed with enough space to entertain the anticipated number of guests attending certain functions. A true landscape designer will actually scale the size and floor plan of the kitchen to match the expected number of guests anticipated to arrive at any given event or family gathering. Landscapers will also design the architecture, seating areas, and amenities of the structure to reflect with the lifestyle of the homeowner and to compliment the architecture of the home and the surrounding landscape.
Many times, however, people only want a place to sit, talk, and enjoy music or movies. For these individuals, landscape architects can build fully furnished outdoor rooms replete with all the amenities of indoor rooms. Seldom do we build any such room without a variety of chairs and at least one maximum comfort sofa. It is also standard for most of these rooms to be equipped with a full suite of entertainment media that may including stereos, televisions, DVD players, or even musical instruments. It is not uncommon either to install lighting controls in these structures so that homeowners can regulate interior and exterior lighting levels. Many clients who host large parties may also ask us to build an outdoor room with a wet bar and tables such as those found pubs and sports bars. Such a unique structure in a luxury backyard can create a powerful force of attraction for summer parties, special occasions, and neighborhood get-togethers.
Many Houstonians who reside on the larger estates found in River Oaks and Tanglewood often have their landscaping company design special putting greens in their yards. Because these wealthy Houstonians enjoy golf as their most passionate pursuit, they want to bring the game home from the country club into the privacy of their own luxury backyard. When guests come in from out of town, or when friends come over on the weekends, it is so much more convenient to treat them to an onsite fairway than to try to make arrangements to go to the country club. To make it even more amenable, we will always subcontract a lighting company to install special golf lights that mimic those of larger courses. This allows any guest to enjoy golf at any time of night regardless of natural lighting conditions.
Houston temperatures can be scorching throughout much of the year. In the wintertime, though, massive cold fronts push down from Canada, bringing high winds, unexpected chills, and frequent, heavy rains. The air at this time will become very cold and clammy, turning the outdoors into a very dismal place to be. However, by building an outdoor fireplace behind the home, a cold and dreary landscape can be transformed into a luxury backyard full of warmth and ambience. Special lights can also be placed in fireplace to mimic firelight during the warmer months of the year, so that even on late August nights, people can still relax by the “fire” while the cool summer breeze blows across the patio.
Of course, in order for a landscape to embody a true sense of luxury, a backyard must feature aesthetics and decor that speaks to symmetry, formality, and elegance. Rose gardens are frequently planted in to give the property a sense of Old World regality. Classical sculptures and custom fountains are also favorite mainstays in these environments. On some properties, ornamental walls and wall fountains can be built around custom patios to create semi-enclosed spaces for conversation and seating. Lighting is always supportive of both form and function in these areas, providing general lighting in activity areas and low-level decorative effect around special ornaments, gardens, pathways, and points of interests.