An outdoor room uses the basic design principle of harmony. It is where your interior space and the exterior can harmonize most beautifully. One is the extension of the other, seamless, flowing, blending.
An outdoor room is a wonderful way to make Houston’s fickle and unpredictable weather work for you. You can use it to bask in our mild winters. And you can construct it so that you can still enjoy the outdoors even in the worst of summer (an overhead fan here, a screened-in porch there…)
Ideas and Inspiration
Outdoor rooms have become the latest necessity for an up-to-date home. Here are some ideas for you to use:
- Outdoor kitchens have become immensely popular, whether you only do family gatherings or entertain extravagantly. They allow you to slow down and enjoy family and friends by putting all the ingredients for outdoor cooking and dining close at hand. A natural gathering spot.
- An uncovered patio can be transformed into a year-round sun room by adding a roof, an outdoor fireplace, and walls that slide and enclose the room during inclement weather.
- Don’t forget under-utilized spaces, as can be found on the side of your home. Already well-defined by the property line and your home’s boundaries, these spaces can readily be turned into an outdoor living room.
- Do you live in-town and have a limited backyard? Use a small garden design and turn the whole space into an outdoor living room. Use planters to add touches of green. Outdoor water fountains can add visual and auditory pleasure.
- These rooms don’t have to be attached only to the house. You can use other structures as backdrops, too, such as a detached garage or pool cabana.
- Sometimes you can define a space simply by covering it. Pergolas and arbors help create lovely venues. They are especially attractive when covered with vines.
- Don’t overlook your front yard. Your front entryway could make a lovely outdoor room—using such landscaping features as a tall fence for privacy and a water element to camouflage street noise.
Harmonizing with Other Hardscapes
Balance is another basic design principle. Use it when balancing your exterior living room against the other hardscapes, the non-plant components, of your landscape. For instance, luxury swimming pools, which have become an expected feature of high-end homes, are often the next logical step beyond an outdoor room.
Pathways leading to and from the space need to blend with your other material choices. You can use retaining walls to good effect by having them draw lines in the open space and therefore create the “walls” of the room—or have them double as built-in seating. You can coordinate your outdoor living space with the drainage systems by using attractive French drains, another subtle way of defining space, or installing decorative drains in the flooring.
Picking a Pro
Most people will benefit from the services of landscape designers and landscape architects with a project like an outdoor room. These landscape professionals will put the principles of good design to work and help you integrate the room with your home’s architecture, make the best use of available space, and address permitting issues. Jeff Halper, landscape design specialist with Exterior Worlds, says, “Keep in mind that the more complex the project—the more sophisticated the design—the more important your designer and contractor become.”
Call Exterior Worlds at 713-827-2255 to discuss your dreams for your landscape. Exterior Worlds, founded in 1987, specializes in high-end landscape design and services for River Oaks, Tanglewood, West University, Bellaire, and the Memorial Villages of Bunker Hill Village, Piney Point Village, Hunter Creek Village, and Hedwig Village.