Designing Great Exterior Living Spaces
With the advent of spring many of our clients look to us for help in carrying the interiors of their home through to the outdoors. We use the same principles of design as of those we follow in designing interiors, the subtle blending of proportion, scale, texture, color and light is the success of any room.
Exterior living spaces should be cohesive with the interior, designed to flow seamlessly from inside to out. Not only in the use of color and style but also in structure. If the grade or elevation of the space changes it needs to be connected with grace and ease. We have found that wide low-profile steps and large landings help to successfully facilitate movement from one space to another.
Focal Point for the Eye
Site lines are important in your exterior living space. They are used to draw a person into the space, whether physically or mentally. Have a focal point for the eye to rest upon, especially if your desire is to have people move physically into the space. A statue or planter, a beautiful trellis or tree, a bench, an interesting facade of a structure can all become a nice focal point. These hard spaces can then become more approachable with the use of soft plant material, beautiful shrubs, feathery trees and flowering plants. Remember in good interior design not every item can be outstanding, most should just play a supporting role.
Fire and Water
When designing these exterior living spaces, we usually think of relaxation. In every garden or outdoor space, we like to design a water feature to relax and calm the soul. Whether it be a bird bath, a fountain or a pool, all can be used to accomplish the goal. And of course, what goes best with water is fire so if a fireplace or fire pit works in your space it can be a nice feature.
Bringing Color Out
The idea of color is so interesting in exterior living spaces. The main focus is to be a part of nature and therefore the plant material should have the color. Even when working to create a great screened-in-porch we like to keep the upholstery neutral to allow the focus to stay on the landscape. In nature one of the most common neutral colors is green, so many times we will use green on the upholstery so it becomes quite in its surroundings. Although it can be fun to repeat a vivid color found in your landscaping on an accent pillow or cushion.
How to Tackle Hard-Scapes
Today with smaller lots much of the green space gets taken up with the hard-scape of patios, pools, outdoor kitchens and pavilions. Incorporating small areas of soft material, like grasses, within the hard-scape really help to soften the space. Large individual planters filled with small trees and shrubs also give softness to harsh solid patio surfaces.
A well-designed exterior or interior living space does not simply become great by being artfully or functionally designed. What makes a well-designed space a Great space is one that has a studiously crafted personality. One that will excite and bring emotion to all that walk into it.