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Endless Summer: Designing Outdoor Living and Entertaining Spaces

Memorial Day always feels like the official kick-off to summer! And nothing says summer like fun in the sun, lounging poolside, grilling and gathering with your favorite people. This is why outdoor living spaces are such an important component of architectural design. Your home's outdoor spaces are an extension of your indoor spaces, and therefore also require curated design. When thinking through outdoor living and entertaining areas, it's important to consider many factors including aesthetics and functionality according to your lifestyle. Here are some key elements to keep in mind when designing well thought out al fresco spaces.


Site Analysis: The site's topography, orientation, and existing vegetation will influence the layout and positioning of various features. Consider factors such as sunlight patterns, wind direction, and privacy requirements.

Zones and Flow: Create distinct zones within the outdoor space to accommodate different activities. Common zones include dining areas, lounging areas, cooking areas, and recreational areas. Ensure a logical flow between these zones to promote easy movement and interaction.

Shelter and Shade: Incorporate elements that provide shade and protection from the elements, and consider the angle of the sun during summer months to ensure adequate shade.

Outdoor Kitchen and Dining: A well-designed outdoor kitchen and dining area are essential for summer entertaining. Include features like a grill, sink, food preparation counters, storage cabinets, and a dining table. Consider the proximity to indoor kitchen access for convenience.

Seating and Comfort: Incorporate comfortable seating options such as outdoor sofas, chairs, and loungers. Use weather-resistant materials and cushions for durability. Arrange seating to encourage conversation and create cozy gathering areas.

Water Features and Lighting: Water features like fountains, ponds, or small waterfalls can add a soothing ambiance to the outdoor space. Additionally, thoughtfully placed lighting, including overhead lighting, pathway lighting, and accent lighting, will extend the usability of the space into the evening hours.

Landscaping and Plants: Integrate greenery and landscaping elements to enhance the overall aesthetic appeal. Choose low-maintenance plants suitable for the local climate. Incorporate a mix of trees, shrubs, flowers, and potted plants to create visual interest and add color.

Entertainment and Technology: Consider incorporating entertainment features such as outdoor speakers, televisions, and outdoor games. Additionally, provide ample electrical outlets for convenience and accommodate wireless technology for music streaming and other smart devices.

Privacy and Screening: Incorporate privacy elements to shield the outdoor space from neighboring properties or busy streets. This can be achieved using privacy screens, hedges, fences, trellises, or even strategically placed trees.

Safety and Accessibility: Ensure that the design adheres to safety standards, such as non-slip surfaces for pathways and pool areas. Incorporate ramps or other accessibility features if needed to ensure that the space is usable by everyone.

Your outdoor living space should be functional and visually appealing, while reflecting your personal preferences and lifestyle as well as complementing the surrounding environment. Browse our residential portfolio for more inspiration, and contact us today at 512-329-0007 or for more information on our process and to start working with our team of architects!


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