Tag : house-care
Tag : house-care
Shed are little houses that serve a needed function in our backyard landscapes. Tool sheds, chicken houses, gazebos, meditation huts, even an outdoor workroom are
all typical uses of a shed. Often designed to be a mini-version of the larger residence, a shed can be located near the main house or at a remote corner of the property. When that happens, it functions as an eye-catcher as well as a destination that draws people into the landscape.
right • Linked to the main house by a shade structure, this tiny shed might function as a tool shed, a writer’s cottage, or a changing room. The rocking chair, hammock, and dining set all suggest that it’s a home away from home.
bottom right • A hidden door in a fence is the only giveaway that there’s a utility shed behind it. We all possess things to store outside but rarely do it so elegantly.
above top • Climbing hydrangea vine has overtaken this tool shed, showing the horticultural bias of its owner.
above bottom • This little shed was designed to be a mini version of its parent the main house. Sheds and little houses look best when something, whether trim or body color, roof pitch, or detailing, relates back to a larger structure nearby.
top right • A classical Greek garden house is an eyecatcher with columns, pediment, and windows; an elegant focal point in the middle of this veget
able garden of raised beds.
bottom right • Some people live or work in their sheds. This Japanesque structure, set in a forest, could function as a summer pavilion, meditation hut, or picnic destination.
As our globe continues to heat up and more and more people face drought conditions, regulating the light overhead in our open-air rooms is vital to our comfort while outdoors and to our overall enjoyment of nature.
For one thing, creating a “ceiling” for our outdoor rooms limits and defines the vast space above and creates a sense of intimacy below.
Retractable awnings allow homeowners to protect what’s beneath from the sun and when necessary from the rain; openwork pergolas baffle and break up the sun’s rays, while letting weather and cooling breezes through. Practical issues aside, there are plenty of aesthetic reasons to use overhead enclosures. Handsome patterns of dappled light are cast upon the furniture and floor below; when combined with leafy climbing vines, an overhead garden or orchard is created. Place your dining table underneath a grape arbor, and pluck away.
right • Although this pergola sits high above the tile-topped table, the close spacing of the boards overhead helps cast a deep shade over the whole.
bottom right • A shade structure can be made into a weather-resistant outdoor room by placing translucent fiberglass panels overhead.
below • Without this pergola made of cedar poles that rest atop stone piers, this high-walled outdoor room would be too hot for sitting.
This northern California landscape represents innovative design on a realistic budget. The owner wanted clean, simple lines in keeping with the modern Asian-inspired design of his remodeled ranch home. Landscape designer Patricia St. John created a sustainable, elegant retreat perfect for the client’s aesthetic sensibilities and love of entertaining. Creatively recycling materials from the existing deck, she flipped over boards to build a smaller deck, stained a warm, rich hue.
The concrete patio was sawn into strips and laid out in a geometric design of raked sand, black La Paz rock, and decorative stone mulch. Nylon “sails” overhead provide shade with dramatic flair, at a minimal cost.
At the back of the property, framed openings were cut in the back fence to provide a view of the creek beyond and to visually expand the space. Grasses were a natural choice as plant material: elegant, low-maintenance, and drought-tolerant.
top right • Strung from the posts of an old arbor, the “sails” can be retracted when more sun is wanted or when the portable firepit is in use. The steps are recycled rafters from the arbor.
bottom right • The open design is highly conducive to entertaining; the interior designer put wheels on the dining room table so that it could be moved outside for al fresco dining. The fence openings have 3-in. x 3-in.
wire inset for security while allowing views of the creek and vegetation beyond the yard.
A thirsty, high-maintenance lawn was eliminated, replaced by a geometric design of concrete, sand, and stone, punctuated by ceramic balls and plantings of cape rushes (Chondropetalum tectorum), Berkeley sedge (Carex divulsa), and other grasses.
While an outdoor room can be just about anywhere on your property, the most traditional is an attached porch. As a part of the house itself, a porch usually sits under an extension of the roof and is well protected from the elements. It abuts at least one wall of the house and is often built at the same floor level as inside, so it’s easy to transition in and out.
A porch can sit on the front, side, or back of the house, be narrow or wide, and be open or screened to keep out insects. This is the place where you can really live in the out-of-doors, where comfortable wicker or teak furniture with overstuffed pillows draws you out to a cool shady spot.
Unless protected by an awning or shade structure, a deck or patio sits out under the sky. Constructed of wood, steel, or recycled materials, a deck is an extension of the house that can be built on top of a roof, to the side of a building, or even on the ground as a low platform. A patio is usually a level piece of ground on which a paved surface sits. It can extend the inside of a house out into the landscape as a large area for seating or act like a floating island in the midst of plantings or lawn. Paving options are plentiful.
left • A roofed deck adds expansive living and dining space outside the walls of this house. Hinged panels of glass open wide to let in light and air, making for an easy passage between inside and out.
below • Floor-to-ceiling screened frames open up views from porch to garden, just like a Japanese screen.
Open-air rooms can also be constructed around swimming pools, hot tubs, and even outdoor showers anywhere water can be enjoyed. A hard surface underfoot usually helps to keep wet feet from tracking dirt or grass clippings everywhere. But sometimes you might prefer an outdoor room with a verdant soft carpet underfoot a well-clipped lawn or mossy glade offers a spot for picnicking or leisurely lounging on the grass. These days, sheds are used for tool and garden equipment storage, animal shelter, or even as a get-away space for work or for play. These mini-houses, when well designed, draw the eye and the foot, attracting children and the child in all of us to snuggle in for awhile.
A porch feels simultaneously like a part of the house and a part of the landscape: a place perched somewhere in between. You can entertain, dine, and even sleep out on a porch, feeling close to the elements while in a protected place.
Because most porches are not closed-in structures that are built to keep out all kinds of weather, materials need to be weather-resistant, thoughtfully detailed and built to last.
Since rain and snow can accumulate on its roof, a porch needs to adhere to appropriate moisture-proofing, flashing, and guttering standards to keep water where it belongs: outside the structure.
Rain chains and gutters can deposit water into rain gardens, but choosing local hardwoods like cedar or exotic woods like ipé and finishing them with a moisture-proof stain will help maintain the structure, no matter the weather event.
Caulking joints to keep water from getting inside any structure is imperative in an indoor/outdoor environment.
Similarly, you need to think about moisture issues as you choose your porch flooring. Mortared stone or brick works well outside, as does stained concrete. Wood finished with either a clear stain or a deck paint can hold up under rigorous weather conditions; with proper maintenance you’ll enjoy your porch for years to come.
right • This colorfully painted porch is a true open-air room: It’s built into the structure of the house with only some posts and a railing separating it from the garden level below.
right • Where to put the grill? Two steps bring you down to the outdoor kitchen where the griller can talk with guests while attending to the tasks at hand.
below • The girth of these columns and the maturity of the plantings create the that you’re inside a giant terrarium.
On a hot summer’s day, who wouldn’t love curling up with a good book and a cold beverage on an old settee in a screened porch with an overhead fan moving the air around, just right, protected from the elements and marauding insects as you look out onto your landscape through a shimmering screen.
It’s hard to imagine a more relaxing scenario. A well-designed screened porch can serve as protected outdoor dining, living, and play space, or even as a sleeping room.
With a solid roof overhead, either floor-to-ceiling screens or screens over well-caulked half-walls, and stone or wood flooring underfoot (important tip: make sure to screen the space between the floorboards to keep the mosquitoes out), a screened porch lets you live in the out-of-doors from late spring through early fall.
top right • People with screened porches often move in for the summer. Being so close to nature while the weather’s good is like camping, except with a full kitchen and other amenities close at hand.
bottom right • Supporting posts help to frame distant views, breaking the landscape into parts the way a delicate folding screen does. The stone floor is an extension of the patio outside the screens.
below • So many places to sit, so little time! Depending on the season, you can dine outside beneath the pergola or lounge inside the screened porch.
Categories: Open Air-Rooms
Driveways and garages among the most utilitarian of landscape features are not necessarily the most attractive, but thoughtful design can make them downright beautiful as well as useful. If you are starting from scratch and can choose where to situate a driveway or garage, weigh the options very carefully you will live with these choices every day. Where possible, locating the garage close to the kitchen of your house makes it easy to move kids, groceries, and trash between buildings. If unattached, building a roofed connection between garage and house keeps the path between the two dry and safe, especially in winter. Consider the shape of your driveway a curved drive in front of the house can make the most of an underused front lawn, or straight shot down the side of the property can be tucked out of the way, with access to side and back doors.
If you don’t have the luxury of selecting the location of your driveway a nd garage, make the best of the existing plan by using plants to soften their appearance and make them part of the landscape. Add paths where needed to enhance access. The appearance of a garage can be altered with paint, different roofing material, or “jewelry” such as light fixtures, to better match your house and landscape. Driveways can be of varied materials. Look for waterpermeable options that reduce storm-water runoff; these can be among the most affordable paving options and include grass, gravel, stone, recycled plastic grid systems, permeable asphalt, pervious concrete, or good old-fashioned paving strips.
top right • Here, the clean flat roof and wide opening of the attached garage meld well with the attractive terrace-like paving of the driveway.
bottom right • A garage can double as a guest house or apartment under the eaves.
This one sits far enough from the mainhouse to enjoy privacy and views.
On this central Ottawa (Canada) property, the detached garage and unavoidably long driveway presented a design challenge. Designer John Szczepaniak solved the problem by integrating the garage into the garden with an attached arbor and seating area; thus, the garage takes on the appearance of a charming garden building rather than a purely utilitarian structure.
The interlocking pavers of the driveway were set in a pattern that highlights the entrances and walkway along the side of the house. A small footbridge was built to link the driveway with an existing deck and create a distinct entrance into the oasis-like back garden.
The paving pattern of the driveway and the railing of the footbridge mimic the design of a large window at the back of the house, marrying details of landscape and architecture.
below • The driveway elegantly mirrors architectural features of the house, with pavers laid in a pattern that marks entry zones. Also the artful plantings of grasses such as feather reed grass (Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’) help to bring the driveway into the landscape.
below • An ornamental grass (Miscanthus sinensis ‘Autumn Light’)is repeated on each side of the garage, while low ground covers tickle the pavers. The arbor over the driveway allows a curtain to be drawn across it during parties, providing additional entertaining space in front of the garage.
below • The arbor attached to the side of the garage creates an intimate seating area perfect for viewing the garden and a water feature.
Like many once-common things whose modern-day replacements proved expensive or environmentally unsound, driveway paving strips are back in vogue.
Paving strips are bands of paving materials just wide enough for a car’s tires and can be made of recycled, poured, or dimensional concrete, thick stone pavers, cobblestones and brick, or gravel.
In addition, The strips surrounds can be planted in low, tough ground covers that can stand heavy foot traffic as people get in and out of vehicles. Best of all, these plantings act as pervious sponges so that water runoff doesn’t overwhelm storm drains in the street.
1. Pavers are interplanted with flowering moss (Sagina subulata) and periwinkle (Vinca minor) with its resilient darkgreen foliage and cornflower blue flowers. 2. Concrete paving stones and tidy grass planting strips complement this house’s neat lines. 3. Long slabs of poured concrete present a clean appearance when highlighted by mounding ground covers that surround stepping stones of recycled concrete. 4. Beachside communities use local crushed oyster shells as a sustainable path and driveway solution.