When was the last time you really truly communed with nature?
Or better yet, how many of us really want to venture from the comfort of our homes to rough it in the wilderness with Mother Nature’s denizens? The truth be known, most of us want to answer that primordial call of the wild from within the confines of our own property lines; close to the fridge, the flat screen and our favorite lounge chair. Outdoor living, once the domain of early pioneers and settlers, is now the rage for many of us city slickers and suburbanites.
In our day and age, the worship of nature has taken a different path, in many cases one that leads directly from our home to our backyard. As an Architect, I always strive to create designs that not only function, but inspire as well.
Oftentimes, the solution lies in the marriage of indoor and outdoor spaces, where each intuitively compliments the other. Innovative solutions that provide cozy, inviting outdoor areas for relaxation and entertainment can, not only enhance your well being, but provide years of care free enjoyment. These solutions often combine living, dining, recreational and food preparation areas to create unique and dramatic multi-functional statements. While there are a myriad of ways to design outdoor living spaces and countless selections of fit and finish, it is always best to tailor the space to reflect your own lifestyle.
Terraces or lawns fitted with outdoor fireplaces or fire pits, coupled with comfortable seating groupings and an adjacent pond, pool or waterfall provide a perfect setting for a good drink, lively conversation and a glimpse of the stars under the moonlight. Add a pavilion, a hammock, some indigenous plantings and an outdoor kitchen (food always tastes better outdoors to me anyway) and you may never want to go back inside.
These outdoor venues are a terrific way to express one’s individual taste and personality. They transcend age and gender, their appeal is universal and they can be as casual or as sophisticated as one chooses.
Arbors, gazebos, reflecting pools, Koi ponds, waterfalls; moonlighting, you name it, the choices and combinations are only bounded by your imagination. And yes, you can always make room for that flat screen.
While one may think that these oasis inspired retreats are only for the wealthy, effective outdoor living really can be achieved on a budget. Retailers, seeing a burgeoning market, have embraced the outdoor living concept as well, and have quickly moved to take full advantage of this trend. By offering reasonably priced furnishings, accessories and gadgets they have made the outdoor living experience more affordable than ever.
Be it a $10,000 stainless steel do it all grill or a $100.00 hardware store special, a hand built stacked stone fireplace or a portable chimney, the allure of outdoor living is within the grasp of everyone’s budget.
Next time you are relaxing in your piece of backyard paradise, take a deep breath and gaze skyward. You just may be closer to heaven than you think.
Written by Barry Coyle