Open Air Rooms: Containing Boundlessness

By Julie Moir Messervy. Photographs by Gray Crawford from Outside the Not So Big House by Julie Moir Messervy and Sarah Susanka, used with permission by The Taunton Press.
Panorama Architect: Richard Shaw, FASLA, Design Workshop, Inc.; Architect: Larry Yaw, FAIA, CCY Architects.

Open Air Rooms for residing, eating, and fireplace chats lengthen the within, out.

Irrespective of whether or not you reside on a tiny city lot, a quarter-acre suburban yard, or an enormous rural property, the outside of your home can really feel a lot more durable to design than the inside. Why? As a result of within the out-of-doors, there are not any partitions, flooring, or ceilings to assist comprise the boundlessness of area.

Panorama designers like us discover methods to subdivide, enclose, and provides cowl to the outside areas we create for our purchasers, so as to make them extra usable for the totally different actions that they do there. At Dwelling Outdoors, we name these areas “Open Air Rooms.”

A display door opens outward to a stone patio. Simply as you divide up area into rooms inside the home, you are able to do the identical outdoors.


In actual fact, you should utilize the identical concepts that outline area inside the home, outdoors. Right here’s how.

Flooring: Floor Underfoot

Inside the home, we set up elegant parquet flooring in our public rooms, comfortable wall-to-wall carpeting in our bedrooms or playrooms, and moisture-proof tiles within the mudroom, toilet, or kitchen. We are able to take into consideration the surface in an identical manner.

After we lounge, dine, or collect open air, we most frequently favor to have a tough floor underfoot. Decking, pure stone, or pavers work nicely as flooring materials as a result of they’re sturdy, assist weight and motion, and are straightforward to maintain swept and clear. It helps to find these gathering areas adjoining or near the indoor residing space or kitchen, permitting ease of motion from inside to outdoors.

The proper vantage: a cushty armchair that sits on a personal roofed porch set simply above the treetops. From right here, guests look out to a distant view—alone.


However generally we favor the softness of a carpet of garden for setting out lounge chairs, tenting beneath the celebs, or for any type of outside play. Grass—and grass substitutes—convey shade, type, and texture to our panorama flooring, and likewise do an ideal job of sequestering carbon.

Crimson, white, and pink Candy William seed themselves with abandon on this wildflower meadow.


Partitions: Subdividing Area

Inside the home, we make decisions about how a lot to surround our totally different residing areas. Bedrooms and loos work greatest when designed for full privateness, however many people love open ground plans for the straightforward move they offer between kitchen, eating, and residing areas, which may be subdivided with half partitions, inside soffits, or giant openings.

Outdoors, we will do the identical. We frequently enclose the perimeter of our yards with fences or hedges to provide privateness, maintain in youngsters and animals, and outline the area as ours. And we might determine to construct freestanding partitions for sitting, or as a backdrop for a backyard, or to sub-divide one area from one other. We are able to even use our backyard beds as low enclosures round a stone terrace or to outline a garden space.

An intimate eating area, shaded by a market umbrella, nestles into an enclosure of low hedges.


Belts of aspen timber present an vital windbreak whereas additionally subdividing area.


Ceilings: Sheltering Sky

Inside the home, our ceilings block out sound and lightweight to convey privateness and separation to our rooms. They are often flat or sloping, coffered or beamed, even latticed or trellised to create a play of sunshine and permit air circulation.

Outdoors, we create ceilings in our landscapes so as to maintain out the weather, as with porches or outbuildings, or to buffer the solar, as with pergolas, arbors, and even shade timber. These overhead buildings convey us a way of shelter beneath an in any other case huge sky and assist us discover sanctuary within the out-of-doors.

The Gambel oak put up holds up a corrugated fiberglass-covered trellis construction that lends shade to this comfy residing area between home and panorama.


You realize a lot about designing the within of your home to make it cozy and cozy. Now strive making use of that very same data to your outdoors area!

We’ll be sharing extra Open Air Room ideas and inspiration within the coming months. Comply with us on Facebook and subscribe to our weblog for updates.


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