5 TIPS FOR SEAMLESS INDOOR–OUTDOOR LIVING
DESIGN TIPS FROM A TRI POINTE EXPERT
The trend of indoor-outdoor living is hotter than ever, especially in sunny Southern California where weather is nearly perfect all year! So what is indoor-outdoor living, and how do you get it? It starts with treating your outdoor space like the valuable space it is—another room, an extension of the indoors, a perfect opportunity for more living… You get the picture.
Now, how to get it… For expert tips, we turned to someone with serious creative vision, Carol Sullivan-McFarlane, the Sr. Vice President and Director of Landscape Design at FORMA Design Inc. in Orange County. She knows that creating the backyard of your dreams is a little like creating the kitchen of your dreams. It just takes some planning and a little attention to detail. Rest assured, her five tips are game-changers when it comes to designing the perfect indoor-outdoor space.
This backyard at TRI Pointe Homes at Rancho Mission Viejo has it all. Why go inside?
TIP #1: INCORPORATE A STRUCTURE
Defining areas of your backyard is easy with a well-placed structure. When designing a new home, adding an overhead structure in an outdoor space adds depth and dimension. Whether it be 100-percent covered or just a space frame, the outdoor “rooms” it creates serves as individual gathering and entertaining areas that give each space a clear purpose. Here you can enjoy sitting by the fire with friends or dining al fresco under this outdoor arbor.
The beautiful brick and stucco design borrows from the Spanish architectural style of the Fairwind Residence Two in Huntington Beach.
TIP #2: TAKE NOTES FROM YOUR HOME’S ARCHITECTURAL STYLE
Consider the home’s architectural style and interior design when you’re choosing materials for your landscaping. Use the same colors and materials from your home as either the primary or accent materials for the most cohesive design. For example, this Spanish-style home’s stucco, neutral color palette, and clean lines are seamlessly incorporated into the outdoor entertaining space through the brick and stone selected. The brick picks up on the roofing colors, and the stone accent is a fun way to play off the interior style of the home. The result is a visually appealing background that harmonizes with the home’s architecture.
Tile floors extend from indoors to outdoors in the Arcadia Residence One, seamlessly blending spaces.
TIP #3: CHOOSE INDOOR-OUTDOOR FLOORING TO UNIFY SPACES
To create the ultimate indoor-outdoor living experience, choose a flooring material that may be continued from inside your home to the outside covered patio area. For safety, select a material that is slip-resistant when wet. Here’s the expert’s standard: Check the “Coefficient of Friction” to make sure the product you select exceeds 0.60 on the ASTM C-1028 test, wet and dry. Ask your flooring expert for help.
Not sure you can pull off extending your indoor flooring outdoors? When in doubt, stick with colors that complement the outside color scheme. For example, if the colors on the outside of the home are beige or brown with warm accents, and the interior colors are cool greys and blues, go with the outside home colors for the outdoor palette.
The backyard of Aria Residence Two is proof that you can live large on a modestly sized homesite.
TIP #4: MAXIMIZE OUTDOOR LIVING WITH FLATWORK, PRIVACY SCREENS & A DESIGN FOCAL POINT
There are tricks to living large on smaller homesites. First, maximize outdoor flooring to make the backyard feel more expansive and useable. Carol recommends extending flatwork to within 30 to 36 inches from rear and side yard walls to create a planting bed. That brings us to the second trick: For maximum privacy, install tall screen hedges to soften the wall and add a backdrop that creates more of a “room-like” feel, as shown at the Aria Residence Two Model, photo above. Finally, install enhanced hardscape, pottery and accent plantings to create a focal point and add dimension to the space. For example, the water feature shown at Aria was strategically positioned for huge impact—even from inside the home. Visible through the sliding glass doors, it draws the eye out and helps to connect indoor and outdoor spaces.
The natural beauty of the surrounding hillsides shines through at the Kite Ridge Residence One.
TIP #5: SIMPLIFY. LESS IS MORE.
When it comes to landscape architecture and outdoor entertaining areas, many homeowners—and even some designers—will select numerous hardscape materials they love, plant types they enjoy and garden ornaments they admire. Then they will incorporate all of these various elements into the space.
With so many elements, you can end up with a disheveled, disorganized, and unplanned environment. While there is truly no right or wrong way to design your perfect sanctuary, Carol recommends a little editing to create a clean look and a comfortable space. Need help deciding what stays and what goes? Consult a professional landscape designer who can offer objective advice to help bring your vision to life. But above all, have fun with it!
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Carol Sullivan-McFarlane is a principal and director of landscape design at FORMA Designs in Orange County. She has more than 30 years of professional experience in all aspects of landscape architecture, including extensive experience in unique high-end urban design and large-scale community design. She has been an influential designer/director on a diverse array of award-winning projects throughout the West.