Sipping rose on the patio, stealing a nap in a hammock, dining alfresco under the stars–summer provides no shortage of opportunities for simple pleasures. Thanks to the ever-evolving concept of outdoor living, too, warm weather also brings with it more thoughtfully designed spaces to experience those pleasures.
Over the last several years, designers have embraced nature in a big way, creating fully loaded outdoor family rooms, elaborate fire pits and wow-worthy pools. Even the once-humble pool house has undergone a dramatic change from utilitarian changing spot to a luxurious destination in itself, as witnessed in this elegant East Hampton, New York, property by Dan Scotti Design.
For more inspirational spaces and products that celebrate the great outdoors, scroll below.
While it’s probably tempting for landscape architects to cover the countryside in vibrant colors, sometimes a more restricted palette is needed. For this Dutch-inspired house in New Canaan, Connecticut, for example, Doyle Herman Design Associates opted for a more earthy, subdued scheme.
“Oversize bluestone leads from the kitchen to the dining terrace, while linear gestures of ornamental grasses and hedges of boxwoods play off the contemporary style of this modern farmhouse,” says principal designer Kathryn Herman.
With its sleek silhouette and eye-catching color, the Hestan deluxe freestanding grill is, dare we say, sexy. But its fetching looks aren’t the only draw. Heavyduty burners deliver up to 25,000 BTUs, making it a powerful addition to any backyard barbecue.
Amenities such as a whisper-quiet infrared rotisserie burner and motion-activated under-hood lighting are perfect for post-sundown cookouts, and it comes in 12 signature colors, ranging from classic stainless to the lively orange, Citra, shown here.
This Malibu, California, retreat was designed to give its owners a sunny respite from harsh winters on the East Coast, where they are based. To take full advantage of the sweeping coastline views, Studio Bracket oriented the house toward the ocean, and opened it up to create a seamless transition from indoors to outside.
“The covered exterior spaces become an extension of the living room and kitchen, increasing the footprint and bringing the casual Malibu lifestyle outdoors,” says designer Wayne Chevalier.
IN THE ROUND
It’s hard to top the Mad Men-era fabulousness of the Trousdale Estates section of Beverly Hills: After all, Rat Packers Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin once called the midcentury neighborhood home. To honor that history, Los Angeles-based Elysian Landscapes brought a dose of retro glamour to the backyard of a 1959 glass-and-concrete house by creating this showstopper of a fire pit.
“The generous banquette was once a low concrete block wall hidden behind a hedge of bamboo, so we increased the height of the wall and hid speakers in the plantings,” says designer Judy Kameon. “Now, it’s a perfect setting for enjoying cool evenings.”
Bring on the s’mores… and martinis!
ON THE SLIDE
Talk about a platform for change: This mobile lounger rests on rails so it can be wheeled from the far end of the 35-foot pool right up to the fireplace of this Dallas house.
Created by the landscape architects at Hocker Design Group, the genius contraption is the centerpiece of an exterior space that features a lounge area on one side and a grove of bamboo trees on the other. The daybed acts as a piece of site furniture that allows you to dip your toes in the water and enjoy the warmth of a fire for a truly transporting experience.
Inspired by the complex and elegant nests of the finch-like weaver bird, Danish designer Henrik Pedersen created these outdoor lanterns to hang and sway in the evening breeze much like the real thing. Solar-charged LED lights provide soft mood lighting for summer nights, while the powder-coated stainless-steel accents come in two neutral colors: fawn and steel, both shown.
Thinking outside of the box takes on a new meaning when you actually punch a hole in that box, which is exactly what Australian designer Carole Whiting did to create this cozy nook.
By opening up a wall in the living room to make a niche that’s both window and daybed, Whiting invited more light into the space and gave the eventual inhabitants the option of being simultaneously inside and out. “To contrast with the soft, neutral palette indoors, we made the bed black, which further 7 unifies it with the exterior,” says Whiting.
Perhaps no other perch conveys a playful Bohemian vibe quite like a hanging swing chair. The original bamboo version of this porch staple was designed by Giovanni Travasa in 1958, but the style really caught on in the freewheeling ’60s and ’70s when natural materials were all the rage.
Tidelli‘s new Painho swing here, designed by Rosenbaum e o Fetiche, is made with nautical rope and high-grade aluminum for indoor or outdoor use and comes in an impressive array of summertime colors–52 to be exact.
Minimalist architecture demands clean lines, so it’s no wonder the latest technological advancements in glass walls allow for bigger expanses and slimmer frames and stiles. Cero, the newest floor-to-ceiling sliding wall system from NanaWall, boasts the thinnest profile yet, giving way to light-filled spaces that challenge the conventional notions of boundaries between indoors and out.
VIEW TO THRILL
What can compete with a typical Wine Country meal of farm-to-table food and excellent vino? A killer view, of course–like the one at this Healdsburg, California, family ranch designed by Ali Davin of San Francisco-based firm Jute.
“To draw the eye outside, we intentionally kept the furnishings sparse so they wouldn’t distract from the scenery,” she says. “The wood ceiling, concrete walls, stone floors, metal chairs and linen curtains keep the look rustic and understated, while Rose Uniacke’s dining table made of pippy oak helps anchor the space and tie it to the natural landscape.”
The best entryways whisper “come here”: Inspiring curiosity, they beckon you to take another step forward until you cross their threshold. For this Bridgehampton, New York, estate, principal and designer Ian Hanbach of LaGuardia Design Landscape Architecture wanted to create that sense of anticipation.
“It’s playing with the idea of having something hidden on the other side that you can’t wait to discover,” he says. In this case, the reward–a serene, secluded pool–is worth every single step.