Having a fire feature for relaxing around and roasting marshmallows on summer evenings was on the backyard wish list of Milwaukee homeowners Bob Gruendyke and Chrissy Kruger-Gruendyke from the start. The couple worked with Jim Drzewiecki of Gingko Leaf Studio, whom they discovered on Houzz, to help make the dream a reality. Now a stylish fire bowl sits on a poured-concrete patio, with views of the newly landscaped backyard able to be enjoyed from contemporary Loll lounge chairs. The fire feature is gas-burning, with decorative fire balls filling the bowl, which look attractive whether or not the fire is in use.
Whether or not this fire pit is switched on, it always lights up this Colorado backyard with a flash of yellow. The team at Evoke, who handled both the design and build of the landscape, had the fire pit custom-fabricated of powder-coated steel to complement the clients’ contemporary home and nail the playful, inviting atmosphere they wished to create in their backyard.
The new outdoor kitchen features a 36-inch gas grill, double stainless steel access doors and a drop-in icebox for keeping drinks cool. They used a wood-look porcelain tile for the siding and an oxidized metal-look porcelain tile for the countertops. “We wanted a Cor-Ten steel look that wouldn’t stain,” the designer says.
Outdoor space was designed with several "areas" of socializing in mind. There is the cooking/eatting GRILL area, there is the Chat & Chill area, the plants soften and define spaces.
Miami Big Beads Indoor/Outdoor Pillows And don't forget about making the outdoors comfortable and stylish too! Indoor/outdoor pillows are a nice way to add a soft touch to some of the in-between spaces like three-season porches. I love the bright ocean blue color of this Hable and Construction version.
The surrounding buildings shade parts of the yard for much of the day. “We had to focus some of our plant selections on shade-loving plants that would survive with limited sunlight and provide interest for the garden year-round,” Dickinson says. The team used mostly evergreen plants that would thrive in the garden’s shady pockets and provide a modern, eclectic feel. The homeowners chose to be involved in the plant selection process, both because they are gardeners themselves and because they were excited about growing different types of plants than what they had in St. Louis. As mentioned, they were looking forward to the opportunity to use arid and native plants not available to them in their previous house. The mostly evergreen, shade-loving plants they used include foxtail agave (Agave attenuata), Carolina laurelcherry (Prunus caroliniana ‘Bright ’n Tight’), coral bark Japanese maple (Acer palmatum ‘Sango-kaku’), sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua ‘Slender Silhouette’), Adam’s needle (Yucca filamentosa ‘Color Guard’), foothill sedge (Carex tumulicola), dwarf palmetto (Sabal minor), leopard plant (Farfugium japonicum ‘Aureomaculatum’), mahonia (Mahonia eurybracteata ‘Soft Care...
On the opposite side of the patio, an outdoor kitchen and the adjacent dining area make it easy for the homeowners to enjoy a meal outside. The kitchen includes an outdoor charcoal grill by Hasty Bake, a sink, a trash bin and storage cabinets. The brick veneer on the kitchen unit matches the condo and exterior wall, and the counters are quartzite stone. A second artificial green wall panel creates an attractive dining view, highlighted with landscape lighting at night.
The design team used large concrete pavers with an acid-wash finish for the paving. Synthetic grass strips break up the expanse of concrete and add some green to the ground. The pavers “were shaped and sized to try to accommodate each of the seating areas and walkways and provide an underlying geometry and pattern that reads better from the upper window views,” Dickinson says.
A recirculating helix-shape granite fountain from Stone Forest sits just next to the built-in sofa, its trickling water providing a soothing sound in the courtyard that helps block surrounding city noise. “It was chosen for its vertical height and narrow profile to easily fit into the tight space of the garden,” Dickinson says. Two uplights add visual interest at night, with the fountain popping against one of the yard’s green walls. Artificial-greenery wall panels are strategically mounted in the courtyard. “We designed these panels to help provide some greenery and softness to the surrounding brick walls,” Dickinson says. “We were hoping to use these along with other plantings to break up the brick walls that enclosed the outdoor space.” The panels, by Vistafolia, use synthetic plants and require no watering or maintenance. They’re mounted to the brick walls with masonry anchors.
A custom wraparound bench gives the homeowners a comfortable spot for relaxing outside. “We used Trex composite wood as the veneer material to provide a low-maintenance, long-term solution,” as well as to perfectly customize the color, Dickinson says. The team anchored the bench to the concrete below and added storage in the base, which the owners can use to store cushions or other outdoor accessories when not in use. In front of the sofa, a linear fire pit from Ore Designs features an oxidized patinated zinc finish with pebble infill in the fire strip. “The built-in seating bench and fire pit have certainly turned out to be the most popular area of the garden when [the homeowners] entertain friends and family,” Dickinson says.
Now an L-shaped sofa and fire feature anchor a corner of the yard designed for lounging. An outdoor kitchen and a dining area encourage outdoor eating. Living walls and new plantings soften hard edges and add privacy, while a new water feature reduces any sounds the homeowners might otherwise have heard from the street. The double doors lead to the owners’ bedroom suite, and the single door next to the outdoor kitchen connects to the entry foyer.
The wall tile, turn it 90° (vertically) for the ODK wall . Would look great as part of the blocked color look. Grey would be in keeping with the paver colors of charcoal/vanilla & taupe. ACTUALLY- I REALLY like the sophisticated look of the grey, white and wood tone..... this would work very well I think for the ODK
Free-draining pavers. The patio floor is made up of 12-by-24-inch CalArc precast concrete pavers by Stepstone with poured-in-place accent pavers with a pebble finish. The pavers themselves are not pervious, but architect T. Dustin Hauck spaced them so water drains between the gaps directly back into the landscape, containing all stormwater on site.
Keep Things Low-Maintenance Cleanliness is a top priority, so make sure your cooking space is designed for easy cleanup. “A powerful vented hood is always a must,” White says. This goes for outdoor kitchens too, so grease and smoke don’t mar your alfresco get-togethers. Choose a high-performance outdoor hood, like the one seen here, that can withstand extreme heat and moisture. Built-in lights are also handy. “Quartzite materials are king when it comes to picking a durable countertop that is low-maintenance,” Carrier says. “A nonporous tile floor is also not a bad idea for those who have a penchant for fried foods.” Include plenty of storage too, to keep the focus on the party, not the clutter.
Board-Formed Concrete and Travertine Designer: David Lucas of Lucas Interiors Builder: Matthew Cole of Hill Construction Homeowners’ request. A clean, coastal, contemporary design with a floor plan that opens to the ocean and interior courtyard. Fireplace features. Board-formed concrete with a Titanium travertine hearth. Basalt firebrick in a stacked bond pattern lines the back of the firebox. Other special features. Vertical-grain hemlock wood ceiling. Designer tip. “One element I really liked in the space was that it wasn’t overlit, which I think can happen often on projects even with the ability to dim,” builder Matthew Cole says. “The lighting for the room is very warm and intimate at night, and the recessed fixtures provide flexibility depending on future furniture or space modifications.” “Uh-oh” moment. “The offset fireplace venting was a real challenge, as the structural design and weight of the concrete would have crushed a traditional B-vent fireplace flue,” Cole says. “So we had to create a custom-fabricated structural steel chase through the concrete wall to house the flue ducting. We worked closely with our concrete and steel vendors to establish a design and imp...
Countertops Made of Recycled Glass and Cement It is also important to note the small things that can make a difference, like improving an existing green product to make it more desirable to homeowners. IceStone, which is composed of recycled glass, Portland cement and nontoxic pigments, has been catching attention for a while. But this year the manufacturer introduced a change that makes it more appealing to homeowners from a practical standpoint. In the past the surface had to be sealed on-site and then resealed annually. Now it arrives presealed with no need to reseal. The sealant is stainproof and heatproof, and makes the product more UV-stable.
Taking the Indoors Outside Another trend was taking the familiar comforts of indoor spaces to the outdoors. Homeowners have been eager to make their yards more comfortable extensions of their homes in 2020. New outdoor lighting, furniture and other accessories to make that possible were seen throughout the market. And this market presented a dazzling array of outdoor rug options. This example from Amer Rugs’ Bohemian collection is made in Turkey from polypropylene to stand up to the elements. “This was inspired by our bestselling designs for indoor rugs and has transitional patterns with fresh color shades, which is unique in this category,” says Anupriya Choudhary, director at Amer Rugs.