Here are some ideas for giving your outdoor living spaces more comfort and visual oomph.
Planters With Punch. The decorative garden container is evolving: it’s not just about terra cotta anymore. Concrete is coming on as strong in the garden as it is in the kitchen and bathroom, which we saw in the last posting. I’m a fan of the geometric concrete planters by Kornegay, from Phoenix, like their Quartz Series, below:
These hefty faceted containers range from 24 to 43 inches-wide and up to 45 inches-high. The shapes and the integrally colored sunset hues make them dramatic, creating strong focal points on any patio. Or how about Kornegay’s Ribbed Series,
whose repeating circular outlines catch the light, irresistibly drawing the eye.
The company’s newest designs are somewhat more subdued, like the Masaru line,
but are no less elegant and would work well in areas where an understated look is desired.
Or how about a planter that multitasks? Like this one from California’s Obleeek, which is made of lightweight concrete so it’s easier to ship:
It doubles as an end table. And you can have it with a bamboo top,
which adds warmth and style. This example would work well indoors.
Beyond concrete is the rise of powder-coated aluminum, like these Skittle-colored “Pods” for indoor and outdoor use from Pad Outdoor.
Bet you can’t fill just one!
Fountains of Couth. A recirculating fountain can transform a dry gravel yard into a small oasis, and it doesn’t have to use a lot of water. Here’s an example from sculptor Peter Hanson that animates a small terrace.
It can be enjoyed from inside the house as well as as on the patio itself. Peter’s sculpting is almost invisible — he works with the natural shape of the stone to carve out the basin, making it look as though it was once part of a mountain riverbed. The boulder sits on a bed of pebbles above a pan that collects the overflow for a pump to recirculate.
Another example, this time from Stone Forest, known for their carved stone sinks,
sculpts the surface of the stone into delicate ripples, enhancing the fluid effect.
Open Air Cooking. If you can’t stand the heat, then cook outside the kitchen — of course a simple barbecue will suffice, but a generous counter with a built-in grill and perhaps even some built-in seating makes everything better, like this design
by Hood, with landscaping by Trainor. The simple bench seat makes this a true outdoor room. Or here’s a cooking counter and bench covered with milk-chocolate-and-butterscotch-hued Heath Tile
and designed by Cathy Bailey and Robin Petravic, who have brilliantly revived their mid-century modern Heath Ceramics factory — and recently opened an outlet in Los Angeles. (The big news this week is their invitation to the National Design Awards ceremony at The White House. Bravo Cathy and Robin!)
grill in the foreground, planters at right. You just add water.