Garden Room Gazette

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:

promo_quartz kornegay planters

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,

promo_ribbed kornegay planters

whose repeating circular outlines catch the light, irresistibly drawing the eye.

The company’s newest designs are somewhat more subdued, like the Masaru line,

masaru_series_thumb kornegay

but are no less elegant and would work well in areas where an understated look is desired.

Beyond concrete is the rise of  powder-coated aluminum, like these Skittle-colored “Pods” for indoor and outdoor use from Pad Outdoor.

mixed3 POD planters red yellow green

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.

Img0001 Peter Hanson sculptor

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.

Img0004 Peter hannson sculptor 2

Peter installed the fountain in Sunset‘s Monterey Bay Idea House, where he worked with architect Thomas Bateman Hood and landscape architect Bernard Trainor.

Another example, this time from Stone Forest, known for their carved stone sinks,

image.php stone forest swirl fountain

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

The Vine and Monterey Idea House 031

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

398089205_13bc5c01c2_o heath barbecue

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!)

For house plans with grilling porches and other outdoor rooms as part of the layout click on our Outdoor Rooms and Porch Time collections. Here’s Plan 460-3, with the amenities clearly drawn in —

460-3e-1984 patio elev with barbecue

grill in the foreground, planters at right. You just add water.


2 responses to “Garden Room Gazette

  1. I have been making planters with hypertufa and then covering with stucco, but quite basic. The designs by Kornegay are really fantastic. I love the lines and colors.

    My wife is looking into the fountains; however it is hard finding one with a solar pump that we both like. Now I am inspired to either buy (or see if I can make one).

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