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Inside Out: Inspiration for Crafting Your Dream Outdoor Living Space

From enchanting outdoor enclaves to posh patio furniture and accessories, here are some inspiring ideas for crafting your alfresco dreamscape.

By Lauren Tyda


Landscape architect: Kirk Bianchi
For a pair of homeowners wanting to maximize Arizona’s outdoor living opportunities, Bianchi took advantage of their lot’s natural topography to design a multilevel landscape that includes a negative-edge pool with a swim-up bar, dining area, additional seating and a fire feature. After completing a solar study to determine the sun’s movement through the south-facing yard, self-contained, 15-foot-wide shade sails—which include lighting and misting elements—were added. “These overhead strategies are a way to bring comfort into a space where otherwise you would have nothing,” Bianchi notes, adding that two-toned concrete serves to guide the viewer through the landscape. “Your eyes are always looking for edges, so I like to give them something to land on.”

With its polished silhouette and plush, cloudlike cushioning and built-in side table, the Florian outdoor daybed by Rove Concepts evokes an atmosphere of sophisticated luxury. 10.5"H by 76"W by 35"D. $1,856. (
Photography by Michael Woodall

A Slice Of Napa

Interior designer: Kristen Forgione
This outdoor living space was inspired by our love for California’s wine region, with the age and grace of the European countryside,” Forgione states. A 35-foot-long sliding window wall marries interior with exterior, while multiple lounge areas using the designer’s organic modern aesthetic create relaxing zones for entertaining. For the pool, “we wanted the vibe to feel more Euro and less Caribbean,” she says. Black pebble sheen contrasts with marble mosaic tile around the waterline to create the illusion of an earthy lagoon. “It’s perfect for cool mornings and warm evenings.”

Sierra Ann Photography
The Souk Collection of outdoor fabrics by Jennifer Welch for LINK draws on the designer’s travels to Marrakesh, Morocco, and adds a modern twist to tribal patterns (pictured in Giza). Made of 100% Sunbrella acrylic fabric. To the trade. Price available upon request. (
Werner Segarra

Elevated Spirits

Architect: C.P. Drewett, AIA, NCARB

Opposites attract in this alfresco bar designed for a pair of wine industry professionals. “The owners love to entertain and wanted an airy setting that would allow plenty of room for guests to wander, enjoy the views and be part of the indoor/outdoor experience,” says Drewett of his award-winning design. The hemlock ceiling flows into a textured wall of Jerusalem gold limestone, with illuminated recessed niches for liquor display. Porcelain-tiled floors contrast with the home’s dramatic black metal fascia and open out to the patio. The result is a coalescence of classic and modernist design; interior and exterior; ebony tones and ivory. “The bar is the showpiece of the home’s public space,” Drewett notes. “It is pristinely elegant and timeless.

The Santorini dining table by Robert James Collection is an ode to contemporary minimalism with its tapered silhouette and use of cast stone. 30"H by 60"D. To the trade. Price available upon request. (

Let There Be Light

Architect: Erik Peterson, AIA, NCARB
The pièce de résistance of this modernist outdoor retreat is its distinctive metal shade structure. The perforated ceiling channels light in a controlled way, creating multiple geometric patterns that float across the travertine pavers as the day progresses. “It not only helps shield the patio from sunlight,” Peterson explains, “but it also creates airflow and a unique interplay of light and shadows.” The goal was to design a resort-style second home for a pair of sisters to share with their families. “It was a perfect blend of their vision and my creativity that allowed for something so fun, interesting and different for the location,” Peterson recalls. “It is one of our firm’s most iconic projects.”

Phil Johnson
The Beekman Bird Feeder by SHIFT is made of recycled powder-coated aluminum with a solid landing post and modern, sophisticated aesthetic. 11"H by 10.5"W by 8"D. $135. (

Shelf Life

Designer: Steve Reichmuth
Faced with the challenge of a backyard that slopes away from the home, Reichmuth chose to tier both the landscape and the pool, which features an upper landing pad that spills into the adjacent lower level. “The yard transitions from decking to synthetic turf, which is divided by means of vertical steel retaining walls,” the designer says. The mitered-edge perimeter spill pool is endcapped with custom, irrigated steel shelves, which provide an orderly home for golden barrel cacti. The objective, Reichmuth says, was to stop the eye before it traveled to the open area beyond. A bonus: The vertical point of interest also artfully reflects in the water’s surface.

Desert Bohemian

Landscape designer: Elizabeth Przygoda-Montgomery
The first word that comes to mind for Przygoda-Montgomery when describing this Tucson patio: playful. “The owners wanted to use the midcentury modern bones but give it a warm, boho feel,” she explains. “I brought a lot of my Middle Eastern influences—I am Lebanese and Polish—with the decor items, and the owner is a worldly traveler. Between the two of us, we made this place extra special.” To accommodate sumptuous views of the city to the south and mountain views to the north, the award-winning designer added a covered patio with high ceilings, dual swings and a plentitude of colors and patterns. “It’s not the most expensive or the fanciest,” Przygoda adds, “but it is approachable and accessible.”

This sleek garden chair is part of Paola Lenti’s Frame collection and features the designer’s exclusive fabrics in a mélange of colors. 28"H by 47"W. Price upon request. (

Relaxing Retreat

Architect: Lee Hutchison and Jessica Hutchison-Rough
Dubbed “Water Way” for the home’s distinctive channel that runs water from the courtyard entryway through the great room and into the pool, this patio was designed for a retired couple to entertain friends and family. The owners wanted to take advantage of the golf course and expansive mountain vistas. “Every room has direct access to an outdoor living space that functions as an expansion of the interior,” Hutchison-Rough says. The backyard extends out to the golf course with a bocce ball court, outdoor kitchen, several covered areas, two fireplaces, a bar and an elevated viewing deck to take in the 360-degree views. “It’s a fun, luxury, alfresco experience,” concludes the designer.

Designed for interior and exterior use, the Sanctuary Outdoor 5 Sauna by Jacuzzi has an interior made from Western Red Canadian cedar, with 2,000 watts of full-spectrum infrared for a satisfying sweat session. 71.5"H by 76.75"W by 47"D. From $9,799. (
Thompson Photographic Inc.

Human Nature

Landscape architect: Ryan Trudell
Frank Lloyd Wright’s principle of uniting “man, nature and architecture” is apparent throughout this Fountain Hills home. Resembling Fallingwater, one of Wright’s most famous prototypes for organic design, the outdoor kitchen’s bio-countertop has a built-in water feature surrounded by a succulent garden and granite surfaces. “We wanted to create a dynamic, functional space where the indoor/outdoor connection was seamless and successfully integrated with the architecture,” Trudell says. A runnel flows water across the dining area and cascades into a glass-tiled basin, creating an ambient trickling noise as guests dine en plein air. “The goal was to do something dramatic,” the designer says. “And it ended up being a total home run.”

The Lasting Rugs collection of mosaic tiles by Artaic mimics the art of area rugs, sans the wear and tear. Use on floors, walls, ceilings, exterior facades and in pools. Customize by tile type and colorway. Price available upon request. (


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