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Get the Most From Your Outdoor Spaces

Exterior living areas have become one of the most important spaces in the high-country home. They extend the outdoor season, offer entertainment and recreational opportunities at home, and provide a place to interact with the natural world. It’s critical to integrate the design of an exterior space with the land, site and building, especially in a mountain environment. Read on for design considerations and ideas to get the most from your outdoor rooms.

SITE CONSIDERATIONS are important, in order to be able to use the area year-round. Be sure to integrate the area close to the building and for proper sun exposure, so that the outdoor space is accessible in nearly any weather.

THE ARCHITECTURE needs to belong to both the indoor and outdoor areas; for instance, use materials on the terrace that also complement what is inside the home. Utilizing the same stonework inside and out creates a cohesive flow.

HEATERS AND FIREPLACES extend the season and add comfort. A new trend for outdoor spaces is a fire sculpture—it’s an artistic element that incorporates flame, and offers visual impact along with heating. Some examples in our office include a piece made from bronze rods, stacked into a sculptural form that evokes firewood and has a flame within. Another installation includes a 24-foot long ribbon of flame installed along a wall; the piece can be seen from inside the home, even when weather conditions preclude being outside.

OUTDOOR KITCHENS can create a family entertainment area. High-country kitchen might include basic elements, such as a grill and maybe a warming drawer. A pizza oven can become the centerpiece to a social event, with guests and family making their own custom pizza from a selection of ingredients. 

Tools to control SHADE AND SUN are essential—allowing sun to shine on a chilly morning and providing shade for a hot sunny afternoon provides comfort and protection. Retractable awnings and unique umbrella options offer the flexibility to control sun exposure.

Kyle Webb is the principal at KH Webb Architects PC, a Vail, Colorado-based design and architecture firm. View their profile or reach Kyle at 970-477-2990.

Content for this article provided by KH Webb Architects.

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