Column: Living large in luxurious outdoor space


Commentary by Bill Bernard

The project pictured here is a great example of the landscape design world’s version of flex space. We transformed this homeowner’s backyard by creating a large patio with two distinct areas. Located around the perimeter of the patio are three elements that help activate the space. The first element is a rectangular fire feature constructed of precast concrete wall stones topped with a cap of limestone. The second element is a grill station that also is capped with a limestone countertop. The third element is a rough-sawn cedar bar counter consisting of multiple 4-by-6 cedar beams capped with a slab of cut limestone that has been thoroughly sanded to a velvety soft finish.

Over one side of the patio we constructed a cedar pergola with a layer of two-by-fours running perpendicular to the primary joists to create an additional layer of shade. The other side of the patio is open to the sky. The patio surface is constructed of large-format concrete pavers and bordered by a strip of cream-colored pavers.

The functionality of the two different halves of the patio will vary depending on what pieces of furniture the homeowner wants to place throughout the patio. Would you prefer to dine next to the fire feature, or curl up in a comfortable chair next to comforting fire?

Stay home, be moved.