Outdoor Landscape Design creates forms of function that merge the boundaries between the purely aesthetic and the purely practical. Nothing in a yard that has been professionally landscaped ever looks purely functional in nature. Likewise, few things on the landscape, if any, are there for mere decoration. Even deliberately aesthetic elements such as fountains and outdoor gardens often serve a very practical purpose as focal points for gatherings or transition elements from one point of interest to another.
This makes mystery, to some extent, the key to success in outdoor landscape design. Nothing in the yard can be figured out from a simplistic point of view, and consequently must be taken in to some extent or the other on a purely intuitive and emotional basis that defies the mundane and purely rational.
Outdoor Design Ideas
The initial ideas for outdoor landscape design are developed in consultation with the client. It is a partnership, of sorts, where we sit down and discuss the vision the homeowners have of their landscape design. All of our clients are coming to us from an initial point of inspiration that originated in an image somewhere else. Some may have seen videos on the Internet or photographs in magazines that spark an inspiration for the ideal front yard or back yard landscape. Others have seen the landscapes of friends and family and have decided to have something similar done in their yards. Still others have read through our case histories and have been inspired by the stories we have told about projects we did for clients in River Oaks, Memorial, and Tanglewood.
Outdoor Garden Design
Outdoor landscape design typically depends on more than one garden to generate the necessary organic presence essential to specific themes and styles of landscaping. The function of any particular garden normally determines its style and location in the yard. If a garden is purely ornamental, it tends to reflect the architectural style of the home as a historical, cultural, or thematic adjunct to exterior design. If it is a gathering spot intended to cater to specific types of events, its décor must reflect the activities that occur within the location.
Care must be taken here to balance the amount of vegetation with the space needed to comfortably host a specific, anticipated number of guests. Garden design is never just a simple matter of planting some shrubs and flowers. In fact, some types of gardens, such as modern gardens and contemporary gardens, use a minimal amount of greenery to make their point. Other types of gardens rely upon green plants and flowers to create living forms. However, there are normally inorganic elements present in these styles as well, such as rocks, gravels, statuary, and fountains. Sometimes small patios are built here, or walkways laid down to provide transition space for guests. All of this has to be done in something of a subtle manner so that no particular element contradicts the rest.
Outdoor Fireplace Design
A fireplace brings one of the most ancient and time-honored symbols of indoor living into the heart and soul of outdoor landscape design. There is a tremendous amount of creative freedom for the landscape architect in charge of building outdoor fireplaces. Because many of these structures are stand alone landscape features, they can be built in any number of shapes that interior wall design would be prohibit. Even when they are built as part of a wall in an outdoor room, outdoor fireplaces still feature uniquely shaped fireplaces and chimneys. This is because walls in places like entertainment rooms and summer kitchens are normally built around the fireplace, rather than the fireplace being built into the wall as a secondary part of its structure.
Outdoor Living Design
Outdoor landscape design depends greatly on what we like to refer to as space management for living design. This deals specifically with space management for activities. Structures and organic elements can be shaped and formed only after we have first determined what activities people will be involved in when they go outside, and how many guests they plan to invite to the events they host. The intent here is to create support structures and room elements that support events from a veiled, practical perspective. All elements should look attractive and decorative, yet they should also fulfill very functional roles concealed beneath their surfaces of beauty.
Outdoor Living Space
Living Space in outdoor landscape design is really the inverse of outdoor living design. It focuses on developing specific areas, forms, rooms, and transitional spaces within both the front and back yard. The key to being successful in this very complex aspect of residential landscape design is to generate an appropriate type of emotion at just the right level at every point of interest. That way, regardless of whether or not people are standing, sitting, or moving about, they will have very real and powerful feelings about the particular places they are occupying.
Outdoor Patio Design
Patio design is one of the most important elements of outdoor landscape design. Seldom do we ever encounter homeowners that do not want some type of patio in their front or back yards. Many, in fact, want several patios constructed throughout their landscapes. Homes on larger lots will often go so far as to have us build small patios in the front yard as well.
While so many companies offer basic patio construction services, our work is unique in our industry. Unless otherwise instructed by the homeowner, we avoid building a patio immediately adjacent to the exterior wall of the house. Instead, we push the hardscape back from the home just far enough that green space can fill the area between. Just a few feet of organic presence of this nature is enough to create a feeling of warmth and vitality in a setting that would otherwise feel cold, brittle, and too rigid if the wall of the house simply plunged into a right angle with a patio.
Space Matters in Outdoor Landscape Design
Space management and function are two major concerns that every landscape architect must always balance when undertaking outdoor landscape design. No matter how large a yard is, there are only so many square feet to reasonably use for each of these specific design styles and structures. We do not want to build anything either too large too small. The nature of the events that will transpire in areas of interest, along with the projected number of guests, provide our design team with vital information on setting the dimensions of each form before any stones are ever laid, concrete poured, or trees and hedgerows are planted.
For more the 20 years Exterior Worlds has specialized in servicing many of Houston’s fine neighborhoods.