I love the idea of taking outdoor space and making it actually an extension of living space. If you have acreage–or if you cleverly use what you have–you can substantially expand your square footage of living area. The layout shown above has a good balance of yin-yang shapes (round feminine vs. square masculine). See how many circles and squares you can find. Then go look at Sunset Magazine for more images of this beautiful garden space.
In contrast, above is a photo recently featured in a house tour on Dwell.com (“Double Time“). I liked much of the house until I got to the back door and outdoor space. What a perfect opportunity for the designers to incorporate a little feng shui balance. For example, the window in the upper right hand corner of the photo could have easily have been a round one. Or, the terrace stones could have had rounded yin shapes instead of echoing all of the squares and grids (a very tired trend). What else doesn’t feel right? The step down and the fact that it is all grass. I’ll bet that back space would be utilized a lot more if the upper terrace under the roof was a solid floor (either decking, stonework, or concrete) instead of grass. What more perfect area for an outdoor living space than one like this—opportunity squandered. Do you agree? Check out the rest of the pictures at Dwell.
I like the use of wood, earth (slate tiles), fire (hot pink tablecloth) and I’m hoping they have some metal and some water feature that is off camera. This is another patio example seen at Sunset Magazine. I also want to point out the wonderful use of vines crawling up the corner of the house. This is a great example of using plants to eliminate/solve/cure a feng shui problem known as a knife edge. All corners jutting outward create knife edges. It’s not a problem unless you plan to sit or sleep in front of one. This one was completely neutralized by the rounded leaved plants growing up and concealing it.