Modern Outdoor Living Spaces
Imagine going on vacation and being cooped up inside the entire time. That doesn’t have a nice ring to it. When AV Architects + Builders designs a home for Vacation Style Living ™, we make sure we take the entire property into account, carefully working on both the indoor and the outdoor space to create a seamless experience. In fact, landscaping and hardscaping are part of the master plan of the design of the house, and we work with experienced landscaping designers and installers to prepare a comprehensive, integrated outdoor package. While each custom home is built to take into account the land and other individual factors, there are some consistent themes in our outdoor designs.
Going With the Flow
When we design a home, we want to make every bit contribute to the experience, and that is one reason our homes have such an emphasis on flow. Indoors, this means creating spaces that transition smoothly from one to the next so people can congregate or separate comfortably. To bring in the outdoors, we use plentiful, custom-sized windows to let in the light, and we have access to the outdoors located all over the house. We use patios and decks off key rooms in the house, including the kitchen, great room and master bedroom so that it is easy to get outside. And once outside, we love making strategic transitions from the hardscape to the landscape. David Nordgren of D&D Landscaping is one of our preferred partners, and he tells us that attention to irrigation, drainage and slope all help make the transition seamless and inviting.
Location, Location, Location
Since we start from the ground up with each home, we look at the entire property to decide the optimal location for the house to maximize features like light and privacy. Then, we consider the natural lay of the land to decide on landscaping and hardscaping. Every tree, shrub and water feature is carefully located to bring out the best in the home. The goal is to achieve just the right balance of unobstructed views and privacy from the indoors. “We actually stand inside the house under construction to look at lines of sight,” says David. Picking the right flora isn’t just about sight, it’s also about the other senses. “We are careful in our selection and location of trees, because some trees may look pretty but, during their flowering or fruit season, they create an unpleasant smell of a scatter of rotting fruit that makes the yard unusable.” Instead, they select trees with soothing smells to locate near the bedrooms in the house.
Water Features Anyone?
When it comes to water, the outdoor area needs to have more than drainage and irrigation management. In the last year, pools have exploded in popularity, and people want to use them as part of their entertainment space. Homeowners also want other types of water features, and we look for minimalist options that furnish soothing sounds and an attractive complement to the clean lines of the home. One of our signature details is a rain chain that collects rainwater and distributes it for reuse in watering the garden.
Vacation Style Living ™ is in the Details
As with every aspect of our design, we think carefully about the many details of the outdoor space. We make a point to design covered decks so that the Northern Virginia weather patterns don’t interrupt outdoor living with a sudden rain shower that goes away as quickly as it came. We locate access to the outdoors close to the exercise space so that cooldown and stretching can easily take place outside. We are making the most of outdoor meals with second kitchens, pizza ovens, grills and other amenities built outside for entertaining. For some clients, we’ve designed a vegetable garden close to the kitchen for a home-made farm-to-table experience. Finally, we know our clients want to feel like they are on vacation, so we make garden designs that are beautiful, modern and low maintenance by including accents like river rock instead of mulch.
In the United States, 90% of our time is spent indoors, so we miss the opportunity for rejuvenation, oxygen and health from fresh air and sunlight. Our home designs aim to change that by encouraging use and enjoyment of the outdoors. We love the results, and we think you will too. Contact us for a free design consultation about how we can build your dream home.