Outdoor fireplace, bubbling garden fountain, cozy place to wine and dine-it may be compact, but this backyard has many bragging rights.
Let’s count the ways that the not-so big lawn can make life a little sweeter. One, you don’t have to spend half your Saturday pushing a lawn mower. Two, the short distance between grill and table makes mealtime easier. Three, watering the plants is a breeze with one short hose. So before you go thinking that bigger is always better, check out all the great ideas packed in this small outdoor space.
Several Spaces in One
The more you do with a small yard, the bigger it feels. In their backyard at Rosemary Beach, Florida, the Steinberg family included a dining area, an outdoor fireplace, a fountain, and a cozy seating space-all in just a few hundred square feet. The secret is to create several spaces and then separate them with plants, trees, pathways, and other structures, such as an arbor or a gate. “Many times, after a house is built, there is little space left for a yard, and if you make it just a grassy area, it doesn’t get used,” says architect Jason Dunham. “The idea here was to break up the backyard into little areas to serve as outdoor rooms.”
Lush Good Looks
Around the fireplace and fountain area, landscaper Tyrone McCarthy stuck with a simple, soothing color scheme of deep purple and dark green by using Mexican sage and Persian shield for color. New Zealand tea trees and fragrant rosemary add lushness. A thick hedge surrounds the space, screening it from the side street. Confederate jasmine, planted last fall, will soon cover the arbor.
The Steinbergs spend about a dozen weekends a year at their Florida place, including holidays, so the patio was planned for year-round enjoyment. An arbor shades the seating area in the summer, and the stucco fireplace takes the chill out of fall evenings.
If you want to up the charm factor on your patio, find materials that bring a sense of history to your space. Here, reclaimed old Chicago brick pavers, with a wonderful weathered look, add color and pattern underfoot. The white fireplace is constructed from integral stucco, which means the paint is mixed in with the stucco, giving the final piece a less-than-perfectly coated surface-as if it has slowly aged over time. Travertine marble tiles frame the fountain’s top, lending a touch of timeless class. (For sources visit southern living.com/featiires.) SARA ANDERSON
MORE WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR PATIO:
- Choose lightweight seating that can easily be moved around. Place it in front of a fireplace or fire pit one night and around the table the next.
- Keep plantings simple by sticking with two colors, such as purple and green, green and white, or blue and yellow.
- Divide the area into several different spaces. Create an intimate seating area over a rug in one corner, and add a shaded dining table in another.
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Copyright Southern Progress Corporation Nov 2005
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