Archive for May, 2009

Answers to Gardening Questions

I have started to participate  in the Better Homes and Gardens Gardening Forum.  I really like forums because they provide a great resource for information on outdoor living spaces, finding out what others are doing, how they have solved the same problems you may have,  and for posting pictures of your projects for bragging and critique!

better-homes-and-gardensI recommend you go to the website, register to participate, and start sharing as soon as possible.

Allen Residence Pergola

Allen Residence Pergola ConstructionThe pergola construction is complete, and I have posted the completion pictures of the Allen Residence Outdoor Dining Room for viewing.  To the right here is a picture of  the installation of the pergola. 

I want to thank   vinyl-inustries   for the pergola manufacturing and installation.  I am very pleased with the construction and so are the Allens.

Allen Residence Completion Pictures

The Allen Residence Outdoor Living Space is now finished, with the exception of mosquito netting on the pergola.  But, the mosquito nets will not alter the look of the area that much, so I have taken pictures and have posted them here below of the completed Outdoor Dining Room. 

Also, the flower beds were designed using the philosophy discussed in the Artisan Landscape Outdoor Living Podcast Episode 3.  Since the perennial flower bed is new, it is not really impressive yet, and I would expect about 3 years of growth before the plants really fill in and start to look nice.

The one thing that I would add to the space to make it even more complete and comfortable is accessories.  I discussed that in a previous post.  Enjoy and please let me know what you think about this Outdoor Living Space.

Palmer Residence Design

palmer-residence-back-yard-3The Palmers wanted me to design five different spaces for them–an Outdoor Dining Room, an Outdoor Kitchen, an Outdoor Great Room, a Hot Tub Room and a space for lawn.

The Outdoor Dining Room is the space on the left of the design that is covered with the 12’X12′ tan, vinyl pergola.

The Kitchen is to the south of the Dining Room and shares the same concrete flooring with the dining room, has 4′ stacked and mortared stone walls, and a large shade tree for a ceiling.

Moving to the right from the Outdoor Kitchen is the Hot Tub Room.  Again, the Hot Tub Room currently shares the concrete flooring with the other rooms mentioned.  To the North and the East, the walls and implied ceiling are formed by 8′ privacy lattice with vines trained up them, mounted on 4″X4″s on four foot centers.

To the North of the Hot Tub Room is the Great Room.  This room again has concrete flooring and a representation of Stonehenge as walls around the North perimeter of the space.  Shade Trees will be planted along the North perimeter for a ceiling.  A fire pit in the center of the room is the focal point for the space.  Natural gas is plumbed to the fire pit for convenience.

The last space is the lawn area to the East.  The flooring is lawn and the walls are implied by the border and the transition from grass to mulch.  Large shade trees will be planted around the area to provide a ceiling.

Two large accessories place in the area are the dry stack stone wall flower bed to the Northeast of the Great Room and the pond and stream to the North of the Great Room and Dining Room.

Check out pictures of this project by clicking here.

Informal Flower Bed Design Pictures

I am still working on getting that Itunes enhanced podcast posted here to be downloaded.  In the meantime, enjoy these pictures of some of the work from Temple Square that illustrates the techniques covered in the Artisan LOL podcast episode 3.    These pictures are an example of what your Outdoor Living Space could look like if you implemented this design philosophy.

Why Your Tree Is Dying

I love trees!  They are the foundation of any landscape.  Sadly, according to the International Society of Arboriculture, the average life of a tree in the landscape is seven years, and according to Michael Kuhns, arborist, author, and University Professor at Utah State University, this problem is caused by improper planting and/or selecting the wrong tree for your landscape. 

BYU Tree TourThe Brigham Young University horticulture program, along with the tree crew members of the grounds staff have put together a tree tour for all interested to see mature specimens of 114 species of common and uncommon trees for your Outdoor Living Spaces in Utah.  Click here to see the digital information on the tree tour and make plans to go and see the wonderful trees–and the spectacular grounds–of BYU.

Seeing the trees and browsing the information available online will help you to select the proper trees for your Outdoor Living Space.  Also, there is a video available showing how to properly plant a tree.  This tree tour and the website can help you to have trees that will last for generations instead of only for seven years.

Nostalgia in Your Landscape

Remember going to the drive-in?  My family used to load the back of the car with bean bag chairs, blankets and lawn chairs and then set up elaborate lounges in the parking lot of the drive-in to watch to double feature on the big screen.

Outdoor TheaterNow you can have your very own version of a drive-in for your back yard and invite back that nostalgia into your life.  This is a rendering of an outdoor theater.  Along with the standard elements of an Outdoor Living Space, we have a weather proof and climate controlled, locking housing for the television and computer, a small shed for storing the blankets and chairs for the area, and terraced levels for seating.

The computer is networked with the computers in the house and all of the owner’s dvd’s and cd’s are stored on the computer and can be accessed from the wireless mouse and keyboard for watching movies or listening to music conveniently.  The satellite or cable connection and the internet are also connected to the television through the computer so that you can watch t.v. or surf the internet outside.

So make your back yard the ultimate for parties or family time by adding an outdoor theater to your back yard!

Landscapes and Weight Loss

After reading the previous post, you should be all primed for creative thinking about Outdoor Living Spaces.  So, for those of you who have rooms or closets full of free weights, treadmills and exercise videos that are all collecting dust, you might consider recommitting yourself to toning that flab with an outdoor exercise room.

Outdoor Exercise RoomThe rendering here is of an outdoor exercise room.  The space includes the basic necessities for a decent at-home work out with the bike for cardio, the bench and free weights for weight training and a soft floor area and padded wall for stretching.  Also included are outlets for the exercise equipment and for music for the area.

Could there be a better place to work out than in your own serene and peaceful location in your back yard, away from interruptions and excuses!  An Outdoor Exercise Room is a great idea for an Outdoor Living Space.

Do You Limit What You Can Do With Your Yard?

Are you limiting your outdoor living spaces with conventional thinking?  Have you ever caught yourself saying that is just not possible?

The good news is that if you are telling yourself that something is not possible, then you are at least daring to think creatively about your yard.  The bad news is that you need to stretch yourself and start to think how things can be possible rather than writing those ideas off immediately.

Outdoor OfficeThis picture is a rendering I did of an outdoor office.  I understand that at first, this seems completely impractical, but some part of you hopes it is possible, right? 

With some creative problem solving, you can take this outdoor living space and add electrical, internet and phone access, a little more privacy than normal, and weather proof, locking cabinets and before you know it, the impossible becomes possible.

This space is ideal for those who work at home on the phone or on the computer.  We have also included a fax machine here for convenience. 

With an outdoor office, you can either work outside and keep an eye on the kids while they play, or you can locate the office in a more secluded location and successfully escape to your own little sanctuary, perhaps out next to a small stream or waterfall, so you can work in peace and avoid constant interruptions.

The overall point is to expand your thinking and not limit your yard because it may seem impractical at first.  With a little creative thinking, you can create very functional and enjoyable outdoor living spaces.

Escape In Your Very Own Yard

Places to cook outside and to gather socially outside are a great starting point for your Outdoor Living Spaces.  But after that, I like to focuse on the adults in the home. 
If there are kids, they will most assuredly have their lawn space or even a playground, but kids will be creative and have fun anywhere outside if left to their own imagination.  Unfortunately, adults tend to lose that creativity and require some loving guidance to feel that they fit in with their landscape. 
The simplest Outdoor Living Space that can be added is a little get away sanctuary that I usually refer to as a reading room.  You don’t have to actually read in a reading room, but it should be a room set apart from the house and secluded to some degree in the landscape to provide much needed serenity after a long day’s or week’s work. 

Reading Room
A reading room should be simple in layout and include the necessities of an environment conducive to peace and relaxation.  Remember to include the basics of an Outdoor Living Space and to place comfortable sitting or  lying  furniture in the area.  Picture what makes you feel calm and relaxed and perhaps incorporate a fire pit or a small fountain to add to the overall mood of the environment. 
A reading room is really all about the feeling, so if possible, consult a feng shui expert to create your space, because a feng shui expert will help with the proper placement and flow of chi in the area, and perhaps even help to create prosperity and abundance in other aspects of your life as well!


MacDonald Reading Room

 This is a picture of the MacDonald residence reading room.  A space we created to be a calm and serene get away in their own back yard.  They included a small fire pit in their reading room to make the room usable for more of the year.