April 1, 2013

Outdoor living space......part 2

Where to start with your outdoor design? As in many past exterior design posts, the answer remains, look up at  your home. The clues are there, in it's architectural style, colors, and the existing construction elements you can repeat on the ground. 

To emphasize this point I searched all over the internet seeking particular home styles and then on to finding outdoor spaces that could be a match. Let's explore;

What we can repeat;
    a stone floor that matches it's color ways
    furniture that is french styled with colors that mirror the homes colors

What we can repeat;
     flooring that blends
     red accents
     the verticality and simple lines of the fireplace
     casual styled furniture and layout

Southern Colonial
What we can repeat;
     the color ways on the fencing with neutrals on the garden floor
     symmetry which is a hallmark of this architecture

Shingle style a la the Hamptons
What we can repeat;
     Garden floor that matches the sun bleached singles
     Boxwoods in controlled patterns and some cottage elements, reminiscent of the east coast

What we can repeat;
opposites attract......a fussy exterior can balance a minimalist aesthetic
repeat the drama of the black with fencing and furniture

Provincial French
What we can repeat;
          color ways of neutrality
          provincial urns
          pea gravel is indigenous to this region as are the plantings

Contemporary American farmhouse
What we can repeat;
the garden floor repeats the colors of the roof
furniture matches the clean simplicity of the siding
contemporary design

Rectilinear contemporary
What we can repeat
     contemporary style
     a square space which repeats lines of the house
     I would stain this deck the dark colors reflected in the window sashes

What we can repeat;
     the casual nature of the home with the addition of some structure in the plants. a la the boxwoods
     repetition of color ways in the obelisks
     casual stacking of the flagstone, all in a composition of country/city
Did this provide a starting point for you? Whether designing from scratch or tweaking your personal space, we will approach this project as one would build from the ground up and referring repeatedly to the architecture for a cohesive union. The next post will address the garden floor; the foundation and the beginning stages of design
Here is the front profile of Keri Doolittle's home, whose patio we will re-design. What is the architectural style? I am going to categorize it as a contemporary country french. The strong/steep lines of the roof and the authentic shutters would lean us in that direction. Keri how do you feel about that?

See you next week, happy April!


  1. Debra...that was very helpful...thanks for design lesson... Great post!

  2. Especially like the challenge: big aesthetics, little expense, total simplicity, complete function, easy maintenance.

    12th pic down is the WINNER for my list above.

    Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

  3. Interesting and fascinating! So many beautiful spaces......you certainly know "your stuff" and I always am eager to hear what you have to say, talented Debra!

  4. Interesting. Never thought about these things. I'm with you.

  5. Does anyone know the colour of the Southern Colonial?

  6. Wonderful post! It is SUCH a mistake to veer off too much from the home style you have when planning outdoor landscaping. I am in a neighborhood in Virginia which has "transitional" homes (whatever that means) surrounded by palm trees!! It always seems to "not fit" somehow.

  7. This was a fabulous post. It really got me thinking. I have always sort of designed by the seat of my pants!

  8. Hey, that's my Hamptons house. Wanna come over? ;-)

    I spent Sunday gardening....pruning my overgrown shrubs. Felt great to be outside. I think my white border garden is too cottagy for our home. Gotta think more about it....

    Great post, Debra.

  9. Debra,
    I am loving this series and learning from an expert like YOU. Looking forward to your next post!

  10. Debra,
    This was a great sampling of architectural styles and great ideas for landscape design that will enhance the overall design impact. I love the front of Keri's house and can't wait to see what you two decide on for the back patio.

  11. Dear Debra, I too have gardened somewhat, by what I envision in my mind's eye....your simple straightforward guidelines very helpful...I think Keri's exterior is charming, so much good stuff to work with....can't wait to see what you do...N.

  12. This is so good. I could talk about landscapes all day long. I technically have a Shingle Style home, but I find myself attracted to Colonial style too. Since it is also a Dutch Colonial home, that works. And there is something about "French" anything that I also love.

  13. So much great information here, Debra. I don't have a French provincial house, but I so love that outside grouping!!

  14. Oh you make it seem so easy. I can't wait to see what you do too.

  15. these are stunning Debra! And timely, since I'm styling an outdoor shoot right now. Hope all is well! I have been lurking, but haven't said hi in a while ;)

  16. Such beautiful photos. I especially love the first exterior photos.


  17. These are awesome! Thanks for sharing. I enjoy this post.


  18. Hi Debra,
    Gosh your comment means the world to me!
    I am so unconfident when it comes to garden design, plants and landscaping.
    I am so envious of Kerri having your design genius but so grateful that the two of you are sharing the process with Blogland!
    Your posts are so enlightening. Thank you for your generosity and of course making my day!!!!
    Much love,


  19. I love seeing your paired house/patios! That's so important to me in interior design and you're so right that the patio needs to be in keeping with the house! I shared my new book today : )

  20. Loved seeing all these gorgeous homes and styles and their gardens. Thanks for such inspiration!
    xo Nancy

  21. Great photos of beautiful spaces dahhling...thank you.

  22. Perfect post in everyway. I applaude you!



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