An amazing outdoor room by AMS Landscape Design Studios
Luxury outdoor rooms can be as customized as you want to fit your needs and design preferences. In the second part of our Outdoor Room Styles series, we take a look at a phenomenal outdoor room that has just about everything you could look for in a luxury backyard resort.
Drew Sivgals, president of AMS Landscape Design Studios, Newport Beach, Calif., built the ultimate at-home resort, which has almost everything a homeowner could ask for in an outdoor room: a cabana, outdoor kitchen, seating areas, outdoor fireplaces, spacious deck, water features, and a pool and spa.
“The main structure was created to allow for a truly outdoor room feel and design,” says Sivgals. “The clients wanted to entertain in a way that would not be compromised simply because it was outside. Whether the husband wanted to watch the game with his friends, the wife wanted to enjoy a nice meal outside within the dining room, or they wanted to enjoy a good movie with the fireplace roaring, they wanted to be able to do all of those activities in one general area.”
The layout of this outdoor room offers many different places to relax, socialize, and entertain. The pergola next to the outdoor kitchen serves as a partially shaded dining area, and on the other side of the kitchen there is a large roof-covered living room with an outdoor TV.
A separate unshaded living room was also built in another area of the yard. Both living rooms have outdoor fireplaces, which offer warmth, ambience, and style.
“The clients had a pretty good idea of the main features they wanted to have within their landscape,” says Sivgals. “The items at the top of their list were a pool, spa, outdoor fireplace, and bar/cook center."
"In addition, they wanted a few open grass areas, a fruit and vegetable garden, and a rose garden. So although there was a healthy request list, the development of the ideas started to really come to life as the conceptual plans were being developed.”
When selecting amenities for your outdoor room, you want to choose those that will best serve your purposes and maximize your space and budget.
In this case, the homeowners wanted a changing room with a shower, restroom, and lockers so that guests would not have to run back into the house; this proves to be a big convenience, especially when the homeowners’ grandchildren come over to visit.
Across from the pool is a long sun lounge patio with planters and water features on either side. This area has room for plenty of lounge chairs and also functions as a unique design element.
“The sun lounge patio is centered with the main structure and helps to balance the center walkway. It also provides another way to access the spa,” says Sivgals.
Pennsylvania bluestone was incorporated into the decking, retaining wall caps, and the coping of the pool and spa. A mixture of ashlar cut and random/irregular Pennsylvania bluestone was also used for the walkways, while red cedar was chosen for both the fencing and pergola.
When creating a large outdoor room like this one, it’s important to establish separate areas while still maintaining a unified look to the backyard.
“You have to think of the entire room and each space individually. There needs to be enough space so that each room fits comfortably and does not feel crammed,” Sivgals explains.
“The homeowners have been able to use their outdoor room for a great deal of family gatherings, large parties, and fundraisers.” The openness of the property with its ocean views and surrounding landscape also lends itself to countless beautiful sunsets.
As homeowners continue to embrace the outdoor lifestyle, luxury outdoor rooms are becoming a popular request. “More and more of our clients are requesting elements such as outdoor kitchens, fireplaces, dining terraces, and even outdoor televisions,” says Chuck Hess, president of Hess Landscape Architects, Lansdale, Pa. “As we continue to add features like these to landscapes we are shifting the paradigm—activities and living experiences which formerly were exclusive to the indoors now have the ability to move into the garden.”
Sivgals has observed a shift as well: “Most homeowners are looking to enjoy their outdoor spaces more. And some are interested in creating their own personal resort right in their own backyard.”
However you choose to design your outdoor room, the idea of outdoor living is more than a trend—it’s an investment in a lifestyle that appears to be here to stay.
Photos 1, 3 - 6: Photography by David Guettler
Photo 2: Photography by Drew Sivgals, ASLA