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  • Writer's pictureVie Construction


Updated: Jun 29, 2018

8 inviting spaces to enjoy outdoor living

According to a 2018 survey by the American Society of Landscape Architects, the latest trends include: flex space for activities like outdoor movies, yoga, and playing with the kids and the dogs; cable and glass railing systems ; and incorporating sustainable elements like native/drought-tolerant plants and solar-powered lights.

Crafted by Vie



This outdoor kitchen with Carrara marble and stainless steel accents is an addition by Vie that required the brick clad of the kitchen seamlessly blend with the existing brick exterior.

From rustic to contemporary, choose from a variety of materials for the siding: natural/cultured stone veneer, brick, stucco, and wood suitable for outdoor use. An interesting wood alternative is SHOU SUGI BAN, a charred shiplap using a centuries old Japanese technique that is both aesthetically pleasing and practical by making the wood fire retardant and resistant to decay and insects.

※ Learn more ⇾

To help determine size and features to include in your final design, ask yourself how you will use the space....weekly to grill out? or on occasion for entertaining with family and friends? This will help determine size and features to include in your final design.


Factor in cost, durability, heat retention (dark colors will absorb heat), and maintenance (light colors and porous materials will have tendency to stain easier):

granite · travertine · marble · soapstone · bluestone · concrete · ceramic tile


Pizza Oven: Go for the convenience of a natural gas oven or opt for a wood-fired oven to get that scrumdiddlylicious smoky flavor!

Grilling Station: Aside from the requisite grill, maybe you'll want to add a smoker, refrigerator, ice maker, prep area, sink, shelves and storage for all your grilling accessories.

Outdoor TV: Make sure it's outdoor-rated to withstand extremes in heat, cold, and moisture. Consider enclosing it in a custom cabinet with retractable doors to further protect it from the elements...including that thick yellow coat of pollen every Spring!

In this Vie renovation, the outdoor kitchen is incorporated into a U-shaped bar.

Bar: Like the indoor version, people tend to congregate here....make your outdoor kitchen just as inviting. Incorporate ambient lighting that is easy on the eyes; add some comfy bar stools to sink into and you're front row to watch the chef at work...and maybe your favorite team on the widescreen! Cheers:)

※ Check out these outdoor kitchens ⇾



Ramada crafted by Vie

Pergolas · Ramadas · Pavilions

For those hot summer days, these open-sided structures create a beautiful shade sanctuary. While all are open-sided structures, the pergola has an open-lattice roof; the ramada has a solid roof that usually ties into the existing roof structure; and pavilions are free-standing.

Adorn the space with fragrant trellised vines, Edison-style string lights, and comfortable outdoor furnishings. Whether lounging or dining, you are sure to relish this space year-round...although you may want to throw in a few citronella torches to keep those vampire mosquitoes at bay!

※ Check out these unique pergola additions ⇾

Screened Porch

A long-standing Southern tradition, the screened porch was originally devised to provide relief from the summer heat, take advantage of  nice breezes, and provide the added health benefits that fresh air always delivers.

With a slew of modern-day creature comforts available... including ceiling fans:) , the screened porch and sleeping porch are increasingly becoming a favorite hang-out spot in the home - for all ages! String lights, add lanterns, rugs, plants, art, colorful pillows, and maybe a flat screen and outdoor stereo (...possible man cave???) Arrange your furnishings to suit your leisure - dining, lounging, game table, hammock ...and VOILA! It's the favorite room in the house! Upgrade with features such as an outdoor fireplace, TV and audio components, retractable screens, or perhaps a doggie door :)

※ Check out these adorable screened porches sure to pique your interest ⇾



The lure of the pool dates back as far as 5000 years ago; it's no wonder they continue to be a popular home amenity on the wish list. A number of designs, types and styles give you some creative freedom and budget options:

VINYL: the least expensive option, customizable shape and size, smooth surface, repels algae

FIBERGLASS: low maintenance, built in steps and ledges, quick installation, versatile in use

CONCRETE: No size restrictions, flexible design,

Learn more about the pros and cons of each type-

This fiberglass pool installed by Vie shows how beautifully landscaping can complement your at-home oasis.

The big question: CHLORINE vs SALT WATER? Most would assume SALT WATER pools would be just that....they are actually only 1/10 the salinity of seawater and are not completely chlorine-free - they create their own chlorine thru electrolysis so you don't have to add additional.

Salt water pools: · gentler on skin, hair, and eyes

· softer feeling

· avoid the risks associated with prolonged exposure to the harsh chemicals used to maintain chlorine · more complex systems -may require a professional to trouble-shoot

· may cause corrosion in certain materials - masonry, metal, etc

Chlorine pools: · less expensive to build

· more easily maintained by homeowner

· less electricity used

· more costly and frequent maintenance

DECKING: Pennsylvania Bluestone, Travertine, Concrete, Unglazed Tile, Pavers, Wood, Brick, and other non-slip options are good choices to consider when making your selections, Also factor in the maintenance, durability, and heat retention of these different products.

SPECIALTY: · Infinity Pools - also known as vanishing edge pools, where an edge is lower than the others allowing water to flow over it into a catch basin. Usually designed so that this edge has the appearance of merging with another body of water or the sky.

Resistance Pools - the `treadmill for swimmers', this usually compact pool produces a current for swimmer against.

※ The World's COOLEST pools⇾ (got any ideas?)



Well now that you have a pool.... You GOTTA have a pool HOUSE! A great architectural element AND perfect for changing and drying off while keeping the main house free from that slippery pool puddle trail. Add a lounging area, kitchenette, dining area, game area, and possibly an extra bedroom for guests!

※ Inspiration for your dream pool house is just a click away⇾



Reward yourself after a hard day of yard work or an active day at the beach with the invigorating experience of an outdoor shower...AND protect your clean floors from sand and grit. This is actually the shower of choice at our house and is so convenient for washing the dogs :) But BEWARE... tree frogs love to hide behind the shampoo bottles.

Consider various wood species for this project as well as your other outdoor spaces:

IPE, TEAK, MAHOGANY : while these are some of the most expensive, they are not only durable but absolutely beautiful!

CEDAR, CYPRESS : best durability w/out the chemical preservatives.

※ Outdoor Shower Inspiration⇾



"You're killin' me, Smalls! pay attention. First, you take the graham. You stick the chocolate on the graham. Then, you roast the mallow. When the mallow's flaming, you stick it on the chocolate. Then, you cover it with the other end." (The Sandlot. 1993)

Fire pits and fireplaces top the 2018 list of OUTDOOR DESIGN ELEMENTS, with 66% of those surveyed by the American Society of Landscape Architects opting for this feature above all the rest. (, April 3, 2018)

※ Peruse through these unique HGTV fire pit styles⇾


7. Water Garden

You'll love the serenity of this outdoor oasis with the soothing sound of trickling water and natural beauty of lush flora and stone....and attract birds and butterflies! Plan the space near a window to open and enjoy the sound indoors :)

Want ideas of plants you can add? ⇾


8. Raised Garden Bed

While the prospect of a starting a garden may be daunting and your garden space is less than ideal ....why not consider a mini version? Raised garden beds can be can be constructed from a variety of materials or purchased at many home improvement stores. Get creative and consider re-purposing a container such as a food trough or barrel as the infrastructure for your gardening project. With our temperate climate, raised garden beds are often used throughout the year. Usually situated on a deck, porch or patio; they provide a convenient spot to quickly grab fresh salad greens and herbs.

Stay tuned for our DIY raised Garden Bed ;)

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