Friday, March 29, 2013

The Ultimate in Outdoor Living

This residential outdoor living area is located in Boise Idaho, USDA Zone 6B, and sits on decomposed sandstone and clay loom. The 180 degree view frames the hot southerly sky and is vulnerable to winds up to 60 MPH. 

The project site was located at the side of the home with access from the kitchen and side yard.  A walkway from the front yard to a backyard gate separates the living area from the street.  A beautifully custom built wrought iron gate stands between the side of the home and gardens, and provides ingress and egress for frequent visitors.  Tall berms with closely packed mature evergreens provide privacy as a green wall.

The berms and evergreens were existing.  A mature Spruce sat in what would be the center of the project and had to be removed, however all other plant material located in beds against the home were preserved. The project sat between two perpendicular sides of the home, the third side was a green screen and the fourth side looked over the valley. 

The backyard was unusable during the hot summer month due to the southern exposure and high winds.  The Homeowner wanted to be able to use the backyard as a retreat from the heat and a place for entertainment during the hot summer months and for nine months of the year.

Our solution was to build an outdoor living space for relaxing and entertaining, sheltered from the elements.  The outdoor living area provides a cool retreat from the hot southerly sky. Two distinct destinations, a sitting area and dining room, are united with a fire/water feature. The full view of the valley is visible from both destination areas. 

The dining area is situated 12” below the sitting area to further define a destination area separate from the sitting room.  The lower elevation provides additional protection from the wind and the gas fire feature warms the area making this outdoor living area usable nine months out of the year. The kitchen contains a 36” sear BBQ and adjoining burner.  The sink drain recycles water into the adjoin plant beds and a cooler drawer is closest to the dining area for easy access.  A large boulder sits at the end of the counter and serves as a novelty as an additional counter area for serving.

The fire feature warms with 35,000 BTU of natural gas.  A weir next to the fire releases water down a spiral stone trough, then cascades into a below ground-level basin, filling the room with the sound of falling water.
Sandstone-like retaining walls.18” tall double as a sitting wall and hold back an ornamental garden berm with low plantings to preserve the view.  Rope lights were installed below the steps runs for safety and mood lighting flanks the pergola posts.  A chandelier is suspended over the dining table.  Electrical outlets are available for holiday lighting.

The project was designed for environmental responsibility: The paver joints drain water back into the soils.  Stone veneer was used on the kitchen face.  Recycled glass was used in the fire feature and water existing the kitchen drain, waters the garden beds.  All irrigation is on a drip system to preserve water usage.

Terry Sims
The Garden Aristst  

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