6 Sublimely Serene Outdoor Spaces

written by:
June 26, 2014
The call of the wild is impossible to resist in these six patios, backyards, and gardens that offer a retreat from the hustle and bustle of city life.
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  After a devastating fire, architect David Salmela designed a house to replace a beloved lakeside retreat in Wisconsin. A natural meadow filled with tall grasses stretches between the structure and lake Michigan.Photo by: Narayan Mahon  Photo by: Narayan Mahon

    After a devastating fire, architect David Salmela designed a house to replace a beloved lakeside retreat in Wisconsin. A natural meadow filled with tall grasses stretches between the structure and lake Michigan.

    Photo by: Narayan Mahon

    Photo by: Narayan Mahon

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  A couple’s retirement home on a nature preserve in Carmel, California, emerges as a series of eco-conscious pavilions that rest lightly on the land. Landscape architect Bernard Trainor planted native grasses and yarrow as a visual buffer between the house and the natural site. Architect Jonathan Feldman chose Douglas fir beams as the board forms for the site-poured concrete walls. “The rough texture of the concrete helps tie the house to this dynamic and wild setting,” he says.  Photo by: Joe Fletcher

    A couple’s retirement home on a nature preserve in Carmel, California, emerges as a series of eco-conscious pavilions that rest lightly on the land. Landscape architect Bernard Trainor planted native grasses and yarrow as a visual buffer between the house and the natural site. Architect Jonathan Feldman chose Douglas fir beams as the board forms for the site-poured concrete walls. “The rough texture of the concrete helps tie the house to this dynamic and wild setting,” he says.

    Photo by: Joe Fletcher

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  Usha and Mike Kreaden had a virtually blank slate when it came to the garden outside the 1958 Joseph Eichler house that they bought in Silicon Valley two decades ago. Bernard Trainor recast an entry space behind a gate as an outdoor living room. Sparta stacking chairs, a deep-wicker Baia sofa, and matching Baia armchairs, all by Mamagreen, are arranged around a custom concrete fire pit. Orange kangaroo paws lean in from the sides, creating a sense of privacy without sacrificing views. It’s a welcoming space that serves as a casual gathering spot when the weather cooperates.Photo by Daniel Hennessy.  Photo by: Daniel Hennessy

    Usha and Mike Kreaden had a virtually blank slate when it came to the garden outside the 1958 Joseph Eichler house that they bought in Silicon Valley two decades ago. Bernard Trainor recast an entry space behind a gate as an outdoor living room. Sparta stacking chairs, a deep-wicker Baia sofa, and matching Baia armchairs, all by Mamagreen, are arranged around a custom concrete fire pit. Orange kangaroo paws lean in from the sides, creating a sense of privacy without sacrificing views. It’s a welcoming space that serves as a casual gathering spot when the weather cooperates.

    Photo by Daniel Hennessy.

    Photo by: Daniel Hennessy

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  A house designed to be part of the landscape is at home among the trees in Venice, California. The residents often dine on the patio off the kitchen, warmed by a fireplace from Spark Modern Fires. Photo by Coral von Zumwalt.  Courtesy of: Coral von Zumwalt

    A house designed to be part of the landscape is at home among the trees in Venice, California. The residents often dine on the patio off the kitchen, warmed by a fireplace from Spark Modern Fires. Photo by Coral von Zumwalt.

    Courtesy of: Coral von Zumwalt

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  A maple tree grows through an ipe deck in the garden that Mary Barensfeld designed for a family in Berkeley, California. A reflecting pool separates it from a white-granite patio, which is furnished with a Petal dining table by Richard Schultz and chairs by Mario Bellini.Photo by Joe Fletcher.  Photo by: Joe Fletcher

    A maple tree grows through an ipe deck in the garden that Mary Barensfeld designed for a family in Berkeley, California. A reflecting pool separates it from a white-granite patio, which is furnished with a Petal dining table by Richard Schultz and chairs by Mario Bellini.

    Photo by Joe Fletcher.

    Photo by: Joe Fletcher

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  Crestwood Hills, in the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles, is an endangered enclave of midcentury post-and-beam houses designed by A. Quincy Jones and Whitney R. Smith. Residents Elise Loehnen and Rob Fissmer relax on a bench outfitted with orange pillows by Sunbrella on the deck outside their living room. Photo by: Spencer Lowell  Photo by: Spencer Lowell

    Crestwood Hills, in the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles, is an endangered enclave of midcentury post-and-beam houses designed by A. Quincy Jones and Whitney R. Smith. Residents Elise Loehnen and Rob Fissmer relax on a bench outfitted with orange pillows by Sunbrella on the deck outside their living room. Photo by: Spencer Lowell

    Photo by: Spencer Lowell

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