Happy Labor Day!

Celebrate Labor Day with these backyards and outdoor spaces.

Who doesn't love dinning al fresco or enjoying a big outdoor party? Enjoy the day off with everything from homes combining indoor and outdoor spaces to playful decks. Here are some of our favorite designs that take savoring the fresh air to the next level.  

Faceted forms clad in ipe slats provide an unexpected theater for fun in Tiburon, California. The landscape, by James Lord and Roderick Wyllie of Surfacedesign, was created for a family with young children. A walkway of pavers arranged in braille spells out a poem by Christopher Marlowe; this element was conceived by local landscape architect Topher Delaney.

A gravel path leads to a guesthouse, where Trainor supplemented an existing garden of yuccas and palm trees with succulent aeoniums and flowering euphorbias.

Rian and Melissa Jorgensen's 2 Bar House in Menlo Park boasts all the usual green design suspects: energy-efficient lighting, good insulation, renewable material finishes, radiant heat, and the roof is pre-wired for future PV panels. Executed by Feldman Architecture, the house requires only natural lighting during the day which keeps energy costs way down. Still, the most stunning aspect of the green design is the living roof planted with succulents, aloe, viviums, and ice plants. "I'm absolutely glad that we did it," says Melissa. "It turned out so well and I really enjoy sitting up there and taking advantage of it as much as I can. It's very peaceful." Read more about this total remodel here.

Architect Sean Lockyer designed a 5,760-square-foot concrete, stucco, and ipe home for a couple and their three children in the Southern California desert town of Indian Wells. The residents selected the home’s furnishings, including the Royal Botania chaise lounges.

A 500-square-foot outdoor space with a grill, a table, and a hammock sits just off the entrance level of the townhouse, offering extra room for dining, relaxing, and entertaining. The corner couch is a custom piece inspired by the large cushions of Moroccan sofas. The Fermob table is paired with Hay Hee dining chairs by Hay.

Taking cues from a Japanese-influenced slatted screen applied to the house’s facade, Hufft Projects applied a ring of ipe wood around the perimeter of this outdoor firepit.

A standing-seam steel roofing panel clads a portion of the exterior, while the aluminum pipes also serve as the railing for the roof deck. The family cooks all their meals at the fire pit outside.

Since Portland is at roughly the same latitude as Sapporo, Japan, Howells was inspired by minimalist Japanese gardens. All of the wood used in the space, including the furniture, is designed to weather to a silver-gray shade over time.

The house is oriented toward the expansive backyard, where the family spends 80 percent of its time. Alfredo’s wife Lorena, son Lorenzo, nieces Camila and Valentina, and Castillo’s daughter, Regina, hang out by the pool—the focal point of Transepto’s restrained landscape design.

The butterfly-roof pavilion by architects Kate Simonen, Benjamin Parco, and Phil Kaefer connects to the low-slung home Joseph Esherick designed in 1954 via two covered walkways and an open-air tearoom. All three structures sit lightly on the landscape designed by Lawrence Halprin and updated over 50 years later by Gary Roth, a former employee.

In Lac Supérieur, outside Montreal, the Fraternité-sur-Lac resort site is home to a series of modern, modular residences designed by YH2.


Last Updated

Get the Dwell Newsletter

Be the first to see our latest home tours, design news, and more.