Dwell's Favorite 73 Outdoor Hardscapes Design Photos And Ideas

In the backyard, there is a laneway structure that is partially clad in the same shingles as the main house. Brian and Karen rent the outbuilding to a tenant. Measured collaborated with Aloe Designs on the landscaping.
A monolithic opening in the facade provides an entrance from the exterior into the courtyard. The property's extensive landscaping was completed by George Girvin, with outdoor lighting by designer Pamela Burton.
On an undulating stretch of California coastline, a hidden guesthouse runs free of the grid. "The house is elemental," says project architect Dan Weber of Santa Barbara–based firm Anacapa, who collaborated on the project with designer Steve Willson. "We endeavored to make it out of materials that would wear and take on a patina over time, so they could feel like part of the landscape." Unfinished steel, board-formed concrete, and glass continue inside, where rich black walnut—used for ceilings, cabinetry, and furniture—provides an inviting contrast. "On a foggy day, you want that feeling of warmth around you," says Margaret. Brass fixtures complement the deep-hued wood.
Luciano Kruk perforates a concrete volume with glass walls to fashion a simple yet elegant vacation home in the province of Buenos Aires. On a quiet lot populated with aged pinewood, Luciano Kruk designed a modest vacation home for three sisters and their families. The 807-square-foot, two-level home is ensconced in its forest setting. The firm employed board-formed concrete inside and out to connect the building with its environment. "Pine planks were used to set the formwork so that the partitions, as well as the slabs, would preserve the texture of the wood veins in an attempt to establish a harmonious dialogue with the bark of the local trees," said the firm.
The house is broken up so that the natural site flows through the courtyard, which has a fire pit and a hot tub.
"A well-performing house extension facing south on a small inner-city block built in rammed earth is not easy to achieve," said Welsch. "However, in this challenge was our opportunity: We decided that our extension will curl around to capture the sun, creating a communal courtyard and allowing the occupants to look at their own house rather than a paling fence."
In the rear courtyard, Steve spent three days demolishing a rock grotto, which had been installed in the 1970s, with a jackhammer. Its boulders found new life as hardscaping near the pool. “I’m glad we could repurpose those boulders,” Jessy says, “I hate adding to landfill.”
An outdoor patio area sits under a covered area looking out onto the private courtyard.
Designed to follow universal design principles, this Santa Monica prefab home by Connect Homes delivers modern and environmentally friendly design on a budget.
"Overall, the lot was flat and grassy with a few beautiful trees," Lum says. "We nestled the house among the heritage redwood tree and the other mature oaks on the property."
The courtyard offers a soothing space to take a break.
Saddle Peak Residence by AUX Architecture
A wooden picnic table is located off one end of the living room, creating a tranquil setting to enjoy alfresco dining while soaking up the sunshine.
The South Elevation provides complete transparency through the main level to established gardens beyond
“We had these incredible live oak trees, and so we built the house around the trees and the view,” says Raike.
Throughout the day, light animates the limestone walls to various effects. “As the sun rotates around and is more oblique to the texture of the stone, it casts these wonderful shadows on it,” says Raike. “And you just get a real appreciation for the texture of the stone and the richness of the colors in it.”
Beyond the large pedestrian gate, “which is really the home’s front door,” says Gottschalk, “the house begins to reveal its strong indoor and outdoor relationship. Blurring the boundary between the two is a key design element.”
Stone stairs on the perimeter of a main courtyard ascend to a rooftop garden. Large windows on the other side of the living area overlook an enclosed water feature with a statue of a monk.
Water features pepper the gardens throughout.
"The brief was to efficiently and cost effectively transform a light-starved weatherboard into an open and modern home with a good connection to the rear garden and a relaxed yet refined feel," says the firm. The owner charred and oiled the shiplapped cypress siding himself.
"After photographing the house, we all sat down around the servery over a glass (or two) of wine and shared travel experiences, building industry war stories, and discussed the renovation," says the firm. "It was very gratifying to hear and see that the space really fit the clients well. The space was comfortable, laid-back, and yet worldly, just like the clients themselves."
The steel-and-glulam support system forms the covered corridor of the loggia.
In the snug rear lounge, the banquettes are fitted with upholstery made by local artisans.
Teak surrounds a minimalist outdoor shower.
The windows are Anderson100 Fibrex Windows.
This home's prefabricated components were all made in Marmol Radziner’s home-building factory near Los Angeles, and trucked over to the one-and-a-half-acre site.
The doors are Fiberglass ThermaTru.
See Arch restored the exterior fireplace wall and painted it a deep blue hue to match the repainted blue timber cladding.
The three attached structures house an office, guest suite, and game room, used by the family to watch football games.
The garden has been prepared with electrical and plumbing services in case they are required for the future installation of a summer house.
The addition increased the floor area of the single-level house to 2,228 square feet.
The outdoors are part of the cohesive design, embracing the vegetation, sites, and sunlight.
The living area features a Le Bombole ’07 sofa by Mario Bellini for B&B Italia, a Chieftan chair by Finn Juhl, and a rotating hanging stove by FireOrb. The poufs are by Tazi Designs.
A large porch projects out from the main building.
The staircase, which runs from the lower level to the third floor, is lined by a single 32-foot-tall pane of glass.
Moving the entrance off the street to the rear of the house allowed for the creation of a diminutive side yard.
This previously abandoned granite 18th century farmhouse in the Scottish Highlands was restored and extended by Moxon. The larch and red metal clad addition references the gabled roofline of the original structure and is connected via a glass passageway.
The exterior of Connect 4L 1,600 sf 3 bed 3 bath 2 story modern prefab.
Full-height sliding doors blur the boundary between the interior and the garden outside.
Large boulders are given pride of place in the central courtyard.
Sævik compares her house to a contemplative hideout. “It’s very quiet,” she says. “You can concentrate and let thoughts fly.” Her favorite summer pastimes include reading, painting, drawing, yoga, and “just sitting and feeling the forest,” she says.
The sand-colored fascia of the roofline allows the palapa to appear more integrated in its environment, as does the stone wall facade, which blends in with the boulders.
The massive curving wall serves as an alternative to the perimeter fence that's common to the neighborhood, an area which the architects says has developed a hodgepodge of architectural styles.
The couple often dine on the patio off the kitchen, warmed by a fireplace from Spark Modern Fires. Photo by Coral von Zumwalt.
Architectural designer Sebastian Mariscal and project manager Jeff Svitak created a house in Venice, California, for Michael and Tamami Sylvester. Known as Dwell Home Venice for its role as an exemplification of modern architecture, the house is an homage to indoor-outdoor living. Photo by Coral von Zumwalt.
Entry Court
Louvers protecting from the burning sun.
New addition and patio from outdoor garden: the concrete terrace extends into the garden, and receives daylight over the house from the southern sun.
The rear of the house features Victorian brick, a modern extension, and Velfac windows. Landscape designer Matthew Wright was inspired by the art of Henri Rousseau when choosing plants to set amid the garden’s Dorset pebbles.
Board-formed concrete walls create the core of the house and establish its organic feel. "There’s really no other cast-in-place concrete on the street," says Sarah, "but you don’t even see it until you’ve made it through the front courtyard." There, beneath a deep overhang, the couple designed a jagged pathway cantilevered over a water inside and reflections of light into the sitting area.
Rear wall of courtyard
Dining with a Scandinavian touch: Archi dining chair combined with Carver table.

Whether it's a backyard patio, an infinity pool, or a rooftop terrace, these modern outdoor spaces add to the richness of daily life. Escape into nature, or get lost in city views. Wherever you are, let these outdoor photos take you somewhere new with inspirational ideas for yards, gardens, outdoor tubs and showers, patios, porches, and decks.