Dwell's Favorite 73 Outdoor Walkways Design Photos And Ideas

As the unofficial start of summer, Memorial Day usually draws crowds to beaches, parks, and campgrounds—it goes without saying, however, that this year, things will look different. With stay-at-home orders just starting to loosen up in some parts of the country, this long weekend calls for some creativity, and offers a chance to cultivate a greater understanding and appreciation for the holiday’s true meaning. Below, you’ll find some ideas for spending this Memorial Day with family while staying at a safe social distance from others.
In the wintertime, the living room is cozy and welcoming with its large fireplace and warm lighting.
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.
The home displays several applications of the same materials—metal, glass, and concrete—a key characteristic of most Ellwood homes.
“The steeply sloping site provides three unique spaces—the living attic, the pool deck, and the garden terrace.”
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."
The backyard is one of this home’s best features. With a lot that nearly equals the square footage of the home itself, there was plenty of room to play with landscaping.
In the coastal town of Byron Bay in New South Wales, Australia, local practice Harley Graham Architects elevates the Australian "garden studio" with this 646-square-foot granny flat. Named Marvel Street Studio, the guesthouse is an addition to a home designed by Paul Uhlmann.
The home's abundance of glass creates a peaceful dialogue between the indoors and outdoors.
"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."
Beyond the large, pivoting wooden gate lies the front entry.
The South Elevation provides complete transparency through the main level to established gardens beyond
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.
The steel-and-glulam support system forms the covered corridor of the loggia.
Teak surrounds a minimalist outdoor shower.
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 three attached structures house an office, guest suite, and game room, used by the family to watch football games.
The 1,000-square-foot pavilion was completed in 2009 as a volunteer structure and tool shed--though today its used far more by the public than initially anticipated. "The garden was wiped out after the storm," McKay recalls. "There was nothing, zero. Volunteers came in and replanted everything." Photo by Frank Doering.
Just off this kitchen is this gorgeous "edible garden" making garden-to-table dining a reality in your very own home.
Raised walkway between house and studio
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.
The master bedroom was raised and cantilevered so as not to disturb the mature oak tree roots. Boulders are used as steps to the lawn.
A common space features Hee Welling’s About a Chair 12 for Hay and a Stick round table by Valsecchi 1918.
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.
A peaceful corner of Casa Meleku.
Irregular stone pavers lead to the outdoor grill.
Large boulders are given pride of place in the central courtyard.
First built in 1959 as acclaimed architect Jim Olson's first project, this modest bunkhouse in the woods grew into an extraordinary family retreat.
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.
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.
Though the front of this 1880s home in Adelaide, Australia, maintains a traditional facade due to strict heritage laws, the rear is modern eye candy at its best. See more of the home.
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.
A Chilean home’s dramatic stained-pine exterior references local vernacular architecture.
Designed by Boston-based architect Sebastian Mariscal, this house, which celebrates the best of Californian indoor-outdoor living, was designed to frame views of the trees and the surrounding landscape.
The most sustainable element of all is the Lais’ intention to make their first home their last home as well. “Some people have this mentality of getting a starter house, then upgrading from there,” David says. “We just wanted to find a place to live in and then stay there forever.” Eventually they imagine passing the home down to their children.
Orpilla pecks, Apolo pedals.
In consultation with the clients, Alterstudio opted to clad the house in local cypress rather than imported, FSC-certified ipe.
Julie and Chris Hill’s home in Austin is built around a pair of massive oak trees, one of which shoots through an ipe deck, past a pair of Loll deck chairs, and into a void in the overhanging roof. “The hole also allows light to penetrate deeper into the house,” notes designer Kevin Alter.
On approach to the guesthouse, the family keeps an edible garden in concrete planters by the property’s landscape designer, Cielo Sichi of Landfour.

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.