17 Outdoor Hardscapes Grass Trees Hanging Lighting Design Photos And Ideas

A collection of low-slung volumes create a series of platforms near the ground, so family members can be close together while still retaining their privacy.
Much of Roscommon House is single-story. With a total of 5,900 square feet of floor area, its footprint takes up the majority of the lot, so the architects cleverly sowed in green spaces wherever they could.
"Unlike its neighbors, this house is not fenced off at its street perimeter," notes the firm. "A meadow of native grasses flows from the sidewalk with existing oaks, redwoods, and newly planted birch trees flowing inside and outside of the curving wooden wall."
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.
"A three-foot platform raises the main floor level from the ground, protecting the house against recurring floods," explains the firm. "This difference of level between the interior and exterior was used to create sloped gardens that work as thermal buffer zones."
According to the architects, the house's "thinner dimensions not only display refinement of technique, but also remove visual weight from materials—the position being that lightness is good for the human spirit and visual heaviness is not."
An outdoor bathroom for lazy summer soaks.
Why build a Passive House? "The obvious answer is low heating and cooling bills, but we find people most appreciate the other benefits, like consistent thermal comfort, sound proofing, and air quality," say the architects.
The second seating area features furniture from All Modern.
A new saltwater pool and spa were added to the backyard. Part of the concrete hardscape was replaced with AstroTurf.
The newly landscaped yard is virtually maintenance free and features modern concrete hardscapes, as well as wood decking—perfect for alfresco entertaining.
Carstensen updated the deck, replacing the vertical posts with screen to create a more open feeling.
The screened porch is just a few steps from the back door and deck, making for easy circulation between the different areas.
Carstensen landscaped the backyard and added a simple firepit circle with chairs. This seating area merges easily with the new screened porch.
A look at the rear patio gardens.
Delighted with the result, they requested additional structures, including a pool house with a dining area that opens to the outdoors. Rising from the edge of the pool deck, a planted overhang shelters a gym and sauna below.

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.