Backyard Escape: Award-winning patio, garden offer inspiration

When balmy temps beckon you outdoors, look no further than your own patio, porch, deck or yard for a welcoming, tranquil oasis for relaxing and lounging.
For inspiration, take a peek into Sharon and Rich Orr’s beautiful backyard wonderland. Their Mission Hills patio and garden was a collaborative project with architect Rick McDermott, principal, RDM Architecture. The firm won the “Best Of Remodeling” 2012 award by Houzz, an online platform for residential remodeling and design, for the project.
Extensive remodeling on the interior of the home helped shape ideas for the outdoor space, and together architect and homeowner created a master plan. Top of the list? Making the patio area an extension of the inside of the home. 
“Relating the interior to the exterior is really an important part of our whole philosophy,” McDermott says. “Using the outdoors expands your living space.” 
And because the backyard is small, Sharon said that was a top priority. 
 “The patio ‘room’ gives us more room and good flow from the inside to the outside and back,” she says. The space can accommodate a sit-down dinner for 24 or an intimate garden-side chat. “My husband and I like to sit out on the patio at night and talk over the day.”
The home forms a U-shape around the narrow backyard, with the master bedroom addition at one end and a free-standing screened pavilion at the other. Radiant floor heating and made-to-fit Plexiglas panels that pop over the screened portions turn the pavilion into a three-season porch. In the middle sits a modular paver stone patio, anchored by four ornamental trees, ample outdoor seating and a bubbling rock fountain. The entire setting is surrounded by many meandering brick, limestone or pebble paths and a multitude of lush, colorful plants and flowers.
“It’s a feast for the eyes, nose and ears,” Sharon says.
When creating usable outdoor space, McDermott advises that you determine how you first want to use the space. The Orrs knew they needed plenty of room for entertaining. Second, look at the big picture and use what exists, then build around it. McDermott chose to incorporate the more than a dozen existing trees into the new design.
“You’re under the canopy of all these large trees, and that helps give it this amazing magical quality,” he explains. “We wanted to do that same thing on the patio, so we created this four-tree patio area to sort of miniaturize the whole context.”
The Orrs stone patio measures roughly 30-by-36 feet, with the gardens twisting and winding beyond. If you don’t have that kind of space, McDermott says you can still achieve a serene setting. “You can pick and choose what you want based on your budget,” he says. “Use creativity for certain elements if you don’t have the money.”
Can’t afford a massive patio? Consider a retaining wall for extra seating. Don’t have the patience for a natural flora “screen” to grow? Try hog wire stretched over rebar with vines sprawling across. Love the sound of a waterfall? Bury a galvanized stock tank in the ground, surround it with rocks and put in a recirculating pump. Or simply plop two comfy outdoor chairs in a corner of your yard.
Adding an arbor is another great way of connecting spaces and providing a level of protection. For the Orrs, McDermott created one that lines two sides of the patio and provides plenty of dappled shade and a charming architectural touch to the area.
Don’t despair if you aren’t an expert gardener like Sharon, McDermott says. He recommends consulting an expert, like a landscape architect, to help plan your outdoor room. Sharon offers this advice: patience. “Gardens take time, some trial and error, and should take the observer on a journey — one where you want to see what is around the next corner.”
Photo provided by RDM Architecture


jannereeves's picture

Something new and attractive, i have never thought of such design. This patio will definitely inspire many interior designers like me to think beyond the limits. The natural air will give you a peaceful environment to spend some quality time with your family. I am engaged in a kitchen renovation project and will try to think on this for kitchen as well.

crazysony's picture

I enjoyed a lot reading this article and I consider it to be very useful.I am having a big patio in the backyard of my house where I have flowers and a small playground.I like gardening and I've planted a lot of tulips and roses.It looks great but I still have some pest problems to solve.

crazysony's picture

This is a great post!I've just finished my house decoration and I put some beautiful flowers in the patio.I've also created a little spa in the the backyard where I have a jacuzzi.It is great to have a spa experience at home.

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morisgrace's picture

I've just renovated my house and I am thinking to makeover bathroom and to change the bedroom's furniture.This post is very useful and interesting.

morisgrace's picture

I am living in a small apartment for ten years and I always wanted to have a house with a big patio.I saved money and now I am ready to buy a house.I am so happy and I want to decorate it by my own.

crazysony's picture

This house looks amazing and the patio is a mix between modern and traditional style.I've recently bought a house and I used some great patterns in order to make it look elegant.

I really appreciate the kind of topics you post here. Thanks for sharing us a great information that is actually helpful. Good day!

morisgrace's picture

My mother has just bought me a new house and I want to give it a classic look.Even if the exterior design has a traditional touch, the interior design is more different.I tried to decorate it in a classic style but when it comes to the kitchen I didn't thought about how much money I spend.I've bought some great furniture and also some advanced technology cooking tools from Nisbets USA.

crazysony's picture

I've just redecorated my patio and I gave some leftover items to charity. I bought some chairs and a wood table in order to put it near the swimming pool and I also planted some beautiful roses.

morisgrace's picture

I consider this post to be very interesting and useful. I've always dreamed to have a house with a big garden and finally my dream came true.I've just bought a nice house with a patio surrounded by a gorgeous garden.I like it a lot as it is great to take sun near the swimming pool and to be surrounded by roses, tulips and trees.

Your blog provided us with valuable information to work with. Each & every tips of your post are awesome. Thanks a lot for sharing. Keep blogging,
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opaler's picture

When caring for a disabled person sometimes entering a gardening contest would be a better option that making one yourself. I found on Vitalia homes several such houses and I'm sure the web is full of them, of couse there's the financial issue here.

Interesting post. I Have Been wondering about this issue, so thanks for posting. Pretty cool post.It 's really very nice and Useful post.Thanks
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morisgrace's picture

My husband and I recently bought a new house and we decorated it in a modern style. We still have to install a swimming pool in the backyard and to buy some cables but soon it will be ready and we will move there.

leodan77's picture

I like the ideas here. I recently purchased reloading supplies at Smart Reloader and they would go really great in this arrangement.

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Alina's picture

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