Let's Take it Outside

Who says a home’s best living areas have to be indoors?

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Christian Tauber, designer and manager of Old Country Gardens in Wilmington, points to a growing number of local “plant collectors” who are aware of trends in the growing industry and demand new products. “People want to keep enjoying summer and extend the season,” Tauber says. Photograph by Tom NutterLinda Berdine’s property in Lewes backed up to a wetland, so finding a way to use the space was a challenge. The solution? An outdoor kitchen and pool area where she and her husband could entertain as much as they liked.

“It’s set up so we can do all of our cooking and cleanup out there,” Berdine says. “We’re able to spend all our time outdoors, basically eating.”

The area is paved in outdoor tile with a knee wall of stone and kitchen counters of granite. There’s a small refrigerator, an ice maker, a grill—“a really huge grill with a burner for our crab pot”—and a full sink, all of it protected by a cabana shingled in cedar. Nearby is a pool with a changing area and rest room.

“We really try to spend as much time as possible out there,” Berdine says. “We just love it.”

The Berdines are part of the latest trend in homes, which by now is no trend at all, but an established element of the overall design. The old patio with a picnic table and rollaway charcoal grill is becoming a thing of the past as more homeowners demand all-purpose outdoor spaces that are as stylish and beautiful as their favorite indoor rooms.

With their beautiful foliage and various colors, plants can transform a landscape, like this one at Old Country Gardens. In other words, the outdoors is the new indoors—and the late spring and early fall are the new summer. Why should Arizonans and Floridians have all the fun?

“It’s a lifestyle,” says Christian Tauber, designer and manager of Old Country Gardens in Wilmington. “People want to keep enjoying summer and extend the season.”

Let’s work from the ground up.

Forget the old concrete slab that used to be called a patio. The new outdoor space may be paved in brick, in a traditional basket weave or herringbone pattern, or it may be laid as running bond. But the area is as likely to be defined by specially shaped, textured and colored pavers, laid in circles, fans or elaborate parquets. The area might as likely be covered in flagstone or other natural materials. Those patios might hide flush-mounted lights for safety, convenience and mood-making.

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