The trick to making the most of a sprawling outdoor space? “I think about outdoor space the same way I do indoors,” says Los Angeles designer Linda Hayslett of LH.Designs. “Every area needs to have a purpose.” The pool at our 2021 Whole Home—a necessity in scorching hot Texas—became the central feature of the home’s patio, so she built her plan around it. A conversation area near the fireplace features a sectional and some youthful (but adult-friendly) swings, and a grilling area was equipped with an outdoor beverage-and-wine fridge, sink, and its own dining table to make it the secondary “heart of the home.” An outdoor-rated quartz countertop caps a massive island that’s got an ice bucket and beer tap built right into the surface. With a little extra room to spare, Hayslett created a few more zones: a spot for billiards, a massive wood-burning firepit, and even an outdoor shower for quick clean-offs just out of sight.
Sectional, patterned pillows, swing chairs, and rattan lanterns: Serena & Lily. Ottoman: Arhaus. Rug: Fibreworks. Firepit chairs: World Market.
Never one to skimp on storage, Hayslett added lower and upper cabinetry around the grill. “I wanted a place to put cups, tableware, and knickknacks, so I designed a floating multitiered shelf and a cabinet for easily accessing everyday items,” she says. Outdoor appliances: Renaissance Cooking Systems and Acme Brick. Cabinetry, metalwork, and shelving: Architectural Grille. Brick wall: Acme Brick. Countertops: Caesarstone. Pendants and sconce: Circa Lighting. Rug: Fibreworks. Exterior paint: Farrow & Ball.
Under the covered patio, a custom outdoor pool table is ready—rain or shine. Pool table: R&R Outdoors.
Outdoor Dining Room
A built-in banquette, just opposite the cooking area, provides a more formal dining option. Dining table: Arhaus. Counter stools, dining chair, and metal lanterns: Frontgate.
A small patch of AstroTurf offers a no-maintenance surface for bocce ball or cornhole. Umbrella and chaise: Arhaus. Stools: Frontgate. Planters: custom Caesarstone. Lawn games: Walmart.
To equip this relaxation zone with a few colorful pillows, potted plants, and glassware, the design team went straight to Walmart.
A smart, programmable keylock by Schlage on every exterior door imparts peace of mind (and easy access for guests, since you can customize codes).
House Beautiful: Why should people splurge on the outdoors?
Linda Hayslett: The outdoors is always overlooked! I think besides the barbecue grill, you should splurge and put some of that investment into outdoor furnishings. You can definitely mix and match and make it feel your own, that way it's part of the entire house and the space, including indoors. When you come outdoors, it's not just a totally separate area compared to the indoors.
HB: What is a misconception about decorating outdoors?
One thing people don't realize is that you don't have to buy everything in sets. Unfortunately, since people don't really spend that much time on their outdoor spaces, they just run to the store and get whatever, and then they throw it outside.
HB: If someone isn't building their own house, how can they apply some of these ideas to their own outdoor space?
LH: If you don't have a big space like this one, you can do the same in a smaller space as well. You can create a conversation area on small patio by just having two little chairs and a cute little side table. If you can't do a built-in grill, you can have a standalone small grill and then a small beverage fridge, so that way people don't go in and out all the time to get drinks. Here we did a built-in fire pit, but anyone can go and get a standalone fire pit. You can go to Walmart and do the same thing and create the same ambiance.
HB: What about that super long bench that happened over by the fire pit? That seemed to be a surprise.
LH: I was thinking it was going to be a little bit smaller, but it could probably house an NFL team. However, I made it work, and it's going to be great, and it works for the space.
HB: How did you come up with the storage system?
LH: With indoor kitchens, you have a lot of storage and cabinetry, but no one really thinks about cabinetry and upper cabinets outdoors. I wanted more storage, places to put cups and drinks and little knickknacks and things, so I designed this great floating shelf with Architectural Grille, as well as also an inset inlay metal piece instead of glass for a cabinet.
HB: How do you feel about the final look of your space?
LH: I am very happy with my final space! I think I achieved exactly what I wanted, which is to show that the outdoors can totally rival the interiors. It's not a second thought anymore, especially with this past year. I wanted to really prove to everybody that the outdoors is definitely a lifestyle and you can achieve the same thing as interiors outside.
For more shopping info on pieces in this room and the rest of the 2021 Whole Home, click here.
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