Turn Your Outdoor Space Into an Oasis

Posted on under Indiana Design

Randy Sorrell, owner of Surroundings by Natureworks+ inspired attendees at the March Designer On Call workshop on how to design and execute an outdoor living oasis – outlining steps to visualize the plan, along with best outdoor materials and prominent design trends to get the space you desire.

Randy Sorrell, Surroundings by Natureworks+ located in the Indiana Design Center, suite 120-A.

Randy’s 5 steps to creating your ideal outdoor design:

  1. Pick Your Partner – In selecting an outdoor designer, the most important things are to set expectations early and communicate often with the team.
  2. Express Your Story – What is most important to you? How do you live? Do you have kids and want to hang out with them? It is important to express these things initially, as it drives the design of the entire space.
  3. Identify The Realities – Every person’s home and needs are different, therefore subject to unique challenges. Budget is one such consideration, but other real hurdles can be controlling the bug situation, knowing what plants would aggravate allergies, etc. Other things to consider, especially on a house by house basis: drainage issues, architectural style, easements, easy access to installation and transitions from indoor to outdoor spaces.
  4. Develop The Design – Once all of the necessary and sometimes logistical practicalities are conceptualized, one must actually make the design for the space, whether that be with pencil and paper, with a CAD program, or 3D renderings.
  5. Installing, Detailing, Enjoying – After the plans are set, then the installation can begin. Once the hardscape is put in, then the details can be added, like furnishings and other outdoor accessories. With all of the extras added, you can really enjoy comfort in your outdoor area.
BEFORE: Every space is different and can present unique design challenges.
surroundings by natureworks outdoor living
AFTER: Re-imagining your own backyard can be difficult to conceive. Working with a professional outdoor designer can cleverly blend your ideas with your desired functionality (from the design portfolio of Surroundings by Natureworks+).

When considering an outdoor space, materials are key, as they can make or break the space itself. If the materials don’t fit the needs of the family or the space, or if they aren’t durable enough for the purpose, then you won’t be able to fully enjoy the area. Randy shared some of his favorite go-to materials:

  • Limestone – the most frequently-used stone by national monuments. It is easy to use, timeless and readily available.
  • Travertine – a dense stone that is also very popular. It is a good choice for pool decks, as it does not get slippery when wet.
  • AZEK decking – a newcomer to the polymer decking market. It performs better and lasts longer than other, older composite materials. It is also a beautiful product; it looks like real wood.
  • Ipe wood decking – (pronounced EE-pay) is an exotic hardwood that is naturally resistant to rot and decay, is 8 times harder than California Redwood, and is guaranteed for 20 years without preservatives.
Flagstone, pavers and travertine patio combine seamlessly in this custom grill station to provide a long-lasting and quality space to enjoy for years to come (from the design portfolio of Surroundings by Natureworks+).

Also trending at the moment alongside limestone patios are fire features and mixing of materials.  Pergolas are still very popular among homeowners. Almost every outdoor area can benefit from a pergola, which is a trending detail, and a very functional one as it offers semi-permanent shade to the area.

Pergolas come in all shapes and sizes. Everything from a do-it-yourself kit to a fully custom design. This custom pergola by Surroundings by Natureworks+  incorporates the home’s classic Italianate architecture while enhancing the transition from indoor to outdoor space beautifully.

Mixed materials in patios is another trend that has gained favor recently. Rock mixed with pavers lends visual and textural interest to the design lending itself to an Asian-inspired or Zen feeling space.

Custom firepit and mixed rock media patio from the design portfolio of Surroundings by Natureworks+.

Surroundings by Natureworks

Dreaming of re-creating your outdoor space into an oasis? Turn to the pros at Surroundings. Open Monday – Friday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and by appointment, Indiana Design Center, suite 120-A.