Outdoor rooms are a retreat from daily life, acting as a connection to nature and extension of the home which can used for relaxing, cooking, playing, swimming and more, once the weather warms up. , a new book by Linda O’Keeffe — the former creative director of Inside Outside Metropolitan Home — compiles outdoor living spaces that are an oasis of comfort and style using the language of interior design, focusing on structure, movement, mood and furniture. The inspiring tome depicts private gardens from North America and Europe that are evocative, whether it’s a dining area overlooking an English moat or designer Brian McCarthy’s picturesque porch in Hudson Valley.
An Indonesian teak bed creates a place of quiet contemplation in this Laguna, California, garden, belonging to landscape designer Greg Salmeri. Linda notes: “A thick bed of cooling, aromatic mint is a sumptuous carpet for meditation spot. Planting rosemary or lavender stimulates our sense of smell and touch when brushed by, while tastebuds are activated by zesty citrus trees and annual pots of herbs.”
In Greg’s outdoor dining area, a wisteria vine climbs an arbor he fashioned from vintage French drain pipes. He wired the chandelier to hang upside-down, so it doesn’t catch rain. The 12-foot-long reclaimed wood table has plenty of room to stretch out and enjoy the ocean view.
In this English garden, the dining area appears to float above the expanse of lawn. A feature wall at the foot of the garden frames a view of the trees dramatically.
Sliding glass doors help blur the distinction between the garden and the pool area in this modernist home in San Marino, California. A mid-century table and chartreuse molded chairs could double as outdoor furniture with their clean lines and a peppy palette. Patterned upholstery on the concrete pool bench is more forgiving than solids when it comes to wear and stains.
Designer Brian McCarthy made sure to match the texture and coloration of the furnishings on his porch of his colonial farmhouse in Hudson Valley to the shrubs and trees nearby. The swaying tufts of miscanthus and pennisetum grasses are echoed in the green upholstery and woven textures.
Transplanted vintage French chairs are grounded by a patch of euphorbia. The owner of this Cali home prefers to source vintage furniture, statues and urns with existing patinas and often plants dense ground cover around the legs of a chair, sofa or bench so it appears to be rooted to its spot.
Shapely vintage Sol Bloom chairs are gathered around the firepit in this La Jolla, California, garden. Palms, asparagus fern, aegonium, agave and dwarf juniper establish a jungle-like vibe.
In this English medieval manor, a teak table and benches are positioned to take in a view of a moat. At night, glass lanterns illuminate mushroom-shaped boxwood topiaries with candlelight.
Orderly clipped boxwood is punctuated by crimson roses and Limelight hydrangeas in this Hudson River Valley garden. Twisted topiary trees and an obelisk add height.
by Linda O'Keeffe, (Workman, 2019, $50) Inside Outside