Designing an Oasis: Elevate Landscapes with Outdoor Living Spaces

Custom design-build outdoor living space with an outdoor kitchen, shade structure and walkway.

Outdoor living spaces have become more than just an extension of the indoors. With the rise in remote and hybrid working coupled with a renewed interest in social gatherings, they are sanctuaries for relaxation, culinary exploration and connection. As a landscape architecture firm rooted in the heart of Houston, Texas, the team at Prewett, Read & Associates understands the importance of seamlessly integrating outdoor spaces with the indoor environments — all while ensuring functionality, aesthetics and comfort. Let’s take a closer look at how to elevate your landscape by incorporating outdoor kitchens, shade structures, lounging and entertaining areas, and gardens that harmonize with the surroundings.

Blending Form & Function

When it comes to designing outdoor living spaces, striking the perfect balance between form and function is essential. Outdoor kitchens are a prime example of this balance. Modern designs encompass all the needs of a home chef and can be customized to include grills, food prep areas, bars, dining space, surround sound and other AV equipment.

Shade structures such as pergolas and gazebos are another example of this fusion of form and function. Custom wood structures can be designed to suit your specific landscape and space requirements, from side gardens to expansive gardens.

To ensure longevity — not to mention easy maintenance and upkeep — incorporate durable, weather-resistant materials such as stainless steel, stone, concrete and properly treated wood. Both outdoor kitchens and shade structure provide an ideal space for social gatherings, and thoughtful design elements such as counter space, storage solutions, outdoor furniture and strategically placed lighting make it a true joy to entertain al fresco.

Design-Build Approach for Cohesive Spaces

To ensure a seamless transition between indoor and outdoor environments, adopting a design-build approach is key. At Prewett, Read & Associates, our licensed landscape architects partner with leading designers, interior designers and engineers to create functional outdoor concepts tailormade to your landscape. By applying careful consideration to sightlines, material choice and architectural elements, we create integrated designs that provide a sense of continuity between your indoor and outdoor spaces. From selecting outdoor furniture and fixtures that mirror the indoor aesthetic to incorporating landscaping features that echo the architectural style of the home, every detail is thoughtfully curated to enhance the overall cohesion of the space.

Embracing Natural Elements

Another way to create a cohesive landscape is to embrace the natural environment, welcoming lush greenery and flora is not only aesthetically pleasing but also enhances the overall ambiance and tranquility.

Native plants — which in Houston can include Texas sage, lantana, and coneflower — not only require less maintenance but also attract local wildlife, adding to the biodiversity of the outdoor space. You may also consider introducing water features, such as fountains or ponds, to further enhance the sensory experience of your own private oasis.

Year-round Versatility

While our local climate allows for year-round enjoyment of outdoor living spaces, it’s essential to design for versatility and adaptability. For example, features such as retractable awnings and wooden structures provide shade during the scorching summer months while still allowing for ample sunlight in the winter months.

On the other hand, fire pits or outdoor heat features extend the usability of outdoor spaces well into the cooler evenings, transforming them into cozy gathering spots for friends and family. Additionally, thoughtful landscaping and hardscaping choices, such as drought-tolerant plants and permeable paving, help mitigate the effects of heavy rainfall and flooding, ensuring that outdoor spaces remain functional and resilient in the face of unpredictable weather.

In conclusion, incorporating outdoor kitchens, lounging and entertaining areas, and gardens that seamlessly integrate with the indoor environment allow you to create outdoor oases that are as functional as they are beautiful. Through a thoughtful blend of form and functionality, cohesive and versatile design, and natural elements, outdoor living spaces can become extensions of the home—providing sanctuary, inspiration and relaxation year-round. Ready to design a new outdoor living space where memories are made and moments savored? Reach out to us to create your own backyard oasis.