By Jennifer Walton
Creating an Inviting Four-Season Outdoor Space
The phrase “bringing the outside in” is a well-versed idea and statement that has flourished in architectural styles and interior designs over the last decade. Discovering and implementing those transitions from inside to outside have been greatly emphasized as proof that our busy lives benefit from living amongst our natural surroundings, including those precious few feet just on the other side of our four walls. Whether you’re gazing at the sunrise during a moment of reflection on a small yet intimate patio or submerged in a hot tub in a huge field staring at the night sky, being outside in nature is beneficial for a healthy lifestyle. And creating an outdoor space that flows as a natural extension of your home is preferred. Planning for that space, which could include a BBQ grill and a furnished dining area, or several designated outdoor areas for entertaining, cooking, swimming, and playing, is as important and necessary as the steps your architect, builder, and landscape/interior designers carried out for your main indoor living space. Just ask these professionals and they’ll agree that planning ahead is essential to the performance, longevity, and enjoyment in those outdoor areas, regardless of their size or your budget.
Meet these four experts who know how to plan, create, and execute outdoor spaces so you can start living outdoors in virtually any season with statement-making appliances, gorgeous furnishings, thoughtful landscape design, and state-of-the-art smart home innovations.
planning the perfect outdoor space
Scott Holmer is acutely aware that his clients spend as much time as possible outside because his successful business, Patio World, has been Central Oregon’s premier patio and outdoor furniture resource for over three decades. One of the largest showrooms in the state, Patio World offers luxury brand names such as Brown Jordan, Jensen Leisure, Tropitone, O.W. Lee, and Gloster. These hand-crafted collections use the highest quality materials and world-class artisans to create and enhance any outdoor living area.
However, what Holmer sees as an integral part of his business is emphasizing to his clients and their architects/builders the need to plan ahead for outdoor living. “I see it all the time. There are million-dollar-plus homes with all the bells and whistles, but they didn’t think ahead to their outdoor living needs and lifestyle from the onset. So, now they are forced to improvise and it’s frustrating. It’s helpful when the architect, builder, and landscape architect work together in unison to help the homeowner achieve maximum enjoyment in these spaces. Therefore, I urge the client to think about what he or she may want to have now or in the future.”
“I see it all the time. There are million-dollar- plus homes with all the bells and whistles, but they didn’t think ahead to their outdoor living needs and lifestyle from the onset.”
–Scott Holmer, Patio World
While stressing the importance of planning ahead to his clients, Holmer recognizes that outdoor rooms require ample space to function properly. “Outdoor furnishings once meant a few chairs around a table on the deck, or a picnic table and benches in the backyard. Dining tables have now grown to seat 10 to 12 people for those wishing to entertain many guests. I encourage folks to think about the desired view when choosing a rectangular table. If your space only allows the table to be placed parallel to the house, you will then force your guests on one side of the table to look at the side of the house. I prefer to place rectangular tables at a 90° angle to the house. This way, most of the guests will have a more spacious view. Make sure that you have the right amount of space to accommodate your furnishings. A basic 48” round dining table with four chairs will need a minimum of 10’ x 10’ area. Provide for the space needed by measuring the furniture layout and then add at least two to three feet on all sides for walk-around space,” states Holmer. This is just one of many considerations when deciding upon dining sets, lounge groups, cooking, and hot tubbing areas. Take time to consider that the array of furniture models that Patio World has on its floor is only a sample of the variety of styles available. There may be up to a dozen options for the color of the frames, as well as possibly hundreds of choices in cushion fabrics.
“powder coating is only a process, not a quality. An inexpensive powder coating might receive ‘one pass’ in its process. It’s very often quite thin, and you could easily scratch it with your fingernail. Our pieces are incredibly durable, scratch and chip resistant, and last a lifetime.”
–Scott Holmer, Patio World
Beyond a myriad of furniture details related to the size, function, color, and style, is the exposure to the elements. “An aspect of your outdoor lifestyle might require a roof over your head, which extends beyond what a simple umbrella can accomplish. You might want to consider a retractable awning for sun and rain,” suggests Holmer. “I remember one of my customers said, ‘That dining set costs as much as what’s inside my house!’ I said, ‘Sure, so why don’t you take that dining set that’s inside the house and put it outside in your backyard for a couple of months and then tell me how it works out!” The fact is exposure to the sun, rain, and often sleet and snow can damage a box store version of a lounge chair in much less time than one thinks. “My clients may see a powder-coated piece and think it is fine. But powder coating is only a process, not a quality. An inexpensive powder coating might receive ‘one pass’ in its process. It’s very often quite thin, and you could easily scratch it with your fingernail. The pieces at Patio World are incredibly durable, scratch and chip resistant, and last a lifetime.”
When furnishing your outdoor space becomes an afterthought, that’s when your budget is affected by overages. Plan exclusively for these spaces, and no one gets surprised. Something else to think about is the amount of seasonal time that you spend outside. Holmer offers these words of experience: “People consider the summer as Memorial Day to Labor Day, but in reality, we have a month on either side. We offer an early bird special for those who order before the first week of May. March is a big month for Patio World because folks who plan ahead receive their outdoor furniture by the first week of May. We love when our customers start enjoying their outdoor rooms at the beginning of the season.”
JOHNSON BROTHERS APPLIANCES
three generations of putting the customer first
What are your goals? Is this a retirement home? Will you be hosting the grandkids? Or is this a rental? How do you see yourself using the space?” These are some of the first questions Dave Johnson, a third-generation owner of Johnson Brothers Appliances, asks his customers. “I treat each customer according to their situation and want to work with them to help refine their choices within their budget. We have product categories that can fit the needs of those in their starter home and those who want high-end options. And we curate the lines that we carry for that reason. Working with our customers to find out what their priorities are…that’s what we get excited about.”
Johnson has seen his share of history in Bend, with the town’s expanding population and his customers’ requests. “We’ve seen a change in the last year or two with the variety of products that people are looking at. In years past, a typical focus or experience might be an outdoor island with a gas grill and maybe a sink or refrigerator. But because there has been a significant expansion in the offerings from manufacturers, our customers are purchasing a wider variety of products. Basically, everything you would have in your inside kitchen, you now have in your outside kitchen.” Those offerings could include multiple refrigeration units, pizza ovens, ventilation, and compactors, just to name a few.
Defining your outdoor lifestyle is fundamental in the early planning stages. It is best to determine if you’ll be entertaining for large events and might require spaces that allow for formal seated dining or if you’re more apt to host casual dinner parties and happy hours. Perhaps you want to demonstrate your grilling prowess or bartending skills to your family, friends, or business associates. Either will necessitate deciding upon fuel sources (gas or electric), plumbing (for sinks and refrigeration), and where those will be located.
“We have product categories that can fit the needs of those in their starter home and those who want high-end options. And we curate the lines that we carry for that reason.”
–Dave Johnson, Johnson Brothers Appliances
If you’re one who wants a full-size professional grill, then is it built-in or freestanding? Which fuel source do you prefer for grilling or smoking? “Another trend we’ve encountered is a variety of fuel sources. Some folks want two or three cooking method options in their outdoor space. Maybe it’s a gas grill head or wood pellet or egg-style ceramic,” Johnson states. Fortunately, Johnson Brothers Appliances has partnerships with vendors that can design and construct pre-fabrications for those built-in appliances offsite and then palletize and ship them to the outdoor area where they can be assembled. Often, these pre-fab options are more economical without the cost of building custom.
But the story here and what has captured our imaginations with outdoor living spaces is the desire to replicate or invent any style of entertaining environment with the plethora of products that are readily available. Take the Hestan Outdoor Kitchen. Johnson Brothers Appliances carries this stunning, thoroughly engineered, exquisitely designed product. With this incredibly functional suite that includes a powerful grill partnered with refrigeration, wine storage, pantries, doors, drawers, and trash chutes, there’s a good chance your free time could be spent married to this brightly colored beauty, perfecting your grilling skills.
“We’ve noticed our customers introducing color. They want something fun and accessible,” claims Johnson. “The full spectrum of our product selection allows us to use our expertise in taking care of our customers. We are not in it just to make a sale, we want to create a customer for life.” Johnson Brothers Appliances is noted for having built roots in the community. Their exceptional service includes in-depth product knowledge and a showroom with the largest inventory of major brands in Central Oregon.
Taking the time to understand your wants, needs, and options is vital to creating an exceptional and comfortable outdoor kitchen and dining area that can be used during any season. Johnson knows that the process is prioritizing what areas, each with their own function and purpose, will be part of your “outdoor” life and then helping you find the ideal appliances and accessories to complement and add value to your home’s “other rooms.” As one of four owners, Johnson remains committed to his family and business, reflecting a gratitude towards community. “We seek to do everything with respect, integrity, and excellence. We think you’ll find us to be a little different, a little better than the average appliance store.”
“Another trend we’ve encountered is a variety of fuel sources. Some folks want two or three cooking method options in their outdoor space. Maybe it’s a gas grill head or wood pellet or egg-style ceramic.”
–Dave Johnson, Johnson Brothers Appliances
Omega Media Solutions
Get Smart Inside and Outside
Omega Media Solutions designs and implements the most sophisticated smart home and commercial automation in residences and businesses in Central Oregon and beyond. For more than a decade, Matt Haferkamp and his team have transformed indoor and outdoor environments by personalizing these spaces for clients, which can include audio visual systems (TVs, home theaters, speakers), window shades, interior and exterior lighting, and outdoor landscaping essentials.
What inspires Haferkamp in his quest to exceed his clients’ expectations is a genuine excitement about architecture, technology, and placing extraordinary emphasis on simplicity and reliability. And, of course, attention to detail. “We listen carefully to your needs and how you live in your home and we convert your issues into solutions. Getting to know you helps us design a system that increases your enjoyment of your home and makes it easier to live there. We plan ahead and recommend the ideal brands and products for the project so that when the latest technology comes out in two years, you have options to incorporate it into your system without headaches.”
How we live in our outdoor spaces has changed dramatically in the last decade. Top priorities include controlling music systems and outdoor lighting, safety and security, and heating, cooling, and irrigating. Imagine a system that can adjust your music’s volume, control the solar shades, turn on the outdoor heaters, turn off exterior lighting, water the lawn, and check whether a front door delivery has been made. Now imagine if you had the option to control that system via a wall touch screen or your smart phone.
“We’re going to think about you and discover how you live, what’s important to you, and focus on making it easy, neat, and clean. Our clients look to us as the experts. When we meet with them, we understand when they say, ‘I want audio throughout my home, but I don’t want to see the speakers, or when I’m barbequing and can’t keep my eyes on the kids, I want a sensor on the pool that tells me if the cover is open.’” These personal preferences define the options available to the homeowner. For instance, if a priority is being surrounded by music, then that “includes taking into account whether or not you need a subwoofer, the degree to which your speakers are visible, and extra features like rock speakers that blend in with your landscaping.” Omega Media Solutions’ attention to detail extends to solving issues for speaker configurations that consider the proximity of your neighbors, the volume and bass required for a great sound, and which parts of your outdoor space you’d like sound in.
“Technology can be very complicated and what we want our clients to know is that at Omega Media Solutions we custom tailor every system for each client so that it is part of their life and lifestyle.”
–Matt Haferkamp, Omega Media Solutions
After Haferkamp consults with the homeowner and builder, he recommends brands and products. Recently, he has noticed the trend in outdoor spaces for outdoor-rated ultra-bright TVs. These fully waterproof high-definition televisions, which compensate for the sun’s brightness with an anti-glare surface, are making their mark in our outdoor living rooms. Resistant to humidity, sea salt, insects, dust, rust, and extreme cold or heat, barbequing while watching a game is completely possible!
As for the interior of the home, many of Haferkamp’s clients have recently expressed their requests for large televisions in their living rooms, however they prefer that the TV is not the focal point of the space. He sourced the Samsung Frame TV, which is designed with a “snap-on” bezel picture frame in white, black, or walnut to complement the home’s decor. In “art” mode, the TV rotates through digital art (think collections from Renfro to Rembrandt), providing a stunning curation (you choose) of art that can be changed to suit the season and mood of the home and its owner. With a monthly subscription (just $5.00) and unlimited amounts of art from which to choose, that living room is now an art gallery. Bonus: It senses when there is no one watching TV and reverts back to art mode. And, when 10-20 minutes have passed, it automatically becomes an energy-efficient device and turns itself off. Available in 43”, 55”, and 65”, this is a 4K HDR TV “that adds premium style and design, and boasts a crisp, clear picture, and transforms to elevate the style of any room.”
Much like the surprise folks receive on HGTV or Property Brothers when they walk into their homes and realize everything “works” or “resembles a work of art,” Haferkamp loves seeing his clients’ reactions and hearing, “Oh my gosh, I just tried it for the first time and this is awesome.” As he says, “Technology can be very complicated and what we want our clients to know is that at Omega Media Solutions we custom tailor every system for each client so that it is part of their life and lifestyle.”
“We plan ahead and recommend the ideal brands and products for the project so that when the latest technology comes out in two years, you have options to incorporate it into your system without headaches.”
–Matt Haferkamp, Omega Media Solutions
Earth Designs Landscaping
One with Nature
Award-winning Earth Designs Landscaping knows the high desert. For founder, owner, and landscape designer Kevin Zachary of Earth Designs Landscaping and Outdoor Living, a long-held passion for the outdoor environment and its beauty continues to drive his 40-year dedication to Central Oregon and its native high desert surroundings. For Zachary, developing, designing, and connecting interior and exterior spaces to create an enhanced picture of nature come naturally.
Zachary believes, “First and foremost, a well-designed landscape is always number one when establishing an outdoor environment experience. This design portion, when executed properly, facilitates a useable outdoor space that blends into our native high desert.” To achieve this, Zachary focuses on the uses of these spaces by understanding his clients’ lifestyles. Incorporating color, form, and texture, and fusing structure with scenery, he primarily uses basalt mossy boulders, sagebrush, rabbitbrush, and native grasses to juxtapose water features, fireplaces, walls, fences, and pools. Selecting boulders and grasses that complement and add drama to the lush desert landscape helps to frame views and transition zones from the home to its outdoor spaces.
By defining the site with its orientations and seasonal microclimates, Zachary accomplishes this with a well-founded respect for nature. “I see a continuing trend for 2019 that started approximately 15 years ago. It is the preservation and enhancement of the Central Oregon native landscape. In many of the neighborhoods where new homes are being built, it is a requirement. In fact, they cordon off areas to protect the landscape from the excavation process.” Zachary adds, “And, for those of us who have lived in Central Oregon most of our lives, we’ve realized there is beauty in the desert. We kind of took it for granted and some of the newcomers to the area said, ‘It’s beautiful, let’s preserve it,’ and that’s been the direction, which is great since it saves our precious water resources.” And that consideration for water is more than a sustainability trend. “Suddenly everyone realized water is not unending and there’s a limited amount. Native landscapes use far less water than just planting grass. Lawns are the most water-intensive landscape and they certainly have been reduced in size. ”Sustainable gardens have become an important factor in any project and environmental responsibility is paramount to all landscape design. Promoting plants that support water use and nature is both an economic and aesthetic decision.
Speaking of water, Zachary’s use of water is partially responsible for his reputation. “It’s what we are known for. One of our signatures is recreating a mountain stream and waterfalls using native basalt boulders. We’ve designed bridges with waterfalls for a striking entry into a property and also solved noise issues by creating water features that eliminate the sounds from a nearby road. Ponds and fountains and the gardens they inhabit are places to reflect and they harmonize well by displaying the property’s abundant and diverse elements. “In the high desert, it’s nice to have water…water sight and water sound, especially in the summer when it’s typically drier.”
“a well-designed landscape is always number one when establishing an outdoor environment experience. This design portion, when executed properly, facilitates a useable outdoor space that blends into our native high desert.”
–Kevin Zachary, Earth Designs Landscaping
While creating outdoor “rooms,” which can be for entertaining, recreating, or meditating, Zachary focuses on highlighting comfort and function while remaining true to the home and its landscape. Ample seating around a fire pit is as important as an inviting dining area with close access to an outdoor kitchen, barbeque, refrigerator, and sink. Recognizing the importance of placement and flow, Zachary approaches the design with a keen sense of the practical and necessary when planning the layout for counter space, prep space, storage, and cabinets so that regardless of the area’s size, it conveys the owner’s lifestyle and a sense of place. Taking pride in quality, design, implementation, and long-term care in those designated spaces and their adjacent environments is what characterizes a property’s distinct feeling.
Earth Designs Landscaping and Outdoor Living has been honored with 25 first-place awards from the COBA (Central Oregon Builders Association) Tour of Homes. Zachary points out that his 25-year collaboration with Mt. Bachelor Design Studios, Howard Spector, Valorie Lukins at Lukins Landscape Designs, and Jim Yozamp at Pacwest Builders have made his landscape design journey far better than he could have imagined. “I’ve been doing this for nearly 40 years. Obviously, it’s a passion of mine or else I wouldn’t have stuck with it. It was a humble beginning and little did I know where it would take me.”
“I’ve been doing this for nearly 40 years. Obviously, it’s a passion of mine or else I wouldn’t have stuck with it. It was a humble beginning and little did I know where it would take me.”
–Kevin Zachary, Earth Designs Landscaping