By Stephanie Dennee
With endless recreational opportunities and enviable vistas at every turn, living in the Mountain West means living outside. Our homes’ outdoor living spaces should reflect this ideal. So gone are the days of creaky screen doors that lead to inefficient areas used only a handful of times a year. Creating an outdoor space that becomes a four-season extension of your home starts with careful consideration of your lifestyle: how you cook, entertain, relax, and play. With the mountain lifestyle in mind, Western Home Journal spotlights products and dedicated design professionals to maximize the potential of your outdoor living space, transforming it into your favorite room.
Immerse Yourself in Custom Design
Beyond providing space for relaxation and entertainment, an outdoor area should interact with and improve the natural setting, bridging indoor spaces to the land. Water is a natural source of inspiration for this transitional space, and the benefits of hydrotherapy have been touted since the Romans built their first heated tubs in Bath, England, some 2,000 years ago. The addition of a spa or pool to your outdoor area has the potential to serve the dual purpose of providing the health benefits of a nightly soak while visually enhancing an outdoor space.
Recognizing the need for home spas and pools to be elevated beyond the utilitarian into the artful, Denver-based Diamond Spas has been fabricating 100% custom stainless steel or copper spas, pools, glass-walled pools and spas, swim spas, cold therapy pools, and water features for over 20 years. The award-winning company has transformed the design potential for luxury outdoor aquatic vessels and customizes the design process to fit a client’s every desire. Stephanie Bennett, president of Diamond Spas, explains, “We personalize each of our clients’ pool and spa experiences. Everything from shape, size, and seating arrangements, to water features, vanishing edges, and chromotherapy are possible. The options are endless.”
“We personalize each of our clients’ pool and spa experiences. Everything from shape, size, and seating arrangements; to water features, vanishing edges, and chromotherapy are possible. The options are endless.”
–Stephanie Bennett, President, Diamond Spas
Before diving into the myriad of options available in a custom spa or pool, thoughtful site planning is critical. Diamond Spas works with talented architects, builders, and landscape professionals across the region, coordinating pool and spa designs that complement the natural and architectural elements they adjoin. For a recent project, Heath Kuzsak, principal at Agrostis Inc., a landscape architecture firm based out of Jackson Hole, partnered with Diamond Spas to create a custom patio spa for a lush, creekside property. He explains how, early on in the project, they were able to hone in on important specifics with their client and Diamond Spas. “When developing a custom spa plan, we can drill down into the details with our clients—how many people will use it, whether it’s intended for entertaining or a private setting, where jets should be placed, filtration options, and even accounting for how tall the client is to make sure seat depths fit their frames.”
For a creekside Jackson Hole project, it was essential to have a spa that sat in line with the terrace. Heath recalls, “The clients wanted easy access in and out of their spa from ground level. Setting it flush with the patio also ensured that the view of the spectacular property beyond wasn’t blocked from any position. The stainless steel construction that Diamond Spas specializes in adds a refined element that complements and enriches the overall landscape design.”
Diamond Spas is at the forefront of metal spa fabrication, working in either the sleek styling of stainless steel or the Old World charm of copper—both offer clients a range of looks to fit their home design. The visual appeal of metal is just one benefit, explains Stephanie. “Stainless steel and copper blend harmoniously with common landscaping materials. Both metals are also highly durable. They will never crack, fade, or blister like traditional pool and spa construction materials. Our metal vessel shells are fabricated with the strength and precision of TIG welding, making them leak-tight and long-lasting.”
Stephanie says that once the basics of site considerations, seating preferences, and metal selections are determined, opportunities are limitless to transform a spa or pool into a patio or backyard showpiece. Among the features frequently integrated into their spa design are specialty water features or waterfalls, as well as web-based temperature, jet, and light controls. She also believes the trend of glass or acrylic panels that she’s seen in the last decade will continue to rise. “Acrylic or glass side and floor panels, set within a stainless steel or copper frame, are something we currently build a lot of with fantastic results. Clear panels bring tremendous transparency and light into the aquatic world.”
From the design phase, the Diamond Spas team of engineers, welders, plumbers, finishers, and polishers fabricate the entire spa or pool from their Denver-area manufacturing facility before shipping it anywhere in the world.
The balance of durability and design are key components in any outdoor aquatic setting. Through the use of stainless steel or copper, Diamond Spas strikes that balance. “We create functional works of art at Diamond Spas. Each is 100% unique,” says Stephanie. “Our clients come to us with amazing visions. We turn those visions into reality.”
“We create functional works of art at Diamond Spas. Each is 100% unique. Our clients come to us with amazing visions. We turn those visions into reality.”
–Stephanie Bennett, President, Diamond Spas
Kenyon Noble Lumber & Hardware
Extend Your Kitchen Outside
Lumbermen Squire Kenyon and Tom Noble, in the late 19th century, saw a need for quality building products in a rapidly expanding Bozeman. They opened the first lumber and hardware store in Gallatin Valley and, ever since, Kenyon Noble has been a family-owned, community-minded source for professional contractors and weekend home improvement warriors alike. Knowledgeable passion is the standard they bring to all their products, from their ready-mix down to the tomatoes they stock each spring in their greenhouses.
Troy Heusel, Assistant Manager of the Kenyon Noble Bozeman location, takes that knowledge and passion to new heights in the grill section. He knows the power of good food, having spent years as a professional cook, and is quick to point out that Kenyon Noble isn’t merely a home improvement store that sells grills. Instead, they’re determined to get the Bozeman community hooked on outdoor cooking and extending their kitchens to the outside year-round. They see an opportunity to create a community around the grill.
Stroll through the Oak Street location on a typical Saturday, and you’re likely to find either Troy or his fellow grill aficionado, Bernie delValle, ready and willing to talk grills and smokers. They’ll probably be cooking on the job while they’re at it, sharing both delicious samples and their years of experience. “Troy and I are both prolific cooks. I have more photos of food on my phone than anything else,” says Bernie. “It’s a lifestyle for us, and one we want to share.” They lead a hands-on tour through the expansive grill and smoker section of Kenyon Noble—well over 40 models of grills, smokers, even outdoor pizza ovens. A chat with them about grills is equal parts exuberant show-and-tell and a dip into their deep well of grilling knowledge.
“Troy and I are both prolific cooks. I have more photos of food on my phone than anything else. It’s a lifestyle for us, and one we want to share.”
–Bernie delValle, Grill Aficionado, Kenyon Noble Lumber & Hardware
Finding a Match
Kenyon Noble carries many styles of grills and smokers—from portable, tailgate-ready varieties to four-season patio all-stars with quick sear stations and app-controlled temperature. They all have a couple of things in common, though. They are ‘lifetime grills,’ tested to perform for years, and they all conserve heat, making them a year-round extension of the kitchen. “In Montana, there’s a perception that grilling is only for summer,” says Bernie. “Once you’ve opened yourself up to the capabilities of your grill, the possibilities are endless. If it can be done in your oven, it can be done on the grill, and you really haven’t lived until you’ve had smoked apple pie.”
With so many models to choose from, the aspirational griller could become a little dazed. For Troy, one simple question helps focus the field. “It all starts with, ‘What do you like to cook?’” he says. From there, both he and Bernie have been known to spend over an hour with customers, pairing them with the best equipment for their price point and showing them everything they can accomplish with it. “Our customers don’t just walk away with a grill; they walk away with resources, even their first recipe from us.”
To some extent, the layout of an outdoor space should be taken into account when choosing a grill. Determining the area allotted for the grill with particular attention to its relation to the kitchen helps ensure easy access and more use. Troy feels that the type of outdoor space a person has is less important than what they want to do with their equipment. He says, “We carry multiple brands, each with different key features to keep in mind. So, within a person’s budget and space, and depending upon what they want to cook, we’ve got a match.”
“It all starts with, ‘What do you like to cook?’ Our customers don’t just walk away with a grill; they walk away with resources, even their first recipe from us.”
–Troy Heusel, Assistant Manager & Grill Aficionado, Kenyon Noble Lumber & Hardware
Igniting Passion for Outdoor Cooking
The sale of that grill or smoker is just the start for Kenyon Noble. Their enthusiasm for grilling has naturally created a little gravity—customers coming back to the store to show off their own grill photos or talk spice blends with Troy. Recognizing this kinship, they’ve created a series of specialty classes and events dedicated to grilling throughout this spring and summer.
“Montana is known for our tremendous meat, but not so much for barbecue. We want to change that, so hosting a competitive barbecue event has long been our goal,” says Bernie. In 2017, Kenyon Noble achieved that goal, hosting the first annual Montana Pitmaster Classic. Troy and Bernie, under the guidance of barbecue icon Malcom Reed, trained with Corey Linton in Kansas, then brought in dozens of grill aces from around the country to compete. The event drew thousands of hungry taste-testers and raised over $7,000 for the local YMCA.
This summer, the Pitmaster Classic will be outside the Oak Street Kenyon Noble again, on August 23rd and 24th. Troy, Bernie, and the entire grill-loving crew of Kenyon Noble will be there, ready to feed an appetite for great barbecue and transform outdoor spaces through the right grill.
KEY FEATURES OF KENYON NOBLE GRILL BRANDS
WEBER:A wide range of sizes, options, and on-trend colors. Choose a classic charcoal kettle, a go-anywhere style for adventures, or an advanced grill center with side burners and integrated storage.
NAPOLEON:Sleek, contemporary styling makes this grill line a patio center-piece and models with side sear stations can manage multiple items requiring different temperatures at the same time.
BIG GREEN EGG:Influenced by ancient Chinese design, tightly-sealed ceramic construction controls temperature and cooks from all sides instead of a single heat source underneath, locking in moisture and flavor.
TRAEGER:Think of it as an outdoor crock pot with endless opportunities and a serious cult following. Set the temperature, walk away, and come back to flavorful food and tender meats.
Original location of Kenyon Noble Lumber & Hardware near Main and Grand in Bozeman, 1889.
Landscape Architecture by DHM Design
Create a Meaningful Space
Connecting lifestyle to environment is the soul of an outdoor space. Design, functionality, and seamless transition from home to land are the cornerstones in achieving that successful connection. With 21 years of experience, Geoff Hammond, owner of Solstice Landscaping, a full-service landscape design company, has created award-winning landscapes across the region. The firm’s aim is to produce lasting outdoor living areas and landscapes that connect clients to their land. “Every property is unique and most clients have certain ideas they’d like to have created by their landscape contractor. That’s where we come in—our ultimate goal is to bridge the two and create a landscape that is functional, fun, and unique.”
The adage “build it and they will come” proves true when crafting outdoor living spaces for family, friends, and neighbors to enjoy. “Creating well-defined, purposeful spaces in outdoor areas invites homeowners to move their life beyond their homes’ walls,” explains Errol Schumann, lead designer and operations manager for Solstice Landscaping. “Generally, we start outdoor living design with hardscape—delineating the space, mindful of scale and intention. We ask clients, ‘Is this space for entertaining? For cooking? For many or a few?’ Then, we listen; that’s perhaps the most important thing we do. From there, we integrate lighting elements, fireplaces, or fire pits to center the action, and balance hardscape with softscape materials, so spaces can add year-round value to the view from within the home.”
“The design process should always culminate in a detailed site or landscape plan for all the outdoor components, including all hard and soft materials, plant sizes and quantities, irrigation specifications, and additional landscape notes,” says Geoff. “Good installation starts with good design. Time and energy invested in a detailed site plan early on is the key to success, saving money and headaches down the line.”
Maximizing the natural setting is also at the core of what Solstice Landscaping achieves. They work in a variety of settings, from high-density, in-town homes, to ranches surrounded by acres of swaying grass, to rugged high-mountain retreats. Each place brings specific landscape considerations. “The natural elements of the property lend themselves to certain design approaches. A ranch home will likely have native plantings, rustic elements, and natural lines throughout so as to mimic its surroundings. A mountain home with a steep grade will benefit from terracing with stonework, plantings, and native seeding to blend aesthetic with structural elements into the landscaping. An urban setting tends to focus on making the most of limited space, while nodding toward the specific style of the home’s architecture, whether contemporary or craftsman” explains Geoff.
“Good installation starts with good design. Time and energy invested in a detailed site plan early on is the key to success, saving money and headaches down the line.”
–Geoff Hammond, Owner, Solstice Landscaping
Each setting also comes with the challenges of our region—short growing seasons, extreme climate, and foraging animals. The 70+ years of combined landscape experience on the Solstice team means that they are able to meet these challenges with a full toolkit of knowledge for everything from climate-hardy plants to water-wise irrigation practices for our region.
Geoff and Errol say that no extraordinary landscape design is a solo effort. They consider Solstice a part of a team that starts with the client and extends through a range of talented professionals and their team of skilled installers. “We work with incredible residential architects and builders, as well as the best landscape architects in the region. Taking cues from their design is key in creating transition from indoor spaces to outside living,” says Errol while describing a recent project, where the kitchen opened to the main outdoor living area. Solstice was able to match the style and scale chosen for the home’s indoor kitchen tiles to the concrete pavers they placed outside. The thoughtful material coordination creates the sense of a single, unified space that spills from inside to the outdoors. “The collaboration isn’t just done on paper,” Errol adds. “It evolves in the field. As projects take shape, new challenges or opportunities emerge for the landscape. We work as a team with the homeowner, our suppliers, and building professionals to find collaborative solutions.”
Solstice Landscaping’s ultimate goal is to have a positive lasting impact and to enrich a homeowner’s life long after the day when the Solstice team packs up their tools. As Geoff says, “We want to see the landscapes we create achieve long-term success. So when a job’s completed it’s common for us to provide the owner with a knowledge of ‘best practices’ for successful on-going upkeep. Additionally, we have a maintenance division that can care for the landscape into the future.”
“We want to see the landscapes we create achieve long-term success, so when a job’s completed it’s common for us to provide the ownder with a knowledge of ‘best practices’ for successful on-going upkeep. Additionally, we have a maintenance division that can care for the landscape into the future.”
–Geoff Hammond, Owner, Solstice Landscaping