Houston Outdoor Designer Shares 5 Creative Ideas from 2014
Houston outdoor designer Wayne Franks loves coming up with inventive solutions to design dilemmas.
“It’s about finding the perfect blend of function and aesthetics,” says Wayne, owner of the outdoor living space design company Outdoor Homescapes of Houston. “That’s why you need a professional outdoor space planner – someone with a design background – so these solutions can blend into the existing environment.”
Here, the Houston outdoor designer shares five such solutions from Outdoor Homescapes of Houston’s outdoor living design services.
Bathroom doubles as roof support
Although this outdoor bathroom didn’t end up in the final outdoor design, Wayne likes how this one also served as a support for the roof extension.
“This family wanted a streamlined design, but also a place where guests could quickly and privately use the bathroom or change in and out of swimwear,” explains the Houston backyard designer. “Since we were already supporting the roof with brick columns that matched the exterior of the house, it made sense to just widen one of these columns and turn it into a small room.”
Throwing a curve at outdoor design
“This outdoor kitchen island is unique because of the shape,” explains Wayne, who saw the need for such space-saving on other Houston outdoor designs. “We used a special galvanized steel track stud that’s fastened to the concrete. It’s segmented and pivots to follow the radius shape of the existing deck.”
A “skin” of HardiePanel (fiber cement siding, which can handle the high-heat of grills better than wood) was then put over top of the frame. This creates a cabinet for appliances and storage.
“The curve helps this kitchen meld into the outside border of the flagstone walkway, for optimal traffic flow,” says Wayne. “And I really love the look of the limestone. For a smaller kitchen, this outdoor design really shines with style.”
Beam me up!
“This was a creative way to answer the question: “Where do we put the flat-screen TV?” says Wayne, who’s been incorporating TVs and other outdoor audio-visual systems into Houston outdoor designs since 2004. “Since this was a freestanding cabana, hanging it on a wall was out of the question, and there was no fireplace or other high structure we could use.”
One of the high horizontal beams connecting two of the columns, however, offered the perfect sightline for those wanting to watch a game or movie from the opposite kitchen island or outdoor furniture grouping.
“I love this outdoor design idea – and plan to use it a lot more!” says Wayne.
Cold drinks – on the flip side
“Most outdoor kitchen islands have all the appliances and storage built into one side – the one facing the person providing the food for everyone else,” notes Wayne. “The way this outdoor kitchen was designed, that put the refrigerator on the side opposite the seating area, where the guests were.”
Building the outdoor refrigerator and wine cooler on the side next to the guests, explains the Houston outdoor designer, gives them easier access to a cold drink when they want one. This also frees up the person using the kitchen for cooking and socializing, since they don’t have to keep fetching drinks.
Kids and grownups - side by side
“The kids wanted an outdoor audio visual area to watch TV and movies,” explains Wayne. “The grownups wanted an outdoor kitchen, bar and grilling area where they could enjoy themselves while watching the kids. Both groups wanted a covered patio where they could hang out between dips in the pool.”
But there was very limited space between the house and the pool, and no room for anything in the side yards, either. The answer for this Houston outdoor living space design? A 40-foot-long, 11-foot deep roof extension off the back of the house. At one end of the covered patio below is a 12-foot by 8-foot outdoor living room with a custom audio-visual cabinet. At the other, an L-shaped, 8-foot-square outdoor kitchen island with a built-in grill, refrigerator and icemaker.
“By dividing this long, narrow area lengthwise into two different – yet integrated – components,” notes Wayne, “we were able to make the overall space less awkward while giving everyone what they wanted!”
Question: Which creative solution by this Houston outdoor designer do you like the most, and why? Post a comment, and let us know!
If you’d like to incorporate any of these features into your own outdoor design in Houston, just contact us, and we’ll get you started!
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