What better way to relax a home and the soul than to welcome the outdoors in? In a world that seems to move faster every day, fostering a strong indoor-outdoor connection is one way to take a deep breath.  Living inside and out in an antidote to stress. (Country French/Fall Winter 2012 – Meredith Specials Magazine)

In Southern California it’s pretty easy, most of the year, to transition between outdoors and in with outdoor patio/porch space, courtyard, or atrium.  Weather makes it not only desirable but doable as well.

I believe the trend toward making the outdoor space around our houses resemble and live like a room that you could expect to see inside a home, has hit the nation over the past 10 or 15 years, so it’s easy to get the materials and furnishings that make outdoor living a luxury most can afford.

I know spring has probably arrived for all of us by now (she was a little reluctant coming to the dance this year)!  So, I am offering some outdoor living spaces where we can entertain friends, wind down after a long work week, sip something…

1-5th and state 3.24.13{5th and State}

2-CIMG15693-KB blue white gdn stoolOur backyard area under the trees (above)—we created this space because the trees offer shade pretty much all day long and it’s the coolest spot to sit on a hot day, besides, the grass needed more sun to thrive in this spot, the pea gravel never complains.  We used pea gravel in place of concrete, it’s very comfortable to walk on and was a lot less money than concrete.

If money were no object…

4-andrew skurman assoc. SF architect{Andrew Skurman Associates, architect)

My friend Cayley has one of the best courtyards.  It’s protected from wind on all sides and they have a beautiful fireplace and fountain to provide extra comfort and a relaxing vibe…

CJM Outdoor fireplacecourtyard fountain

This is our atrium (below) taken this spring.

outdoor roomangel planter atriumoutdoor wicker, atrium6-courtyard haus design 1.23.13{source}

9-haus design 1.23.13{source}

10-haus design{source}

8-foutain in a courtyard 1.23.13 haus design7-easton511-S&K patio{Kevin (son #2) and Sarah (DIL) bought a house that had this space (above) in place when they moved in, there are a couple of large Alder trees that provide shade and it’s always relaxing to sit there and visit.  Sarah always has a bouquet of fresh flowers on the table, added ambiance and charm!

12-mark d sikes hollywood hills garden patio brick topiaries blue white garden stools cococozy{Mark D. Sikes}

I love the star pendant lights on this porch (below).


This barely qualifies as outdoors.  Still, I love the fireplace and the high, beamed ceiling.  It would be fun to sit in this outdoor room rain or shine.

14-outdoor-stone-hearth-lsa{Amelia Handegan via Southern Accents (some years ago)…thanks, Kelly}

My favorite outdoor room, the porch that Meryl Streep sat on in the movie Out of Africa.  I don’t think this porch was actually in Africa, but it’s beautiful with its bead board ceiling and the ceiling fan and shutters.

15-outdoor-green-shutters-l out of africa-SA{Hooked on Houses}

As the British would say (if you’re still waiting for Spring’s arrival), stiff upper lip old girl, it will show up eventually.

Linking to:  Savvy Southern Style & StoneGable & Art @ Home