Mother Earth Living

Mother Nature’s Living Room

Outdoor rooms, porches, and pavilions let you come home again to the natural world. Let nature’s elements be your palette and sensory delight your touchstone.

A grape arbor-patio can provide a sheltering space in nature to enjoy a leisurely breakfast, a romantic dinner, or coffee with a friend.
Photo By Povy Kendal Atchison
River rock and wood-plank flooring create a rustic feel in this unscreened sleeping porch in Tucson, Arizona. Located off the home’s master bedroom and bath, it’s used for sleeping about six months out of the year.
Photo By Terrence Moore
Imagine sleeping outdoors in a nurturing nest like this bale (pronounced BAH-lay) and waking up to the whirring of hummingbird wings. In Point Reyes Station, California, James Stark and Penny Livingston-Stark don’t just dream about it—they do it.
Photo By Penny Livingston
As Michael Fitts and Jill Fredricksen of Denver know, an outdoor room can be a mini retreat— a personal space to cool off, relax, and rejuvenate right in your own back yard.
Photo By Povy Kendal Atchison
Brick walls and a periwinkle-blue faux picture window enclose an outdoor living space in the garden of this Tucson home.
Photo By Terrence Moore
Architect Ken Ronchetti designed an ultra-modern outdoor living room for this southern California home. A transparent fabric wall can be drawn across the opening of the space to protect it from flying insects.
Photos By Terrence Moore
Southwestern Native Americans build what the Spaniards called ramadas to extend their living spaces outside. The simple, elegant, open-air structures are constructed with native wood and use cut vines for privacy and wind protection. This ramada, in Tucson, provides shade and privacy for outdoor dining.
Photos By Terrence Moore
The first step in creating your outdoor room is to map out the gifts and challenges of your spot. Diagram the sun’s path, the wind directions (prevailing and storm), the best views, and any other features that you want to include or exclude. Then site and design your outdoor room to take advantage of nature’s bounty. This is an example of a site plan that showcases an ideal outdoor room.
Illustration by Gayle Ford

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