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How to Design Efficient Outdoor Rooms

When designing outdoor living spaces, consider these basic questions.

| July/August 2004

When designing outdoor rooms for human comfort, it’s helpful to break things down to essentials: What weather conditions do you want protection from, and what are the most enjoyable, effective, minimal ways to provide that protection? The following list will help organize your approach.

Need protection from sun?
Solid roof, fabric roof, lath house, tree, trellis with vine or shade cloth

From rain?
Solid roof, fabric roof, or trellis with solid vine cover

From wind?
Glass wall, solid wall, openwork, trellis with vine



From heat?
Shaded thermal mass (stone, concrete, masonry). A fountain, wet surfaces, or a water feature positioned downwind from breeze and upwind from you

From cold?
Fireplace, thermal mass exposed to sun



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