en plein air

Homes with outdoor living spaces mark the real estate landscape in LA

Written by Jenn Thornton | Photos Courtesy of Molly Wood Garden Design

Among the spoils of SoCal homeownership is living alfresco amid] lusted-after landscapes and reliable climes. So enticing is the prospect of outdoor living with indoor amenities (sumptuous décor, state-of-the-art tech), homebuyers are exploring all open-air possibilities, from large-scale outdoor living rooms fit for an entire family to flagstoned grass patios for one.

Traditionally, a home’s exterior paled in significance to its interior, despite the fact that environment has always influenced significant architecture. Today they argue for equal footing, with the line between indoors and out being all but imperceptible thanks to common architectural installments like sliding floor-to-ceiling glass windows. Increasingly, homeowners are transforming unused, or underutilized, exterior spaces to accommodate the hallmarks of modern dwelling, while rooftop, courtyard and quad buyers are in the market for space to entertain.



A nicely appointed portico, a sun-sheltering pergola or a pool with a  shady resting space makes outdoor living easy, and landscape design is crucial to the equation. Aesthetically, curb appeal counts, but not at the expense of practicality. “With real estate the price it is, why not use every square inch?” asks landscape designer Molly Wood, of Costa Mesa-based Molly Wood Garden Design. “When you improve your outdoor space, oftentimes you can double the areas of use on your property.” Maximizing space means maximizing the home’s impact, especially on buyers prepared to pay top dollar for a home featuring premium outdoor space.

Whether an outdoor space calls for a sky’s-the-limit scheme with misters, draperies and radiant lighting complementing cutting-edge kitchens and Renaissance-esque water features, or a simple yet beautiful design with pots, planters and a bar cart, one can always find room for function. A rotunda sounds grand, but is it practical? Is a cook’s station necessary when a standard grill will suffice? Perhaps, but it’s best to consider all options. Then by all means, take it outside!

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