Organic Outdoor Terrace

Landscape Architect: Curbs Studio
Photographer: Sabine Nordberg

Coherently combining different materials, when done correctly, undeniably works. At this residence, Curbs Studio used a combination of wood, stone and resin bound pea stone, each having a unique color and texture, to create more intentional places for the homeowners to enjoy their backyard. The overarching goal of this design was to create a natural feeling space that connects the existing screened-in, contemporary styled porch to an outdoor lounge and fireplace area while also maintaining views out into the backyard.

To break up the straight lines of the existing architecture, the proposed terraces are free form and curving. Stepping down from the porch leads to a small transitional zone complete with two wood-like concrete steps for a unique detail which reminds us of railroad ties used in traditional landscapes. Continuing to the main terrace the warm and cool colors of the wood and stone complement each other, creating a relaxing space with unobstructed views leading out to a nearby lake. Matching wood was also used for the skirt of the existing porch, making a visual connection between these two features. Two planting beds sandwich this terrace and through the use of a solar pathfinder, it was observed that the planting bed against the porch received significantly more sunlight than the bed along the front of this terrace despite only being fifteen feet apart. This information heavily influenced what plants were selected for these two beds. A major focal point of this design, the wood burning fire pit, takes the edge off of cool nights and is an intimate place for people to gather. The lower terrace is paved with resin bound pea stone making this a tidy, durable space while also retaining its permeability. The space is retained by three monolithic steps that blend the change in topography between the upper terrace and this lower fire pit area.