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The Great Outdoors

As spring temperatures beckon us outside, be sure to make the move as stylishly as possible. Here, the trends, products and some inspirational projects to help create a thoroughly modern and stunning alfresco mecca for your home.

IN THE SWIM This L.A. abode’s serene pool is surrounded by plush outdoor furniture.

Though architect Michael Rachlin purchased his 1950s ranch house in the Beverlywood neighborhood of Los Angeles some 20 years ago, he only recently completed a major renovation—one that stretched well beyond the home’s walls. Working with Brad Biben of L.A. Design Associates Inc., a firm with which Rachlin Partners frequently collaborates on large-scale public projects, the duo created a series of well-defined outdoor living areas. “The front patio is very nice for breakfast and early mornings as it faces south and has a wonderful view of the adjacent golf course,” explains Rachlin, “while the fire pit deck is ideal for an evening glass of wine or for more intimate groups.” The fire pit has also proved to be the perfect place to make s’mores—something the architect loves to do with his daughters. “Finally,” he continues, “the pool, spa and larger deck with two Philippe Starck outdoor sofas and a bar makes an excellent space for entertaining.” Despite being close to Beverly Hills and Century City, the house now feels remarkably tucked away—and even further hidden by the mature pepper trees that first attracted Rachlin to the home. “I enjoy all of the outdoor spaces as an extension of the house,” he adds. “They’ve created a wonderful indoor-outdoor relationship.” 8640 National Blvd., Culver City, 310.204.3400

The brand-new California Collection from Suzanne Tucker for Michael Taylor Designs brings the renowned San Francisco-based decorator’s refined style to a sweeping array of sturdy, easy-care outdoor fabrics in a range of patterns inspired by Taylor’s design aesthetic. With names like Summerland, Yosemite and Monterey, expect fittingly evocative looks. From $85, 135 Rhode Island St., San Francisco, 415.934.9400; 8687 Melrose Ave., Ste. B542, L.A., 310.360.8118

What are you seeing as the major trends in outdoor decor?

“I teach, consult and design climate-appropriate gardens that not only save water but attract pollinators. Clients today want to do the right thing—from lawn removal to choosing plants that don’t stress the environment, like California natives. It’s a growing trend to learn about the plants they choose and the importance they play in our climate.“ Mike Brown, Green Garden Guy, L.A., 310.248.0355

In honor of its 70th anniversary this year, luxury outdoor furniture company Brown Jordan is introducing an updated edition of its iconic Kantan collection. Ranging from ottomans ($195) and rockers ($395) to dining tables ($545) and adjustable chaises ($1,195), the line is now available with mix-and-match frame finishes and 12 vivid colors of its signature woven vinyl lace. 3323 Hyland Ave., Costa Mesa, 949.760.6900

For its latest collection of luxury teak furniture, Summit turned to Modesto-based designer Conrad Sanchez. The line, called Krios, includes a lounge chair, a chaise and a three-piece coffee table—and putting two chaises side-by-side creates the ultimate daybed. Generous proportions and deep cushions offer the plush comfort for which Summit is known, combined with a sophisticated new style that’s at once hip and grown-up. From $3,340, 831.375.7811

Designed by Matteo Bazzicalupo for Italian firm Avant*Garde, the new Om Sound System is the first-ever wireless outdoor audio-lighting device of its kind. The design uses Bluetooth 3.0 and radio technology along with LED lighting, yet it’s completely weather-resistant. The easily portable unit comes in a variety of custom colors and finishes: The look can be clean and modern with a glossy exterior or more industrial with textured, stone-like finishes. From $1,595

Interior designer Simon Paul Scott launched his chinoiserie-driven product line, Jardins en Fleur, in 2008 to bring a little more whimsy to his clients’ homes—but he fast became a favorite of his contemporaries, including Michael Smith, Celerie Kemble and Charlotte Moss. The collection includes furniture, lamps and hand-painted silks, but it’s his carved alabaster garden stools that are the latest hit. Available in Asian, Moorish and floral patterns, like the new Acanthus, the customizable stools are equally at home inside and out. Price upon request, David Sutherland, 8687 Melrose Ave., Ste. B182, L.A., 310.360.1777

Frustrated with the lack of stylish eco-friendly table coverings on the market, La Jolla-based designer Brenda Sacks decided to take matters into her own hands. BottleCloth, her new line of sustainable tablecloths, uses highly durable, soft, spill-resistant fabric that happens to be made from recycled plastic bottles. The chic, all-weather collection consists of nine designs—with bold brushstrokes, breezy patterns and playful script sayings—in five different colorways. Look out for placemats and runners mid-May and pillow covers and totes this summer. $99, 858.273.0876

What are you seeing as the major trends in outdoor decor?

“I’m known for my colorful, water-wise plant palette, accents and accessories—vertical gardens, angular glazed pots and dining sets with bold colors. My most popular request is fireside entertaining—I’ve incorporated fire bowls into a number of my designs and people absolutely love them.” Susanna Pagan, Susanna Pagan Landscape Design, 1501 San Elijo Road S., Ste. 104-120, San Marcos, 858.342.8667

Janice Feldman, the L.A.-based founder of Janus et Cie, is teaming up with renowned San Francisco designer Orlando Diaz-Azcuy to launch The Master Aluminum Series, a group of elegant outdoor furnishing collections made out of handcrafted metal. The first installment features four lines: Quadratl, Sash, Artemis and Capella, all with distinct styles. The meticulous attention to detail remains the same. From $2,466, Janus et Cie, Pacific Design Center, 8687 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood, 310.652.7090

Restoration Hardware has partnered with L.A.-based artist James de Wulf to create a sleek outdoor table tennis surface that’s perfect for summer. Made of cast concrete, the table has an industrial aesthetic and can withstand most weather conditions with ease. Of course, the table isn’t just for looks—its high-performance slab-top and full table-tennis kit make for a fun and stylish addition to any backyard. $8,995, RH West Hollywood, The Gallery on Melrose Avenue, 8564 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood, 310.6520323

“We took inspiration from Versailles, Vaux-le-Vicomte and the Château de Chantilly,” says landscape architect Jarrod Ryan Bauman of the Pebble Beach home he recently completed for a Silicon Valley-based family. “Their intention was to use the house, located on 17 Mile Drive, as a weekend and holiday home,” he continues. “The clients have exquisite taste in antiques and wanted formal gardens inspired by palaces of the Louis XIV era.” And with its vast green lawns, cypress allées, topiary, balustrades, urn-topped pedestals and central fountain, the garden is a Francophile’s delight. There are, however, definite and iconic markers of the home’s Central Coast setting that anchor the nearly 3-acre property: live oaks hung with Spanish moss, golf course views and the ever-present sound of crashing waves and barking sea lions. Bauman, whose firm, Zeterre Landscape Architecture, has offices in San Francisco and Menlo Park, travels frequently to Asia and Europe, where he counts the gardens around Italy’s Lake Como as a tremendous source of inspiration. Closer to home, Lotusland in Montecito is a favorite place to visit. Currently at work on another Pebble Beach residence, as well as national and international projects, Bauman says happily, “We’re busy!” And it’s easy to see why. 136 Freelon St., San Francisco, 415.691.2166

“My clients are a young family that loves to travel to Hawaii and wanted the same tropical feeling for their home,” says architect and interior designer Lauren Williams of Matrix Design Studio. The 8,556-square-foot Encinitas estate boasts breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean, so a significant outdoor area was a must. The pool covers a sizable 1,700 square feet, and “the infinity edge seamlessly melts into the horizon,” says Williams. The property’s Jerusalem bone limestone lanai offers both a lounging and dining area for the family to relax and entertain guests. The dining area’s outdoor kitchen is a chef’s dream, equipped with a prep station, outdoor sink and 48-inch stainless steel barbecue. To furnish the space, Williams went with an oversize 10-seat teak dining table by Gloster, chairs from Dedon and two Vibia Fiberglas chandeliers that dramatically hang from a mahogany pergola. After feasting alfresco, the family unwinds on the sofa to watch a flick on an outdoor TV. This Encinitas estate truly exemplifies California living at its best. 8580 Spectrum Lane, Ste. 1, San Diego, 858.546.0917

Since 1981, Santa Barbara Umbrella has been producing elegant custom, hand-finished umbrellas inspired by the open-air markets of the Mediterranean. Every year, the company, which recently unveiled its factory showroom, debuts new interpretations of its now iconic lineup, like the Double Decker umbrella (available as a hexagon or a square) in gold with a keyhole valance trimmed with black braid. From $3,999, 201 N. Rice Ave., Unit K, Oxnard, 800.919.9464

Standing over a hot grill on a summer night is so 2014. With the new Lynx Concept Grill (aka Smart Grill), the outdoor chef receives a text message when the steak needs to be flipped or is ready to serve. The Smart Grill also comes with a database of more than 200 recipes. From $5,999, Pirch, 3303 Hyland Ave., Ste. D, Costa Mesa, 949.429.0800

What are you seeing as the major trends in outdoor decor?

“I’m best known from the DIY Network show Yardcore, but both on and off camera, my passion lies in creating one-of-a-kind features that are bold, functional and allow the landscape to take on a personality of its own. One of the most popular trends these days is self-expression—clients want to express who they are not only in their homes but in their outdoor living spaces.” Jake Moss, Jake Moss Designs, 1506 Dry Creek Road, Healdsburg, 707.324.9228

Part sculpture, part function, the Lampara Piramide gives lighting a whole new outdoor look. Designed by Jose Gandia, current creative director of his family business—the Spanish design company Gandia Blasco—the lightweight, portable lamps are made of weather-resistant polyethylene with a fluorescent bulb, so they withstand hot and cold temperatures. An extra-long cord allows the Piramide to be placed easily in your outdoor area; we like them lining a path to your entertaining or beach zone. The tall (5-foot-11-inch), triangular shapes are best used as multiples on a large lot, but they add a cool glow of dimension to any modern outdoor space. $1,250, 301 N. Robertson Blvd., L.A., 310.424.3562

After the launch of the high-style Swingrest lounger, we were waiting in suspense for what French-Romanian architect and Dedon design collaborator Daniel Pouzet would do next. Enter the SwingMe single-seat and the SwingUs double-seat evolutions of the suspended seaters. Both are also available in standing versions for those who wish for something a bit more grounded. Other customizations include an optional canopy (for the SwingMe) and a choice of suspension methods, allowing users to either rotate around in circles or swing back and forth. Just add your own spin. $2,150-$2,595, Dedon, Pacific Design Center, 8687 Melrose Ave., Ste. B188, West Hollywood, 310.388.4721