Archive | Outside

Virtual tours of gardens and grounds of homes we own or admire.

Backyard Shed Crazy

backyard shed - Ann Voskamp’s furnished she-shed mini-barn at the edge of a cornfield - A Holy Experience.com via Atticmag

The lowly backyard shed goes by many names but having a small, quirky out building is a plus for any home.

Small backyard sheds are trending. These may be called she-sheds, bar sheds, she-caves, he-caves, or a writing cabin like the one at the edge of an Ontario, Canada cornfield where author and blogger Ann Voskamp [top] types out her best selling books. Furnished with rugs, a sofa, and a desk, the cabin allows Mrs. Voskamp, who describes herself as a “farmer’s wife,” to work at a remove from her six children.

Sheds are may be art studios, potting sheds, garden sheds, cabin sheds, mini barns and back houses.… Continue Reading

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Modern Outdoor Showers

modern outdoor showers - poolside deck shower with MGS stainless steel floor mounted CB406 shower against a wood plinth - MGS via Atticmag

Flat and square with an emphasis on their shapes and surfaces, modern outdoor showers are just a bit showy.

There’s something wonderfully elemental about showering outdoors on a hot, sunny day whether you’ve just taken a swim in a friend’s pool, or you’ve stripped down in the privacy of your own yard after working up a sweat in the garden. But this collection of modern outdoor showers suggests something a bit more formal — a level of luxury geared to impress and be used by guests. That’s not to say they are elaborate. Quite the opposite.

On an elaborately planked and planted deck, alongside an infinity pool, a towering 8-foot tall, wooden slab is the anchor for an supremely elegant outdoor shower [top].… Continue Reading

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Architectural Museum Garden

architectural museum garden - walkway approach to Robert Irwin designed garden at DIA Foundation, Beacon, NY - atticmag

Views of an architectural museum garden designed by a 20th century contemporary artist.

My passion for gardens was ignited last week with a visit to the DIA Art Foundation. A boutique modern art museum in New York’s Hudson Valley, DIA  Beacon opened in 2003 in a 300,000 square foot former Nabisco box printing factory overlooking the Hudson River. An architectural museum garden is relatively rare — especially one designed by an artist whose work is featured in that museum. But the commission went to Robert Irwin, a Los Angeles artist who I happened to know during my time as an art student at UCLA, my alma mater.… Continue Reading

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Outdoor Stone Fireplaces

outdoor stone fireplaces - fireplace with steel awning in a wall - roche and roche via atticmag

This group of outdoor fireplaces offer unique stone looks and a few surprises.

This last month of summer has been cool, especially at night. So the weather has been perfect for sitting outdoors around a fireplace and the coming months will get better, one by one, straight through to Halloween. But some of the best examples of outdoor stone fireplaces come from western and southern climates where they are prime features of stunning landscaped exterior living spaces that can be used year-round.

Stone is key to fireplace architecture. The color, size, type and texture is critical to the character and style of any fireplace and there can be a surprising amount of variation.… Continue Reading

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Pretty Potagers

kitchen gardens - diagonal plan potager with a center feature - cokuke via Atticmag

The French call a kitchen garden the potager, since it’s devoted to vegetables, the principal ingredients in soup.

Kitchen gardens can be somewhat formal even though they are devoted to growing vegetables for food. Sometimes a garden is elegant and walled — almost an outdoor room. But the notion of a potager — as opposed to just a fenced in area with rows — is the addition of decorative pathways and a creative plan. Two diagonal intersecting gravel paths [top], with a circle in the center, create an X-shaped arrangement that yields four main planting areas. Within the central stone-bordered rondel is a vertical feature is comprised of a square brick pedestal topped by a planted urn.… Continue Reading

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Wisteria Lanes

wisteria in bloom in Germany - pixdaus via atticmag

May is the month when wisteria in bloom is on display and the views can be spectacular.

The ability to travel to faraway places to see phenomena you would never find at home is always a life-changing experience. But even if you don’t leave your desk, it’s possible to travel online. It’s not the same, of course. But it’s still a thrilling experience, one I enjoyed recently when I saw stunning photos of hanging purple flowers. I didn’t know exactly what they were or where they are from. Then, after a lot of clicking, I learned that there are wisteria gardens in various parts of the world and that May is when many of the blooms are at their very best.… Continue Reading

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