One of the hottest trends in home landscaping is incorporating a fireplace or fire pit into the garden. Outdoor fire features extend the potential to enjoy the great outdoors. And if well integrated into the overall design, they can transform a mundane patio or an undefined space into a valuable outdoor living room, extending the effective square footage of a home’s living space.
Breezes from Narragansett Bay whisper over the garden of this Newport, Rhode Island fishing cottage that is used as a summer vacation home by its residents. The homeowners asked New Jersey–based design-build firm Groundswell Design Group to create a landscape master plan for the cottage, which dates to the late 1800s. “They wanted a space within a space with lots of moments that felt connected and were fluid and cohesive,” recalls David Fierabend, owner of Groundswell.
“The clients had a wish list and an idea book with photographs they had collected of designs and garden features they liked,” says Robert. “That was really helpful.” Robert and his clients worked together to create a garden that is harmonious with the house and its desert surroundings, and that provides a series of delightful and often surprising garden experiences and outdoor living spaces.
Though many of Amy Lau’s clients live in or just outside the city, the Manhattan-based designer has designed several, often second homes for clients in the Hamptons. So when one of her clients tasked her with installing an upscale beach aesthetic in his Bridgehampton manse, Lau’s mind was already spinning with ideas. But it wasn’t until she saw the large, unobstructed views from the 1,700-square-foot home, which sits adjacent to the Bridgehampton Polo Club, that she knew where to draw inspiration. “When you’re looking out these great windows, you’re seeing so much color—like the citron of the flowers outside the windows. So we really wanted to bring the outside in,” says Lau of the dining room’s color palette.