Posts Tagged ‘landscaping’

7 Tips To Consider When Designing Your Ultimate Outdoor Escape

April 20th, 2010 by Lori Gilder | No Comments

Outdoor kitchens and living spaces are gaining in popularity particularly in parts of the country with more temperate climates.  Summer is just around the corner and if you love entertaining family and friends, what better way to make that happen, than by transforming your back yards, decks and patios into spectacular living spaces.  It instantly expands the architecture of your home and seamlessly connects you to the environment.  But consider these important tips before you get started.

1.  Codes and Restrictions

Before you begin any construction in your new outdoor kitchen/living space, educate yourself on your local building and safety codes.  Are there any restrictions or provisions regarding the location and size of your kitchen?

2.  Scope of Your Outdoor Project

Just like any home renovation project, knowing the extent of the work in advance will help save you time and money.  Whether a simple prefab barbeque unit suits your needs – or hiring that designer to conceive of your ultimate outdoor living space complete with plumbing and electrical, know your intensions in advance.

3.  Location, Location, Location

The primary function of your new outdoor kitchen/living space is to make sure “you” the chef/host are part of the party!  To achieve this, orient the kitchen area toward the yard space and design a dining counter or bar area for guests to gather around you.

4.  Plumbing

If you’re planning to incorporate a sink, dishwasher, or ice-maker in your new space, you will need to run water lines from the house out to your new kitchen.  If at all possible share the exterior wall of the kitchen where the plumbing already exists for a more cost effective scenario.

5.  Design Elements

When conceiving of your new outdoor kitchen, always consider the aesthetics and ask yourself: Will the details and materials work with the existing architecture of the home?  How does it look from the inside looking out?

6.  Climatic Conditions

In warmer temperatures, consider incorporating a beautiful trellis with vibrant bougainvillea or vines growing overhead.  It provides excellent added protection from the harsh summer sun and the rain.  In desert or tropical environments, take it a step further and install ceiling fans or misters to the trellis for additional comfort.

In cooler climates introducing a natural low-lying fire pit or fireplace to that outdoor kitchen plan will help create a most tranquil, warm and sophisticated atmosphere to your outdoor living space.  For added warmth orient the design of your outdoor space to the south to maximize direct sun exposure.

7.  Material Selection

Select materials that are best suited to your climatic conditions, and will withstand the test of time.  Slab countertops of granite, soapstone, concrete and stainless steel all hold up well to the elements.  Tiles work as well but the grout tends to crack over time and if not sealed properly could create problems down the road.

I encourage you leave questions or comments below this post, and fill out the form on the right hand side of this page to receive your free copy of my special report: “15 Money Saving Strategies When Planning Your Home Renovation”

Article by Lori Gilder, Architectural Interior Designer, Los Angeles, Ca. © 2010 Lori Gilder. Interior Makeovers Inc.

Digging Deep For Clues

December 22nd, 2009 by Lori Gilder | No Comments

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After submitting the Typographic Land Survey and the site plan – complete with the locations of the proposed additions – the Geologists were able to analyze the Brown’s canyon property and determine the number of drill sites, test pits and drill depths required to collect sufficient soils for sampling.

The Geologist’s assessed that only one major drill site was necessary in Liz and Mark’s driveway – boring down 50’ for soil sampling rather than a more typical 30’ – and an additional 4 hand tool excavated test pits are required throughout the front and rear yards, relative to the proposed additions.

What To Expect:

  • A truck mounted drill rig and other equipment showed up in their driveway for 3-4 hours on that schedule morning to collect the samples at varying levels on the site.  It was an invasive, arduous and time – consuming process yet fascinating at the same time.
  • The test drilling created an 8” diameter hole in the driveway, which was filled with concrete to even out the surface.  Unfortunately the repair to that hole wasn’t as smooth as Liz had expected and it needed to be corrected.  Since the Brown’s will be living here for some time before the construction begins, we expect all repair work to be as done as neatly as possible.Week 6-1 Image 2
  • Days later, several laborers showed up with the soils engineer to dig 4 hand tool test pits.  These pits disturbed, 2’x3’ areas of sod that were cut, soil removed for testing and were finally re-filled and sod replaced.  It should take the sod just a couple of weeks to recover.

I encourage you leave questions or comments below this post, and fill out the form on the right hand side of this page to receive your free copy of my special report: “How to Avoid the 15 Most Common Decorating Mistakes”

Article by Lori Gilder, Architectural Interior Designer, Los Angeles, Ca.
© 2009 Lori Gilder. Interior Makeovers Inc

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Home Renovations and Geology 101

December 17th, 2009 by Lori Gilder | No Comments

Brown Residence, Week 5Week 5-2 Image1
According to the Geologist, Liz and Mark Brown’s current home is built on liquefaction soil.  Welcome to California!

What is soil liquefaction?
Liquefaction occurs in saturated soils and sands. The soil transforms from a solid to a liquefied state.  When liquefaction occurs (as in the event of an earthquake) the strength of the soil can be compromised temporarily by the shaking earth, and as a result, that soil deposit has a tough time supporting the structure’s foundation, which could cause it to tilt or sink. Think of it in terms of a “quicksand” scenario.

This geological investigation will identify those soil conditions and literally tell structural engineers how the foundation must be designed. Now you can see why digging and testing the soil conditions for this type of home addition and renovation project is imperative.  Soil testing is an integral part of designing your home and more specifically the foundation it’s built on, as it has a direct link to the earth and rock below.

The required “Geological Engineering Liquefaction and Foundation Investigation”, will expose a variety of properties contained within the various layers of soil, which will in turn Week 5-2 Image 2provide the structural engineer with all the information he’ll need to design the proper, solid foundation for all areas of this home renovation project.

Now it’s my job to provide the geologist with a Topographic Land Survey of the existing property (which the Browns had copies of from a few years back), and a site plan, indicating each new proposed addition to the existing structure.  This information will provide the geologists with a roadmap as to the number of drill sites they’ll need to provide throughout the property.

I encourage you leave questions or comments below this post, and fill out the form on the right hand side of this page to receive your free copy of my special report: “How to Avoid the 15 Most Common Decorating Mistakes”

Article by Lori Gilder, Architectural Interior Designer, Los Angeles, Ca.
© 2009 Lori Gilder. Interior Makeovers Inc