Loving Outdoor Living

By Lexi Reich with Heather Shoning

Crafting the perfect extension to your home to ENJOY FOR ALL OUR BEAUTIFUL COLORADO SEASONS

Photo: Courtesy of Lehrer Fireplace & Patio

FINDING SOLACE IN outdoor spaces has become more than a trend; it’s a necessity. As the boundaries between indoor and outdoor living blur, crafting timeless outdoor spaces that integrate nature with comfort and style has become an art form. From sprawling gardens to cozy balconies, the possibilities are endless when it comes to creating outdoor sanctuaries that stand the test of time.

“The thing about a house is all you have is a house,” says Joseph Nguyen, owner of Dream Makers Landscape. “Once you finish a backyard, you’re living outside. In Colorado, our weather is nice probably eighty-five percent of the year. Even if it’s chilly in the morning or evening, it’s a perfect time to turn that fire pit on, cook some s’mores, hang out.”

Photo: Courtesy of Alfresco Outdoor for Mountain High Appliance

But in the realm of landscape design, where nature meets human habitation, there exists a delicate balance between functionality, aesthetics and harmony with the environment. With more than a decade in the industry, Greg Bobich, owner of Watermark Landscape, combines artistry and practicality into his approach to creating outdoor living spaces.

The pros agree that thoughtful design ensures every element serves a purpose, whether it’s a seating area for intimate gatherings or a fire pit for evenings under the stars. Bobich advises to consider the layout carefully, allowing for smooth circulation and creating distinct zones for dining, lounging and entertainment.

“Square patios often work best with multiple large chairs, whereas rectangular patios work best with loveseats or sofas,” says Lesley Short, of Lehrer Fireplace & Patio. “You also need to consider whether you want to face the fireplace or face other people, with the fireplace as an accessory that melts into the background.”

Then, it’s time to style. From traditional to contemporary to rustic modern, professional designers cater to a spectrum of tastes with a distinct Colorado flair. Bobich says he uses locally sourced materials such as moss rock and granite to imbue each project with a sense of place, while the design blends with the natural surroundings.

Photo: Courtesy of Dream Makers Landscape

“Mixing prints with solids is a good way to coordinate seating sections without matching perfectly,” Short says. She also notes that as Colorado has some of the harshest weather conditions for outdoor furniture, selecting a high-quality outdoor fabric such as Sunbrella, is essential. She also suggests that if your furniture is under pollen trees or near highly reflective windows, you should keep covers on the cushions to keep them clean and protected from sun damage.

As trends in outdoor living evolve, Bobich emphasizes the importance of timeless principles. Selecting colors and features that resonate with personal preferences is paramount, with the recommendation to live in the space for a while before making permanent decisions. Implementation in phases allows for gradual refinement, ensuring the space evolves organically with the needs of the inhabitants.

Whether nestled in the mountains or amidst urban sprawl, designs should ultimately harmonize with their surroundings. Yet blending outdoor living spaces with the natural environment requires a keen understanding of both architectural context and ecological considerations. Native plantings, gravel pathways and boulder accents can be carefully curated to complement the local ecosystem, enhancing rather than detracting from the landscape.

The creation of distinct outdoor “rooms,” each serving a specific purpose, fosters a sense of cohesion. Tailoring the design to suit the needs and preferences of the homeowners is paramount. 

Photo: Courtesy of Dream Makers Landscape

“Most of the time when we do a pool, we’re building a spa either up against the pool or somewhere in the backyard,” Nguyen says. It’s what his clients want. Outdoor kitchens are another popular request for Nguyen and local appliance showroom Mountain High Appliance. Kapono Etrata, territory manager for Mode Distributing, LLC, works with Mountain High Appliance to build an inventory of outdoor kitchen products to serve Denver-area families. He says, “The goal is to provide a space that can create memories. We understand that time is valuable, so we provide products for outdoor kitchens that enable the family to remain outdoors while entertaining.”

Addressing challenges posed by terrain constraints or limited space requires innovation and creativity. However, when you engage a professional team of designers and retailers to guide you through the process, you can achieve the outdoor living space of your dreams. “At the end of the day, pick what’s going to make you happy,” Bobich says. “As landscape designers, our goal is to make sure the client has a space they can enjoy for years to come.” 

NOTE: Kapono Etrata is a valuable supporter of Wheels of Dreams—AvidLifestyle’s signature fundraising event—and brings a complete grill setup for Mountain High Appliance’s personal chef station. Additionally, Dream Makers Landscaping provides plants, flowers and outdoor lighting for WOD guests to enjoy during the event. For event info, visit: https://bit.ly/wheelsofdreams2024




5751 E. County Line Place

Highlands Ranch, CO






6732 W. Coal Mine Ave. Suite 124

Littleton, CO 80123