Living in comfort, indoors and out |

Living in comfort, indoors and out

Kathy Filgo

Creating a comfortable outdoor environment surrounding our homes is an important, if not essential, element throughout our outdoor-oriented community. Whether this means setting up a charcoal barbecue grill outside the back door or building a rushing stream that flows past our 500-square-foot patio, the quest to incorporate a comfortable outdoor atmosphere into our daily lives is a prevalent pursuit in the Rocky Mountains.This quest for making the most of our outdoor living has inspired some homeowners not only to be designing decks and patios to accommodate their family and friends in a gracious manner but to literally be remodeling nature.Rich Leeman, owner/partner of Landscape Technology Group and the Garden Center of Gypsum, discusses the many options that people are undertaking to enhance their outdoor environment and some of the methods used to blend with nature’s own grandeur. People want to be outside and we specialize in making that a beautiful place, says Leeman, and his company does so by specializing in stone and wood decks, patios, and water features. Water features hold a big interest in an area where water is a scarcity and thus a luxury. But if you are not among the few who hold the coveted real estate position of being located along one of our rivers, streams, or ponds, there are options for creating one of your very own.Water features can be as simple as a small fountain to something that borders on resembling Gore Creek. A homeowner can change the outdoor natural elements that surround their home by creating a rippling steam complete with waterfalls and cascading water over enormous boulders. Leeman sees this not only as an aesthetic benefit but in some cases as a mitigating factor to some of mans annoying interferences. Designing a water feature can be a great way to drown out undesirable sounds such as muffling unwanted street noise, explains Leeman, and it can enhance the homeowners ability to fully enjoy nature at its most serene.Leeman also comments on the importance of lighting. Low voltage accent lighting is important when its warm enough to be outdoors and the living space can be enjoyed after dark. Plus you can then enjoy the beautiful landscaping from indoors as well. Designing a space that incorporates natural landscaping is also used to camouflage outdoor amenity features, allowing them to become more unified with the environment. Hot tubs, in the past awkward and undesirable focal points, are being sunken into the ground and integrated gracefully into the landscape design. Aesthetically unifying landscaping with the environment has also taken on a responsible trend toward water conservation. People are more water-conscious in choosing plants as well as using proper water-conserving irrigation systems. Theyre using spray irrigation systems for flower beds and turf, and installing drip-systems for trees and shrubs. This kind of effort not only is better for the environment but can reflect a 50 percent or more savings on our water bills, says Leeman.Nancy Lipsky, owner/real estate broker of Nancy Lipsky & Company, agrees that the desire for comfortable outdoor living is a given for homeowners in the Valley. There is an evolving of what outdoor space is all about for people today. Its becoming more of a private place than weve seen in the past. Remodeling is taking place in outdoor space with much the same fervor as is given to indoor space. There are outdoor fireplaces being built with as much elaborate design and care as if it were in a living room. She describes a home in the Valley with a fireplace that can be seen from indoors and outdoors. It has glass on both sides so one can sit outdoors on the patio or indoors in the family room and enjoy the beauty of the fire from either place.Lipsky says the outside of the home has become an extension of the indoors. Sliding or French doors can open and serve to extend the inside of the house into the outdoors. It gives a feeling that youre in and out. Modern technology adds to the comfort capabilities. Umbrellas are not always practical with the high winds found in many places throughout the Valley so an option is a pergola roof built onto the house or a rollup awning. And weather-resistant fabrics and scratch-resistant composite materials help maintain the beauty of outdoor furniture. Evening cooking and eating outside is typical. Rarely are we serving indoors on beautiful days. People spend their days in activities and the evening entertaining family and friends, says Lipsky. Stand-up heaters, outdoor kitchen-like facilities with running water, refrigerators, grills, burners all serve to extend the ability to remain outdoors comfortably.Lipsky also sees water features playing a big role, You dont have to pay an extra million dollars for property on the creek. You can build your own water feature for that wonderful melodious sound.Were a community of lovers of the outdoors. Were active people who also love our creature comforts. The many advances in technology have given us the options of taking our outdoor living from a camping atmosphere to one of elegant ambiance. We have even found a way to transform natures elements to our liking. But regardless of the extent to which weve taken the design of own little piece of the great outdoors summers almost here so it’s time to get outside and enjoy!Vail, Colorado

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