spent outside...

When we were children all the boys wanted "Tree houses" and the girls wanted "Playhouses," now we want a place to escape to.

This missive is about finding or creating a special place for you to enjoy your "private moment."   It could be in a meadow, behind a hedge or just tucked into the back yard somewhere; a converted garden shed, a chaise under an old tree, or a table and chairs tucked into the garden for "date night" with your partner. It can be covered or not covered, private or for family, you decide....its your "moment."


Pull together some of your existing garden furniture, get some weatherproof pillows and cushions at Home Depot, Pier1, Restoration Hardware or Pottery Barn and zhuzh it all up with some pots of flowers, etc...

Cheryl Crow "hangs out" here at home when she's had too much Hollywood...

How romantic is this, huh?  Of course that iron furniture is like torture chamber equipment without the pillows, but the look is awesome.

Got a little balcony, even a Juliette Balcony ?
Throw a small table and two folding chairs on it and voila you have a private spot!  Done, next?

This uber-complicated setting involves an old wooden table, four 2 x 2 boards nailed to it and some white sheeting tied at the corners.... Go for it.

Is your existing porch neglected?   Feels boring sitting on it as it is now?   Then get some fun chairs, a table and play with colorful accents until you have it right.

If we're lucky enough to have the private little garden with the beautiful landscaping and fountain, there's no reason not to have a comfy seating area too.  Here it's made with four Restoration Hardware lounge chairs and a small table. Wayyy easy.

(Source: Hortulus Farm)
If you have some shady areas or even a close-by woods this French "Faux Bois" or "Black Forest" furniture is sublime!   It blends into the natural setting, and doesn't need to be covered in the winter as its made from cement and stained to look like wood, similar pieces can be purchased at Excentricities of the Palm Beaches and the Hamptons.

(Hortulus Farm)
This lovely vignette is situated in a kitchen garden with views of a tiny creek.   The owners discovered the blue color in France. Some pillows and cushions would be a practical addition to making it welcoming and useful.

(Allessandra Branca)
City dwellers aren't exempt from enjoying the outdoors.  Do you have an ugly flat roof outside you can access through a door, fire escape door or window?   Layer inexpensive outdoor carpets all over the roof, get some snazzy folding furniture, and if necessary some lattice panels online or your local Lowe's.

An outdoor shower for the summer months is one of the most sensual and enjoyable pleasures.  Near a garden spigot outside install some strategically placed privacy panels - or not...
You can create a French Drain shower drainage and this will be the most inexpensive improvement you can imagine.

This ugly side yard was transformed into a totally rocking little piece of Malibu!  Color here was the key to success, neutrals would've been bland as the architecture isn't all that.


(Alexandra & Michael Misczynski)
A pergola built over an elevated platform creates an observation platform for the beautiful gardens.

Another spot in Cheryl Crows compound.  I'm loving this Yippe-cayay moment!

(Donna Hackman)
A simple rose-covered pergola crafted from old railroad ties creates a rustic belvedere for this Virginia garden.

(Southern Accents)
This cedar overlook is clean and simple. This is all about the hammock!

(Alexandra & Michael Misczynski)
This stunning garden spot is so typical in European gardens; simple, rustic and elegant.  No fancy woodwork or furniture, nature is the decoration here.

(Lambertson - Truex)
The Connecticut home of Richard Lambertson and John Truex is full of special outdoor rooms.  This one, tucked into a hillside garden is awesome.  Stone knee-walls and bluestone paver's are the biggest expense here,  but the chic teak pieces make the moment.

 This space is off the Hookah! 
OK, so you don't live in Morocco,  but why not feel like it? Inexpensive masonry banquettes and an inexpensive sun-cover made of bamboo fencing will do the trick.   A crappy table painted pink, some flowing textiles to hide the hideous cement wall and a few pillows and next thing you know you are chic in Araby...

This lovely English summer house can be used for a sitting room, office or a potting shed. These arrive on a truck in a kit that's assembled in a couple of hours.  They can be painted or left natural to blend into the landscape.

This sexy bootycall destination is for the younger set... as I don't want to lay on the floor...  The perfect hideaway in a garden, it's private and colorfull.  Fabricated from inexpensive lattice and allowed to weather...I can just feel the breeze now...

(House Beautiful)
This wisteria covered pergola is created from four 'bunched' 8 x 8's,  it's simple and inexpensive to create.  The furnishings are modest weatherproof and keep the wisteria and views as the focal point.

If you have a view or undulating property a simple elevated deck with an encircling banquette could be fun, leaving the center open for dining table(s) or dancing.   Direct the structure toward the view, whether you enter from the view side or behind. (I woulda probably stained the deck another color..not tract-house orange)

Clear out some of your lawn and create a simple garden space with a gravel base and decorative plantings around the perimeter.  I have one myself in Florida, it has crushed shells as the base, 14' tall hedges around it and I can seat 60 people for dinner in it when entertaining. Otherwise it's an intimate private garden.

(Source: Hortulus Farm)
This lovely gazebo in Bucks County, Pa. serves two purposes; its a lovely focal point when approaching the main house by car and it can be used for a dejeuner, ou diner sur l'eau.
(that's French, y'all)

(Matteo Thun)
My neighbor in Capri used this neglected corner of his terrace by building a masonry banquette and covering it with random antique tiles.  The table is a Moroccan tile-topped one and the chairs are cheap ones sprayed vivid, so chic indeed.


These small spaces shouldn't be overdone, just create a cozy chill out spot.

(Richard Arentz Landscape Architect)

This speaks for itself,  a perfect moment in a blissful garden. A true English conservatory with a greenhouse attached... Perfection!

Dat's what I'm talkin' 'bout!
This Arts and Crafts style out-building fits perfectly in this garden.  I am all about hangin' out in this place - a pina-colada with a paper fancy parasol stuck in it and awesome tunes....suhweeeeet. 

This is the quintessential "destination"  a wonderful structure crafted of natural materials built at lawn-grade...away from the main house with wide open sides and a lovely fireplace on the back wall.

This pedestrian patio area has one good component - the firepit!   It's a wonderful destination for autumn evenings.   I'm diggin' the way it's arranged with a conversation grouping and the broad curb around the pit itself to either rest your feet, sit or whatever.

The very English conservatory is nothing complicated...this would be such a great destination across a lovely broad meadow or next to a pond or lake.  Think of cocktail hour and sunsets...

(Joseph Paul Davis Interiors, Richard Arentz Landscape Architecture)
This awesome conservatory is a kickin' destination.  My client uses it for his private refuge from his house (on left).  It's outfitted with a huge stone fireplace, lounging furniture, TV and a dining area.  It's totally off da chain in the winter when its snowing out.

Even a small conservatory like this, a glass gazebo will immerse you in nature, centering you after a crazy day.

This is Mark Zuckerbergs back yard.... yes, really!
What looks to be a port-cochere sheltering $400 worth of shit furniture.  I like the structure, but that small-ass Sears furniture looks like hell.. serious scale issues!  The dudes worth BILLIONS, wtf, get off the wallet dude!!

Henry Ford built this beautiful wrought iron tea-house in his perennial garden where he could sit and enjoy nature alone or with friends. This photo is as it sits today. Below is when it was in it's heyday with the garden in full bloom.

Henry Fords garden ca. 1955

BAM!  Holy Officepod Batman!!
This home office is freekin' awesome.  The ultra modern "pod" sits beautifully in this traditional garden.  How radical is that??? 

Outdoor fireplaces have become such a cool standard for the well-designed garden.

This Moroccan folly is the bomb!   A simple all-white masonry structure with some wonderful Moorish details.   The multi-tiered interior of built-in banquettes with the colorful touches.   Notice the overhead roll-up-door to close this space off in inclement weather.
(cue: I Dream of Jeanie music....da dah, da da de da dah, dah dah)

This  has my name all over it...I love it!!   Part bespoke English garden shed and part Jed Clampett...  Just a stones throw from the main house yet nestled privately at the edge of the vegetable fields.

Make your pool cabana multitask for you!   Use it for your private art studio, office or meditation space.

You can do it, I'm here to help!