Tour of Homes: Outdoor Living

Back yards are an incredible asset to a home when properly utilized. Carefully arranged outdoor spaces can serve a myriad of uses. Entertaining friends for a dinner outside in the beauatiful Kentucky evenings is a treat that can be enjoyed for several months out of the year. Other members of the family may prize outdoor spaces for enjoying sports, gardening, sunbathing or birdwatching. The homes on the following pages have incredible outdoor living areas that serve a number of fabulous functions for the homeowners. From beautiful landscaping to amazing architectural features, each is a wonderful inspiration for any home!

For the owners of this beautiful property right off of Main Street, the outdoor living spaces are a natural extension of their love of entertaining. While the home itself was built in the 1920s, the back yard "outdoor rooms" have been an ongoing evolution as owners have changed over the years. As it currently stands, the spacious outside space behind this home features areas for the kids to play, entertaining spaces for the adults and room for everyone to enjoy the beautiful Chevy Chase surroundings.

The owner loves finding fun, new ways to utilize what she already has to create a unique environment. Mixing old and new, the space feels like a beautiful extension of the home's storied interior and the owners' unique tastes. While it exudes "Traditional Lexington" style, the homeowners have utilized these spaces to suit their very modern entertaining needs.

While the home's builders only lived there two years, the home's second owner contacted Barbara Ricke to help design and customize the pool and outdoor areas. The family's needs for the outdoor space necessitated a few additions and changes, but the integrity of the area and consistency with the neighborhood have remained intact.

Brick walls and pathways punctuate each space and lead guests on to the next area, creating intimate "rooms" for entertaining and enjoying. "I want it to feel like another home outdoors," explained the owner. "A den to entertain, a dining room and an area to play."

The thick, lush trees surrounding the patio filter light, leaving the space bright yet comfortable. Guests can enjoy dinner in the dining area then move to the more formal space for after dinner drinks. These areas feature potted flowers which can easily be swapped out as seasons change, offering a quick pop of beauty to each space.

The pool is sectioned off from the other spaces by brick walls and wrough-iron gates, creating both privacy and elegance. The kids can then head off to the playground area, which is surrounded by beautiful landscaping. The homeowners rely on Jason Mayo of Paramount Lawn Care & Landscaping to handle many of the beautiful details of the lush lawn.

Whether the family is enjoying a swim, entertaining friends or making the most of Kentucky's beautiful weather, this outdoor space offers warmth and natural beauty that serves a number of purposes while still maintaining a historic, traditional feel. This gorgeous home's outdoor living area is proof that older houses in Lexington still posess hidden jewels.

Projecting Family Fun

This home, positioned off of a golf course in Jessamine County, posed a unique challenge for its owners. They kept experiencing golf balls in the yard, which posed a serious concern for their children playing outdoors. To solve this issue, Mike and Paula Elder built a free-standing garage and pool with a breezeway that would block any incoming golf balls. By matching the roof lines of the breezeway and the home, it looks like an original part of the house rather than an addition. Sawyer-Elder Construction worked on this project, start to finish.

A huge focal point of their outdoor entertaining is the 102" outdoor theatre screen, HD projector and 7.1 surround sound system, which Mike and Paula can control with their iPhones. Cozy seating around the screen makes the space ideal for movie nights. A gas fireplace in the middle of the space allows the family to make use of the screen for a longer portion of the year. Mike and Paula said that they watch TV or movies outside several nights a week during the summer and fall.

This area also houses the kitchen. It was custom built and features storage cabinets, a gas grill and refrigeratior. The addition of the grill and kitchen area has allowed Mike and Paula to enjoy more meals outdoors. Since the space is covered, they can still cook out, even if it's raining. They love entertaining guests. Comfy seating allows friends and family to kick back and relax while conversing with the cook.

Mike and Paula created a 20' x 40' pool with a circular slide. They chose to use brick pavers, making the flooring more cohesive with the brick home. They built brick retaining walls to the rear of the lot, which were tiered to create useable yard space and offer privacy. The lovely, ample pool space is perfect for hosting pool parties for the kids. Lounge chairs by the pool make this space wonderful for sunbathing or relaxing while the children splash and play in the pool.

This home's outdoor living space has several unique features. One of the more luxurious additions is a half-bathroom that was added to the left of the covered living area. This allows guests to enjoy their time outside without having to head inside.

As weather turns colder, Mike and Paula make use of outdoor heaters and the fire pit to keep the space warm and cozy. They're able to use the space until late fall. After that, they store the furniture for the winter.

Mike and Paula's outdoor spaces offer lots of comforts for guests and family alike. The spacious pool area is fun for the kids while adults grill up delicious dinners in the kitchen space. The outdoor theatre is as fabulous as it is relaxing, whether to take in a movie or some casual TV viewing. By using brick that matches the original structure and carefully planning the architecture to match the home's original construction, this space feels natural and inviting.

Taking Comfort To New Heights

By creating a covered outdoor space, the homeowners of this incredible Northern Jessamine County back yard are able to entertain guests nearly ten months a year. Starting in 2010, Carol and Jack began renovating the space to create the covered porch and pool area. The home, built in 1995, had previously had two small decks. Since their previous home had featured a wonderful back yard space, Carol and Jack knew that they wanted to make major changes to build a space they could better utilize and enjoy.

How do they use their spaces? "Number one, we like to entertain," explained Carol. "It's great for family dinners." With a grill, a sink housed in the island and other kitchen features, whipping up a meal in the area is convenient and easy. Guests can relax on the barstools and chat with the homeowners so no one is stuck away from the fun while cooking. The dining area offers a beautiful view of the lovely yard.

Carol and Jack recently hosted about 30 people for his family reunion. They also often have friends over for drinks after dinner. Whether their entertaining time is spontaneous or planned, Carol said that having the outdoor space gives them an automatic go-to spot for time together. Having it covered allows them to make plans, rain or shine.

A sitting area with comfortable wicker couches and chairs is nestled beside the outdoor fireplace, which has served the homeowners in a number of capacities, extending the time the family can enjoy the outdoors. They also employ porch heaters to ensure the comfort of their guests. They hosted a prom dinner for their son and his friends back in May during a cold snap. All the kids were cozy and had a wonderful time taking in the evening.

The beautiful ceiling features rich wood with contrasting white beams. Recessed lighting and directional light fixtures illuminate the space as evening sets in. The warmth of the space is reflected in the custom flooring, which was designed by Townes Gate Concrete.

Beside the porch is a pool and pergola sitting area. To truly customize their space, a granite tile at the bottom of the pool says "UK". The beautiful area offers ample space for sunbathing and casual entertaining. Mid-American Pool out of Covington handled the construction of the beautiful pool.

With a beautiful covered porch, Carol and Jack are able to make the most of their space for much of the year. Heating, umbrellas and ample seating ensure comfort of guests and family alike. Designed for fun, this outdoor living space is easy to enjoy, year-round.

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