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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

home : features : features May 22, 2015

9/12/2012 2:08:00 PM
Fall Home Improvement
Outdoor living spaces popular in temperate Prescott
Courtesy photo
A number of factors, including terrain and owners’ tastes, go into the creation of outdoor living spaces, such as the arrangements above by the Joshua Tree & Landscape Co.
Courtesy photo
A number of factors, including terrain and owners’ tastes, go into the creation of outdoor living spaces, such as the arrangements above by the Joshua Tree & Landscape Co.
Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier
Homeowners Cori Gunnells and Curt Weaver relax in the new outdoor living space at their Williamson Valley-area home.
Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier
Homeowners Cori Gunnells and Curt Weaver relax in the new outdoor living space at their Williamson Valley-area home.
Cindy Barks
The Daily Courier

Walk into the Williamson Valley-area home of Cori Gunnells and Curt Weaver and your eyes are immediately drawn to an expansive patio just beyond the back entry.

A virtual annex of the living room, the courtyard-like space is bordered by a native-rock-and-wood fence, and offers nooks for cooking, eating, entertaining and relaxing.

The space's versatility was among the goals of the owners and their contractors, Prescott Builders.

"We wanted an outside space that we could use year-round," said Weaver. "And we wanted it to be an extension of the house."

Gunnells and Weaver are not alone in their wishes for a stylish yet casual outdoor space. Contractors from the around the area report that clients are asking for more and more outdoor spaces that mesh with the homes' interiors.

"One of the trends we've seen over the last couple of years is outdoor living spaces," said Chris Welborn of Vicente Landscaping. With Prescott's mild climate, he said, "We can truly enjoy outdoor spaces all year around."

In the design and construction of the Gunnells/Weaver patio, Jeff Lueck of Prescott Builders said the mission was to create a space that was compatible with the clients' lifestyle.

"They've got to be comfortable and relaxed," Lueck said. Throughout the design and construction, he said, he and fellow contractors Harry and Jeanne Wellins worked with the owners and "weren't locked into our plans; we modified as we went."

Case in point: Well into the process, the Prescott Builders crew proposed adding a compass design to the patio's floor. After running the idea past Gunnells and Weaver, workers cut the concrete and stained it in natural shades of brown to create the standout pattern beneath the ramada.

Welborn agreed that collaboration with clients is key to a successful project. "The number-one thing is to listen to what the customer wants," he said. The goal of Vicente Landscaping, he said is to "try to put together something that fits not only their lifestyle, but their topography."

For Gunnells, the success of the project in her Williamson Valley home centers on how well the patio design complements the house. "We wanted to respect the architecture of the house - to match the character," she said, noting that the native stone in the fence matches the rock in the living room's striking fireplace, while the ramada's red tile matches the roof of the house.

When it comes to design, area contractors say outdoor spaces are as varied as the people who own the homes.

Joshua Loveall of The Joshua Tree & Landscape Co. said many of his clients are looking to tie in with the diverse bird life in the Prescott area. "A lot of people do hummingbird sanctuaries," he said.

Others are more interested in creating a unique kitchen area. Loveall recalls one client in Sedona who asked for an outdoor pizza oven.

Predicting that "old-world ovens" are an up-and-coming trend for outdoor spaces, Loveall maintains that the term "pizza oven" is a misnomer, because the ovens' scope goes well beyond pizzas.

Another hot trend involves the use of pondless waterfalls, which Loveall said have virtually no maintenance but still provide the sound and ambience of running water.

Other popular options include fire pits and full outdoor kitchens.

Welborn said Vicente Landscaping gets requests for fire pits "almost weekly." While a wood pit is an easy solution, he said pits that use natural or propane gas are also common.

Loveall says one thing is universally important - picking a design theme and being able to articulate it.

To help clients get to that point, he suggests that they start a photo file, compiling pictures of elements they like. That can help a designer and client narrow down the desired look, Loveall said.

"Color, lighting, and water are the main ingredients," Loveall added.

Gunnells stressed the importance of using a designer in coming up with plans for an outdoor living space. "It's a good idea to use a professional designer," Gunnells said. "It helped us decide what we wanted, and how to maximize what we wanted to get out of it."

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Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, September 23, 2012
Article comment by: Well Well !

A disturbing display of self promotion by bloggers who have a self interest, out of town contrators, contractors who have illegals performing their work, which means the contractor isn't paying taxes and a builder who often does shoddy work and fiscally irresponsible all supported by an entity you can't rely on , the YCCA, who recommends those who pay dues to get referrals whether they are good or not. Come on courier, don't you have a clue or are you part of the problem?

Posted: Sunday, September 16, 2012
Article comment by: Janet Layfield

If you would like to keep out the sun without losing your view call us at The Picture Window, Inc. We offer high quality Wind & Sun Screens that will provide your patio with protection from the sun, wind and rain. We have so much confidence in this product that offer FREE Lifetime Repairs on it!

Posted: Sunday, September 16, 2012
Article comment by: Bill Halstead

I pleased to see an informative article on the importance of integrating an outdoor living space into the existing house while maintaining the integrity of the existing landscape. After buying our place a few years ago my wife and I wanted to take advantage of the natural beauty of the area around our house. We were fortunate enough to find Dane at Autum Blaze construction. He provided expert advice on materials to complement our joint design. After 3 years, the quality of work is apparent, as the job looks and performs as if it were completed yesterday. I hope anyone who wants to expand their home outdoors has the opportunity to enjoy it as much as we have.

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LB - Mortimer Nursery 0521

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