It is important to keep in mind that selecting materials, patterns, and colors is critical to the success of a space. These three exterior planes of enclosure, like the interior floors, walls, and ceilings, collectively define the edges or limits of outdoor rooms (Figure 2—3). Creating usable outdoor space, perhaps more clearly understood as outdoor rooms, should be the principal way of thinking about a residential site and the basic building block for developing a design solution. The designer must take many items into account, including the clients’ wants and needs, the relationship between the interior (rooms, doors, windows, etc.) and the exterior, budget limitations, and the opportunities and constraints of the existing site conditions. Figure 2—1 illustrates three sequential steps in the development of a successful space. Consequently, all the site elements that make up the outdoor environment, such as plant materials, pavements, walls, fences, and other structures, should be considered as the physical elements that define outdoor space. For example, indoor space exists between the floors, walls, and
A successful space needs (1) sufficient space, (2) planes of enclosure, and (3) spatial character. So, with added outdoor design elements such as pavement, a fence, and an overhead arbor, the space has the ability to provide the user with a feeling of being in a room. interior spice Exterior Space
and play. As the designer graphically begins to put ideas on paper to create a design solution, additional considerations should address the functional relationships among the required uses; the character of the spaces to be created; and the specific sizes, shapes, colors, and textures of the materials selected for the design. Significantly, the base plane is the primary plane on which the designer organizes the proposed design. Base Plane
The base plane or floor of an outdoor space supports all activities and site elements in the outdoor environment. A residential designer should think of design as the creation and organization of outdoor space and should study how these other components define and influence the character and mood of space. We do this by comparing and contrasting outdoor space with indoor space. INTRODUCTION
There are numerous factors to consider in the design of a residential site. Space is the entity where we live, work, and recreate. It takes some adjustment and training to view outdoor space as the void between those objects normally seen. In addition, guidelines are suggested for the location and design of such outdoor rooms as the arrival and entry space, entertaining space, outdoor dining space, and recreation space. It is the plane on which people walk, run, sit, work, recreate,
Examples of the three planes of spatial enclosure. But the space is likely to feel empty, and the users are apt to feel uncomfortable, because of the lack of spatial definition. Like their interior counterparts, exterior spaces are defined by three primary planes of enclosure: base plane, vertical plane, and overhead plane. The success of outdoor space can be looked at in a similar way. Each interior room has a definite sense of enclosure that is clearly defined by floor, walls, and ceiling. Similarly, outdoor space can be perceived as space bound by physical elements of the environment such as the ground, shrubs, walls, fences, awnings, and tree canopies. This chapter discusses what outdoor space is, how it is created, and how it is used. An effective means for understanding outdoor space is to think of it as a series of outdoor rooms similar to the interior rooms of a house (Figure 2—2). However, there should be one central theme that guides all reflections about residential design: the creation of usable space. OUTDOOR SPACE
What is space? The organization of uses (or functions) in residential design is determined directly on the base plane. For laypeople, the concept of space is often a difficult one to grasp initially because they are accustomed to describing the landscape as a collection of physical objects such as buildings, trees, shrubs, and fences rather than space itself. The importance of outdoor space is based on the philosophy that residential site design is a three-dimensional organization of space and not just the creation of twodimensional patterns on the ground or the arrangement of plant materials along the base of a house. We find a space to be comfortable, pleasurable, and successful if it provides sufficient room to function in, enough privacy for the function to occur, decoration, and furnishings.