Outdoor Rooms on the Residential Site

On many residential sites, the most significant outdoor spaces include an outdoor arrival and entry space, entertaining or living space, eating or din­ing space, recreation space, work/storage space, and garden space. But a well-designed arrival and entry space should do more than just satisfy these utilitarian considerations. Each of these zones contributes to the overall experience of arriving at the site and entering the home. ©Slncb OЇ
drive way

Figure 2-18
Walks on both sides of the driveway can provide easier access to the entry walk. It should display an attractiveness that complements the residence and provides a pleasant experience for the residents and visitors. Steps should not be placed right next to the driveway where they can catch someone by surprise (Figure 2-21). It has many similarities, but a few differences as well. Low plantings can be used to reinforce the edge of the walk or to separate it from adjoining spaces or lawn areas. should be wide enough to allow the desired number of cars to park conveniently, but not so large as to visually dominate the arrival area or front yard. Although a guest may not actually walk through the lawn, it nonethe­less is a visual element. The remaining yard area might be strongly separated (Figure 2-31) or integrated harmoniously with the other zones (Figure 2-32). This zone may serve other uses such as an outside sitting space (Figure 2-30). Owing to the importance of producing this feeling, the arrival and entry space is one of the most significant outside spaces on the residential site and consequently deserves a great deal of attention on the part of the designer. As with the inside of the house, this can be done by furnishing the space with such things as potted plants, sculpture, or other elements

Figure 2-28
A change in the pavement material and/or pattern can be used to emphasize the entry foyer. In many instances, this zone is taken up by the front lawn and plantings. Some words of caution need to be made about enclosure near the street. Semi-public Zone The next zone is the driveway and the area along its sides. This allows for easier entry to and exit from the house. The “semi­public” zone occurs on or along the driveway. These spaces have numerous functions, some of which are similar to those found inside the house. As seen in Figure 2—29, the ornamental tree not only provides an accent element, but also serves as a screen

Figure 2-27
Provide adequate space for entry in relation to the swing of the door

and “turning element” that directs people toward the front door. Most cars require a 9′ X 18′ space for parking. On larger sites, this last zone is often best taken up by an area of lawn, ground cover, decomposed granite, existing trees, and so on, serving as a foreground for both the house and other areas in the front yard. A bench may also be placed in the outdoor foyer, for it provides a place to sit and is a gesture of friendliness and hospitality on behalf of the residents. Its primary function is to accommodate and direct movement between the land­ing and the outdoor foyer. Another advantage of spatial enclosure along the street is that it separates the front yard from the street and establishes a greater sense of privacy. The “semi-private” zone is the outdoor foyer. The walk between the driveway and the outdoor entry space represents the “transitional” zone. Public Zone This first zone can be designed to acknowledge a sense of entry into the site in a variety of ways. Adequate space should be provided along the edge of the driveway to allow peo­ple to walk along it without having to rub against parked cars, or walk on wet grass or in snow piles. Depending on the overall size of the site, this zone may vary from a small piece of ground to one that occupies many square feet. Figure 2-22
Ornamental plants, a light, and so on can accent the location of the "landing."

Transitional Zone The next zone or subspace in the arrival sequence is the entry walk. being in the way of the opening and closing of the door. The landing area can be further acknowledged by the careful placement of an accent element to attract attention, such as an ornamental tree, a planting with sea­sonal color, a light fixture, or a combination of these elements (Figure 2-22). It is a place where people stand temporarily to welcome visitors or say goodbyes. This space should have similar functions to the interior entry foyer by acting as the culmination of the arrival sequence, providing a stopping and gathering space to serve as a transition between indoors and outdoors. To furnish an adequate sense of enclosure in the outside foyer, the designer should give careful consideration to all three planes of enclosure. Vertical planes can be utilized to control views into and out of the outdoor foyer and to give a sense of separation from adjoining areas of the front yard. Its pur­pose is to serve as a transition space between the outdoor environment and the indoor environment. each of these zones when arriving and leaving the property. In addition, it should create a pleasant and safe walking ex­perience with a variety of views along the walk. Simply providing a scoring pattern in the concrete reduces the apparent size of the driveway (Figure 2-17). This can be accomplished by providing a walk that extends along one or both edges of the driveway (Figure 2-18). To what degree this area is incorporated into other zones of the front yard is a matter of circumstance and choice. The route should be obvious and easy to negotiate during the day and at night. As discussed previously in Chapter 1, the outdoor arrival and entry space on the typical residential site lacks identity and character. The major use of this zone should be to provide adequate space for parking cars and for moving people on foot through the space in a comfortable manner. These low vertical planes will also pro­vide a sense of enclosure so a person will feel as if he or she is walking through a space rather than through an undefined open area. To identify this as a pedestrian area, the pavement should be a different material or pattern than the driveway itself. Figure 2-30
In small front yards, usable space and plantings may be used instead of lawn. For small sites, this zone may be used most effectively as a planting area incorporated into some of the other zones. This zone is pedestrian oriented, thus making the scale and detail of this area critical. In this situ­ation, there may be no need for lawn. To start with, a well-designed outdoor arrival and entry space should fulfill a number of objectives. Depending on the degree of enclosure desired, the vertical planes may vary in height and transparency. There may be restrictions on the location and height of walls, fences, and plantings in the front yard. Whether on foot or in a vehicle, a person begins the arrival sequence the moment the curb zone or property lines are crossed. that give the space a personal touch. At the very least, it should comfortably accommodate pedestrian movement from off the site to the front door of the house in a safe and orderly fashion. Figure 2-19

An expanded entry walk or "landing" provides a more welcoming approach. This space should be large enough to allow for a small group of people to gather outside the front door without

Figure 2-25
Avoid entry walks that are too long and indirect. This can be done by slightly altering the direction of the entry walk and altering views and points of interest as a person moves toward the front door (Figure 2—23). All walls, plantings, and so on should be kept back from the edge of the driveway so as not to interfere with the opening of car doors or people walking along the edge of the driveway (Figure 2-16). To aid in this process, the designer should consider the following guidelines, keeping in mind that they should be applied thoughtfully to each site according to the specific circumstances. This space should give comfort and interest to visitors and may also serve as a delightful place for the residents to sit and relax. The pavement material and pattern of this zone should be given careful thought. Again, the designer should check local zoning ordinances for restrictions of height and place­ment of any vertical structures such as walls or fences. The ground plane might be constructed of a different material or pattern than the entry walk to suggest its distinct use as a stopping and gathering space near the front door (Figure 2—28). The overhead plane can be used in the outdoor foyer to provide an intimate scale to the space as well as to provide protection (if it is solid) from such climatic elements as hot summer sun or precipitation. Specimen plants, seasonal flowers, sculp­ture, water, or other elements can be incorporated along the walk to enhance its char­acter. It might also be protected from the hot afternoon sun or strong winds. Although people can in fact get to the front door, an important question is: Does this space provide a pleasant experience that says “wel­come,” or is it simply tolerated until one enters the house? As stated earlier, a residential site can be thought of as a series of outdoor rooms or spaces. What are some design guidelines for the outdoor arrival and entry space that can assist a designer in developing a pleasant entry space to complement the resi­dence? First, the height of walls or plantings in this zone should not interfere with the ability

Figure 2-14
Vertical planes are used along the street to provide a sense of enclosure and sep­aration from the street. This is accomplished by first studying the indoor counterpart of each outdoor space in order to gain insights into how outdoor spaces might be designed. A person proceeds through or by

Figure 2-13
Zones of entry on the typical residential site. The walk surface should also be flush with the elevation of the driveway and should not contain steps or other abrupt elevation changes. The “open space” zone is the space that occupies the re­mainder of the front yard. Figure 2-16
Plants, walls, and so on located too close to the driveway inter­fere with the opening of car doors and pedestrian circulation. Low walls, fences, or plant materials can be incorporated with the walk to help direct and reinforce movement (Figure 2—24). Figure 2-23
A "meandering" walk can provide different views as one moves toward the front door

Semi-private Zone The outdoor foyer is the next zone of the arrival sequence. The entire outdoor arrival and entry space can be divided into five subspaces or zones relating to arrival and entrance (Figure 2-13). Figure 2-29
A tall element or ornamental tree provides accent, screens view, and directs movement.

Updated: 28.10.2014 — 20:58