|  Forecast »
Bookmark and Share Email this page Email Print this page Print

All Decked Out

New Dimensions in Outdoor Living

Multi-level decks, with pergolas and open air design, bring sensibility to indoor-outdoor transitions.

Multi-level decks, with pergolas and open air design, bring sensibility to indoor-outdoor transitions.

From patios to pergolas, outdoor living spaces that are both beautiful and functional have become one of the most popular requests in residential construction. Today’s decks are no longer confined to a 12’ x 12’ wooden pallet that fits a couple of guys and a grill. When it comes to design features, the sky is the limit, with square footage increasing both horizontally and vertically, extending living and entertainment into an outdoor oasis year-round.

Living in harmony with nature has always been attractive to people. The once fashionable trend of “bringing the outdoors in” has been turned inside out, quite literally. In an effort to live luxuriously in the open air, today’s homeowners are bringing their comforts outdoors, seeking more sophisticated living spaces and amenities, such as artisanal fire bowls that bring ambiance and heat to the night, waterfalls that relax and block noise, moveable walls that both connect and protect from the elements, entertainment systems that surround with state-of-the-art audio and visuals, and 5-star restaurant quality kitchens.  

One of the most innovative outdoor living and landscape companies in the nation, Mosaic, is transforming outdoor spaces into experiential havens designed to deliver a lifetime of memories. Mosaic’s founder, Garth Hystad, attracted the interest of producers at Orion Entertainment, who launched the DIY Network show, Mega Decks, featuring Mosaic’s most stunning masterpieces.  The show was a huge hit, and has signed on for a new season. 

As an industry forerunner, Hystad does not believe the attraction to the alfresco lifestyle is just a trend. Following a childhood of bouncing around in foster homes, he found inspiration in Colorado’s natural beauty, as well as a penchant for carpentry as a trade.  Those two interests combined and, thirty years ago, he started a business fueled by a passion for living large outside -- which he believes is becoming increasingly relevant as people seek an escape from their hectic lives.

 “Colorado is a beautiful state and the outdoors is our canvas,” Hystad notes. “People desire to put down their cell phones, leave the world behind, and embrace nature in their own refuge.”  

It takes a visionary and a cadre of craftsman to create such extraordinary customized environments. When Hystad and his team start a project, they spend a great deal of time getting to know their clients. Chefs will want a place to cook while entertainers may want a stocked bar with all of the mixology tools. Pretty much anything that is done inside can come outside, from sleeping spaces, soaking tubs, outdoor movie theaters, to two story waterfalls and steam showers. Discovering personal preferences becomes the cornerstone of design that enables Hystad to exceed the homeowners’ expectation every time.   

“We seek to create a paradise on earth, colored with our clients’ priorities and the things that drive them,” Hystad explains.  “Whether they envision a Zen sanctuary or an entertainment hub, we bring in elements for the senses such as sound, light, music, and fire, that provide as much excitement or solitude as they desire.” 

Broadmoor residents, the Hocates, had a three-hour initial consultation with Hystad, reviewing everything from their interests to preferences in art and color. They landed on a 1,000 sq. ft., contemporary design that will be featured on Mega Decks. “Hystad really is an artist,” observes Melissa Hocate.  “He considers scale, form, color, and then paints a picture in his head.” 

Another couple longed for a tranquil space to connect with family and enjoy meals outdoors.  Mosaic created a water feature used for ambiance but also for practicality, growing edible plants. An imported Italian pizza oven allows the family to experience making their own healthy pizzas together, picking fresh herbs and baking it right there.

Essentially an extension of the living area, decks of this magnitude can significantly increase a home’s living space. While it can be a large investment, it pays dividends every day. Hystad’s creative use of hardscape allows the space to be enjoyed year round, even as thunderstorms roll in, or on wintery afternoons. Wind and weather are controlled through properly locating the deck, and using windbreaks and overhead structures. Pergolas and canopies create ceilings that protect from the elements, while retractable glass walls preserve the vista.

Features such as plants add color and texture while different levels of natural and ambient lighting using gas sconces, chandeliers and table lamps enhance the atmosphere. Elements like grass, stone, decking, and mulch serve as flooring, and hedges and fences form walls. Thanks to advances in all-weather materials, lounge furniture and accessories are just as fashionable and comfortable as any other room in the house. 

With companies like Mosaic taking backyard living to new dimensions, creating an outdoor retreat has moved to the top of many home improvement lists.  Not every project is made for Mega Deck T.V., but Hystad’s true measure of success is the size of his clients’ smile when they discover the ultimate escape is in their own backyard.