Outside the Lines

Thanks to local experts and products with smart technology and high design, when it comes to indoor-outdoor living, no place does it better.

As interior designer Jaque Bethke worked on this spec home in North Scottsdale, she knew the home’s backyard had to be a focal point. “The lot has limited views,” says Bethke, who is with PURE Design Environments (7 Sundial Circle, Ste. 5, Carefree, puredesignlife.com). She worked with Platinum Companies (7400 E. Pinnacle Peak Road, Ste. 106, Scottsdale, platinumcompanies.com) on the project. “We had to create our own views, focusing on the actual house. The back had to be a self-contained oasis for entertaining.” A serene pool with an integrated spa anchors the outdoor living area. Two deep, wood-clad overhangs set on steel posts shade the patio off the great room and kitchen, creating space for lounging. Bethke furnished the outdoor spaces with curvy pieces that soften the home’s geometric design, using pops of orange and green to enliven the setting. Not long after the house was completed, it was sold. “The buyers kept all the furniture,” says Bethke. “They loved it.”  

After a new owner purchased architect Will Bruder’s iconic, late 1990s Hummingbird house, he asked landscape architect Allison Colwell to update outdoor spaces for the Paradise Valley home, set on a steep hillside. “This is an important house, architecturally,” says Colwell, of Colwell Shelor Landscape Architecture. “We worked with the same patterns, scale and forms.” In addition to hillside revegetating, Colwell designed a private patio between the master and guest bedrooms, where the owner could relax and allow his small dog to be outside. To cope with steep dropoff, she designed a series of dog-friendly grass-lined steps that lead down to a new acid-etched concrete and aggregate patio. Following the lines of the home’s curvilinear metal-clad and block walls enclosing the space, she also created a series of curved metal and concrete planter beds, filled with sculptural desert plants like totem cactus and agaves. Colwell encircled the courtyard with patinaed steel pipe fencing, which maintains mountain views, but keeps coyotes out. As the pièce de résistance, Colwell commissioned artist Mayme Kratz to design a resin gabion wall, which glows warmly at dusk. 4450 N. 12th St., Ste. 228, Phoenix

Photo by Bill Timmerman


While builder Dominick Abatemarco of MRA Custom Homes (10559 N. 119th Place, Scottsdale) renovated his Phoenix townhouse, designed by the noted modernist architect Al Beadle, he also focused on outdoor living spaces. For help, Abatemarco turned to Scottsdale landscape architect Jeff Berghoff of Berghoff Design Group (7000 E. McDowell Road, Ste. 100, Scottsdale). “The courtyard and backyard were small, narrow spaces,” Berghoff says. “We basically started with a clean slate.” Berghoff created an axial design, visible from front to back, thanks to the home’s glass walls, providing a seamless flow. Cantera stone pavers underscore the entry courtyard, made lush with hedges and potted plants. More cantera paving makes an appearance in the 22-foot-wide backyard, where Berghoff managed to place a 40-foot-long pool, lounge space, dining area and barbecue kitchen. He screened pool equipment with a decorative concrete wall and obscured the sounds and sight of an adjacent road with gurgling pool bubblers and more clipped hedges. A specimen ironwood tree shades the lounge area, while a collection of architectural stone spheres creates a focal point at the pool’s end. “This is our homage to Luis Barragán, the Mexican architect,” Berghoff says. “It’s all about the planes, the walls, the spheres, which make the space look larger.”

Photo by Wesley Johnson 

Said to resemble mushrooms or jellyfish, these Mucidule cocktail tables by renowned French designers Antoine Fritsch and Vivien Durisotti are highlights of Roche Bobois’ new spring collection. Their bases, made of lacquered steel, swirl up from the ground like roots, and the irregular-shaped acrylic glass surfaces with subtle striped patterns represent beautiful imperfections found in nature. From $1,355, 15530 N. Greenway Hayden Loop, Ste. 100, Scottsdale



What’s the secret to designing the perfect landscape?

“The best landscapes relate to the natural landscape context and then transition seamlessly to more lush and non-native plants closer to the home. If the home is in a more urban or developed setting, then the most successful landscapes take visual cues from the architecture to frame views, and create defined outdoor rooms as extensions of the interior spaces.” –Dale Gardon, principal, Dale Gardon Design, 20855 N. 90th Place, Scottsdale


One of the wood-frame choices available for CC Patio’s new custom-order Ocean set is bubinga, which is not only intensely durable, but also features an exotic red hue. The set, which is also customizable with various upholstery options, includes a love seat, coffee table, two club chairs and an end table. The only things missing are the sand, umbrellas and pina coladas. Set from $4,850, 7001 E. McDowell Road, Scottsdale


When a couple with young children built a Santa Barbara-style home in Arcadia, they asked Scottsdale landscape architect Russell Greey to develop a garden where the family could play, relax and entertain. One of their favorite spots soon became the gracious dining arbor. “We created a freestanding dining space off the kitchen,” says Greey, a principal of Greey/Pickett, “right near the patio’s seating area.” He anchored the space with a curved, stone wall, inset with a Mexican tile fountain, which also serves to block views of the neighbor’s house. Greey then repeated the wall’s arched line in the design of a handforged hammered steel arbor that shelters the dining area, paved in a ruglike pattern of Saltillo and cantera stone tiles. To one side, a grill and pizza oven set into a concrete countertop make up the outdoor kitchen. For now, the arbor is covered in natural bamboo shading, which eventually will give way to a covering of pink trumpet vines planted at the post bases. Bradford pears add more blooms to the arbor, as does fragrant Arabian jasmine. Hanging flower baskets and bistro lights finish off the space, which invites lingering dinners at the long table. 7144 E. Stetson Drive, Ste. 205, Scottsdale

Photo by Samuel Rosenbaum Photography


Artist Alex Mason transferred designs from her canvas paintings and placed them on punchy, new outdoor pillows for her textile company, Ferrick Mason, to make Mr. Rowe, with its graphic design and handmade painterly feel, and Criss Cross, a playful yet sophisticated take on a simple doodle. The acrylic pillows come in a variety of colors, including pink, yellow, green and black, adding a pop to any outdoor ensemble. From $200, John Brooks Inc., 2712 N. 68th St., Scottsdale



What’s the best way to get a perfect, usable pool space? 

”Homeowners in the Valley often settle for poor design and lack of integration with the balance of the yard and architectural style of the house. The solution is comprehensive design and client input. The more a client engages in the design and construction process, the better the project.”–Michael Rockwell, landscape architect, Azul-Verde Design Group, 7020 E. Bella Vista Drive, Cave Creek