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Take it Outside

Life is better when it's lived outside.

There are many ways to spend time outdoors, whether basking in the sun, playing in the shade, roasting S'mores while gathering around the fire pit, or grilling and lounging with family and friends on the patio. A few readers shared their favorite ways their families enjoy their outdoor living spaces. 

Custom-designed outdoor spaces offer an opportunity to spend time together in the fresh air and can provide a much-needed break for the summer. "There is a growing trend for families looking for ways to make the most of their outdoor living spaces," said Brian Pfotenhauer, Kirkwood resident and owner of Timberline Landscapes. "Patios, decks, and gardens have become popular destinations for family gatherings, meals, and activities. Beyond beautiful greenery and blooms bursting with color, outdoor landscaping can completely transform the form and function of your home and your quality of life."

After Brian's team helped Justin and Elizabeth Rancour expand their outdoor living space with multiple entertaining areas, Justin became inspired to build wooden Adirondack rocking chairs to welcome friends and family around their new fire pit.  

Webster Groves family Pete and Kelly Sadlo, wanted an outdoor space big enough for their three daughters to hang out with friends, complete with an outdoor kitchen and built-in gas grill. "It was Pete's idea to include the gas lamps around the patio wall," noted Brad Furfaro, landscape architect at Timberline, who designed three distinct conversation areas perfect for entertaining large groups or sweet conversations with Kelly and her girls. 

When Lou and Amy Fehr wanted to connect with the lush natural landscape surrounding their historic home, Brad created an award-winning backyard design that complemented the home's architecture and neighborhood characteristics while customizing a natural backyard oasis. 

It's all about the kids, the neighbors, friends, and family for Kirkwood residents Ed and Joy Hennessy. A large outdoor kitchen flanks their expansive landscaped patio wall on one end and a cozy fire pit conversation area on the other, offering endless entertaining options.

Erin and Bill completely transformed the entire perimeter of their home with a stone wall along the front sidewalk and a picturesque pergola that serves as a gateway to a playful private backyard. The Zimmerman's landscaping along the yard's edges provides privacy and protection from soccer balls rolling into the streets. And brightly colored flowers that adorn O'Gara's front porch welcome folks to stop in and pull up a chair. 

"Our home is in Kirkwood and our office is in Webster Groves, so it's important to us to create outdoor spaces that are functional for individual families and enhance the uniqueness of each neighborhood," said Brian. "Every design is different."