Interior rooms are defined by their walls, ceilings, and floors. In like manner, outdoor spaces can be interpreted as having walls, ceilings, and floors. The functions and materials of these components of the outdoor room are shown in Table 9-1.
Materials should be selected for the outdoor room with an idea of the function they will serve and the way they will fit in with the others being used. Improper design decisions can often be avoided by application of the outdoor room concept. For example, shrubs will not be planted in the middle of a lawn if the action is compared to placing a piece of wall in the center of the room instead of at the edge, where walls are meant to be.
The suitability of certain materials will become clearer as their functions are more precisely defined. For example:
• Is the wall material to block a view, frame a view, divert the wind, dilute the wind, separate areas but not block the view, or offer security?
Is the ceiling to offer full or partial shade, block a view from above, create an intimate or a lofty effect, offer protection from rainfall, or merely to suggest the upper limits of the room?
figure 9-9. Outdoor uses that repeat those of indoor areas make this a recognizable room. (Delmar/Cengage Learning)
• Is the floor to support vehicle traffic, pedestrians, pets, or no traffic? Will it be next to an exit or in areas of less traffic? Will it be subject to staining, heat, or ice and snow?
• Other questions will need to be answered as the design progresses:
• What colors or textures are important to match or complement as the outdoor room materials are selected?
• How available are the desired materials and at what price?
• How immediate is the effect to be?
• How much maintenance is required and how much is the client prepared to do?
Begin to study outdoor rooms to determine the wall, ceiling, and
floor components (Figures 9-7 to 9-9).