Cal West News

More outdoor living spaces and trends
By Pat Setter, The San Diego Union Tribune

In beautiful San Diego, where it’s a perfect setting to spend time outside, more designs, styles and products are helping bring outdoor comfort home. In addition to the trends “Home Pride” shared previously — outdoor rooms, outdoor kitchens, the role of vertical structures in outdoor living and changes to landscape designs — builders and buyers alike are embracing other popular outdoor living features.

Special amenities increasingly make the great outdoors more comfortable. Water features including fountains, waterfalls, cascading ponds and rain showers add ambiance and negate unwanted external noise. Fire features from custom wood-burning fire pits and fireplaces to natural gas fireplaces also boost the character of outdoor living spaces. These products add warmth and expand the use and enjoyment of such spaces.

Today’s time-crunched homeowners will appreciate low-maintenance landscaping and outdoor materials. Houzz, the online community for sharing design, décor and remodeling information, recently pointed out that new homes include less sod and more planting beds with low-maintenance plants than before, while artificial grass or golf greens sometimes replace real grass. Composite decking and fencing are becoming increasingly popular versus wood alternatives.

Houzz also identified additional trends such as edible landscapes and well-lit landscapes. Today’s yards are more likely to blend edible and ornamental plants for a beautiful yet delicious landscape. Modern outdoor living is also more likely to include customized lighting that adds ambiance and allows homeowners to enjoy outdoor living after dark.

Many San Diego builders are enthusiastically including outdoor living in new home plans.

Civita has embraced indoor-outdoor living in both residential architecture and community design. Civita designs blur the distinction between exterior and interior with enticing outdoor spaces. Some Civita neighborhoods offer homes with multiple outdoor living areas while builders such as Ryland Homes offer Civita designs featuring an outdoor entertaining area off the second-floor great room and a secluded ground floor patio.

At Civita’s Lucent, Shea Homes San Diego offers single-level and two-story condominiums merging living areas with the outdoors via expansive walls of glass or penthouses featuring spacious outdoor decks with fireplaces.

Local real estate development and investment company Zephyr has multiple projects taking full advantage of San Diego’s stellar weather by seamlessly incorporating indoor-outdoor living.

“The modern family in San Diego is one that is active, outdoors, constantly moving and flowing through the home,” said Chris Buecler, Zephyr’s chief operating officer. “Zephyr homes are designed for livability.”

Two Zephyr Signature Neptune homes near Beacons surf spot encapsulate life at the beach while two Zephyr Signature Coronado homes boast the best aspects of coastal living. These four-bedroom properties offer a cadre of amenities such as indoor-outdoor living spaces, patios or balconies, and disappearing walls that bring the outside in.

Zephyr’s Summerhouse is a community of ocean view condominiums promising Carlsbad’s casual yet elegant beach lifestyle. They feature disappearing La Cantina doors onto large private balconies with expansive lagoon and ocean views available. The community will host its grand opening on Saturday. For information, visit

At Kingston at Del Sur, Standard Pacific creatively places outdoor living spaces throughout homes to maximize light and openness. Select designs offer an interior courtyard with optional fireplace while dual “Del Sur Rooms” extend living space into the backyard. Even the upstairs private master bedroom wing offers a spacious deck with optional fireplace. For more information, visit

At Brookfield Residential’s Palo Verde in Carlsbad, homeowners enjoy coastal breezes from the comfort of their own courtyard or covered outdoor room. Bi-fold doors make movement from the great room to the outdoors effortless. To learn more, call (888) 632-2897.

Nearby San Diego neighborhoods Descanso and Brookfield Sentinels, both at Del Sur, also demonstrate Brookfield’s dedication to indoor-outdoor living via covered outdoor rooms, loggias, romantic courtyard spaces, optional master decks and more. For details, visit

California West’s luxury communities of Southern Preserve in La Costa, Carlsbad and Upper Cielo in Rancho Santa Fe offer multiple floor plans with indoor and outdoor living spaces perfect for dining, entertaining and lounging.

Southern Preserve’s 49 personalized residences include a fireplace in each outdoor living space to provide a warm, inviting ambiance. The 41 custom-inspired residences of Upper Cielo have an optional outdoor observation deck that can provide intimate connection with the panoramic surroundings of homes there. To learn more about both communities, visit and

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