I had just pulled into the driveway last week and begun unloading a few tools after an exciting day of setting pool equipment and being engulfed in PVC glue fumes when it hit me, the unmistakable aroma of marinated meat being grilled by the next-door neighbor. That’s all it took to induce instant hunger pains. Despite possibly still being under the influence of the PVC fumes my brain had been triggered and realized that Summer was officially here!

I went into the “no way I’m going inside yet mode” and began setting up for a relaxing outdoor evening. I knew where my “safe space” would be tonight. Outside, with the soothing sound of water splashing in the background, an inviting grill nearby to ease the hunger pains, a screen for the game that was on soon, a comfortable sitting area to take it all in (and sit with the laptop finishing some pressing work!) and…. as the night cooled, a heat source if needed. My happy environment!!!

Once situated and sending grilling aromas back at my neighbor, I recalled what we always tell new clients whom have requested our design services, “Our goal is to create an environment that will make you want to stay outside”.


A fun goal but one which we live so want to share. Occasionally the clients have been exposed to outdoor living environments through media publications, TV or sometimes having been to a friend’s who had one, but always there is an excitement about what’s possible.

Food is a daily part of our lives so what better way to promote food and outdoor living than with an outdoor kitchen. Let’s make food fun! More often than not we have to educate clients as to what’s possible and available beyond the good old Weber grill. Pizza ovens, fridges, icemakers, and yes kegerators. Belly up bars, market lighting, overhead heaters, fire pits. If that doesn’t get them excited, they might need to visit a done one, in person and live it. I often find myself sharing experiences and what we can do with an outdoor kitchen and living space. Make your own pizza night, parties, great conversation, kicking back by the fireplace or pit, etc. A lifestyle change!! ( I don’t tell




them that people will want to stay all night, friends will drop by more often than before, and every team party they will get nominated for)

As exciting as the water shape part of any project is, the reality is the amount of time spent in the surrounding spaces far exceeds time spent in the water. As architects, designers and builders we have the opportunity to create those spaces that will change and influence client’s lifestyles on a daily basis and forever. Happiness is getting that text on a Saturday night that says “we love our yard and our kids think it’s a resort!”

I remember my first trip to Cabo San Lucas which was slightly motivated by the grand opening of the Cabo Wabo Cantina. Everybody was happy everywhere I went (not just from cervezas and tequila!) I left thinking I need to figure out how I can work in an environment LIKE this. Well, indirectly I did and we all do. Creating Outdoor environments that make clients feel like they are on vacation every day. Feel good spaces, friend and family gathering spaces, cooking and bbqing and outside. Priceless…

Marco Perella

Marco Design Group