As the world stays home this spring, outdoor living space becomes more cherished. Patios, lawns and gardens give families more space, as well as pleasant settings for grilling out and spending time together. When the world seems crazy, what’s more comforting than your own backyard?

Clay pavers give outdoor living space definition and functionality, whether it’s cozy casual furniture, outdoor kitchens, kid toys or a meandering walk in the garden.

International landscape designer Sally Pagliai of Studio Pagliai loves our pavers. She specifies all kinds of exotic hardscapes, but finds classic clay brick to be a great value that works great with formal or casual settings.

outdoor living space

Designer Sally Pagliai takes a minute to enjoy her Fountain Garden design. Photo: Daniel Ray.

“Pavers are beautiful and timeless,” said Pagliai. “And they’re durable and less expensive than bluestone or limestone, but you get a really wonderful product without having to break the bank.”

Pagliai almost always goes with dry laid installations (no mortar) for residential applications.

“I find it more gardenesque,” said Pagliai.

In historic Fisher Park in Greensboro, NC, Pagliai worked with a homeowner whose backyard was practically non-existent and what of it there was, had serious drainage problems that even affected the client’s brick house.

“Her back garden was really no back garden,” remembers Pagliai.  “Four feet off the back of the home was a retaining wall and a narrow sidewalk. The area always damp and moldy…a poor original grading decision.”

Studio Pagliai, working with New Earth Landscaping, came up with a grading and drainage solution—including swales and catch basins—for functionality. They removed the original retaining wall and created more a of a “canvas” for design.

Then, Pagliai sat down with the homeowner to discover what was most important to them.

“I have a standard questionnaire, asking what they envision–goals, do they have children, do they have pets, favorite colors…” said Pagliai. “Do they like to entertain outside? It’s all the data you like to start with to design for lifestyles.”

Steps into outdoor living space

Studio Pagliai designed a lush traditional garden in the Fisher Park district of Greensboro. Photo: Daniel Ray.

Pagliai learned that the owner loved the sound of running water and didn’t want much maintenance.

From a garden perspective this meant not a whole lot of perennials no plants that grow bigger than you want.

Brick pavers resonated with the owner as much as the designer. And it was a natural choice, because the home itself is brick. The specially curated design called for elements of a formal garden with low maintenance environmentally conscious plants.

fountain in outdoor living space

The fountain is central to the patio space.

With the drainage nightmare under control, ADDING a little water made sense, too. Pagliai designed a stone wall with a classic lion head fountain with the soothing sound of water flowing into a small pool.

Using Pine Hall Brick English Edge Autumn pavers, the team placed an elliptical patio space beside the water feature. With some upholstered seating, it’s like having a den outside, nestled in a lush, secluded botanical garden.

And the finished design truly is “at home.”

Outdoor living space creates a hideaway from the world

A poorly graded backyard was transformed into a beautiful secluded garden space. Photo: Daniel Ray.

Outdoor living space as an extension of the home

“It’s a historic home and the owner had very traditional tastes that you could see in the furnishings, textures and colors around the home,” said Pagliai. This led us to a more classic, formal style.”

This shows in the symmetry of the space.

“It’s a perfect oval shape,” said Pagliai. “Curves worked better than straight lines. I tend to use soft right angles and curves. The owner was a single woman so it’s a more feminine garden.”

The Autumn color runs a gamut from lighter to darker reds. The finished effect on a patio is rich and earthy. With English Edge pavers, the patio is timeless and right at home in the century-old residential district.

outdoor living space

The classic Fisher Park home’s patio leads you to the Fountain Garden. Photo: Daniel Ray.

Timeless, indeed. Because a few years later, the original owners moved. Pagliai checked in on the new residents.

They loved their “Fountain Garden,” too, but also thought it could use a touch up. Pagliai offered to do some new planting and cleaning in exchange for a professional photo shoot by photographer Daniel Ray. His work is shown here in this post.

Outdoor living space adds value to any home, both for resale and simply enjoying staying at home. With a space like this Fisher Park Fountain Garden, why go out?

(All photos: Daniel Ray.)