Having gone way beyond the California room, indoor-outdoor flow is in demand, even in places far, far away from the Golden State. Buyers of all types want it. Communities offering houses that bring the outside in and take the inside out live bigger, sell better, and deliver a style of life that homeowners crave.

One Way Out This lot has a fence on both sides with two small pieces of courtyard out back. There’s space in that backyard, but limited access to it: You can’t get there except by going through the garage or out the front door and around the house. 
One Way Out This lot has a fence on both sides with two small pieces of courtyard out back. There’s space in that backyard, but limited access to it: You can’t get there except by going through the garage or out the front door and around the house. 


But land is expensive. To create cost-effective homes with outdoor space, you’ve got to maximize the lot. Yet if the house and its outdoor space are designed incorrectly, prospective buyers will find themselves cheek by jowl with the neighboring house. The result, of course, is no sale.

The first plan has a small, 10-foot-wide yard with a concrete patio. There are limited windows onto the yard, and limited ways to reach it. The family room next to the kitchen isn’t taking advantage of potential indoor-outdoor connections.

The second plan is set within the same lot setback lines. The living room, dining room, porch, and owner’s bedroom have been moved to the usable side of the house, which has been opened up with windows. The porch is in the middle of house, so both family room and kitchen connect to the outdoors. The outdoor space is an enclosed patio that’s sheltered.

Outside Job This entire plan is oriented to the courtyard, with a 15-foot side yard that has a 5-foot use easement with landscaping, pavers for drainage, and a swimming pool. Additional windows bring the outside in.
Outside Job This entire plan is oriented to the courtyard, with a 15-foot side yard that has a 5-foot use easement with landscaping, pavers for drainage, and a swimming pool. Additional windows bring the outside in.


The side of the house facing the adjoining lot has to provide privacy. Here, it’s a blank wall with few windows. There is a window in the stair landing, which lets daylight in without compromising privacy. On the blank-wall side of the lot is a 5-foot use easement for the adjacent property, which makes way for the same pool, landscaping, and enclosed patio setup on the lot next door. This continues down the line so that each yard gets an extra 50 percent of usable outdoor space.