Outdoor Living with Elevated Style


Traxler 1Good design and an eye for detail can make any backyard into a luxurious retreat.

And that luxurious retreat is precisely what David and Dana Traxler of the Eastover community of Jackson were looking for as they worked with Mike Marler, landscape architect with Outdoor Solution of Mississippi, LLC, in Brandon.

“All residential design is very personal,” Marler said. “It is the personal touches that drives a lot of the design elements. You know how you live and use your outdoor space now, and what you want to be able to do in the future. The key is to design around your life to make things beautiful and efficient.”

This project in the Eastover community took about a year and was created in conjunction with an addition to the existing home. It was important to everyone involved for the outdoor space to reflect the style and design elements of the home. As part of the landscape design project, some of the outdoor design elements important to the Traxlers included a swimming pool and spa area, an outdoor kitchen, elevated lawn terraces, expansion of the driveway and guest parking space in the front lawn, a firepit by the lake area and specialty paving and gorgeous landscaping.

Traxler-0019-“When you are designing an outdoor living space, it is important to have a good spacial relationship between the indoor living space and the outdoor space you are trying to create,” Marler said. “There has to be a connection between how they live and move inside the home and how they will use the outdoor space.”

The outdoor kitchen is a prime example of expanding the indoor living space to the outdoors. The outdoor kitchen at this home is designed as an extension of the indoor kitchen. Marler said the Traxlers had been shopping for quite a while for their “dream outdoor kitchen,” which is complete with granite countertops, a canopy for shaded grilling, and a refrigerator, icemaker and grills within easy access. The outdoor space allows the family to easily create meals and entertain from one expanded location.

The swimming pool is another excellent example of outdoor lifestyle design. The 14’ x 60’ pool is four and a half feet deep, specially designed so Mr. Traxler can swim laps. The pool features a tanning ledge as well as the opportunity to place furniture in the water for tanning purposes. Sockets in the pool floor allow for umbrellas over the submerged furniture.

A focal point on the other end of the pool is the hot tub — a feature the whole family can enjoy, but it is located so the master bedroom has immediate access.

From the inside of the home, the orientation of the swimming pool and the vanishing edge draws the eye to the lake at the edge of the property. One side of the pool also serves as a retaining wall. The landscape has an eight-foot elevation change, providing outstanding views of the lake from every angle.

On a lower elevation, specialty paving spacers create a design that is repeated near the lake. Patio loungers and umbrellas at this elevation provide extra seating and tanning options.

Marler’s favorite feature of this project is the firepit area at the edge of the lake. The graphic paving spacers and Brazilian hardwood elements are repeated throughout the backyard design, giving the entire project a more cohesive look and feel. This is the lowest elevation of the project and this is the view that can be best seen from every angle. Marler said the firepit is another gathering space for entertaining and relaxation.

“And having this space is another reason to be drawn to the water’s edge,” Marler said. “The varying elevation levels can present a challenge in the landscape, but it can also provide nice views.”Traxler3

The front lawn design is tailored around a live oak tree, providing shade and elegant Southern charm to the space. While challenging, Marler said the front lawn design improves the functionality of the driveway for guests and provides improved access to the garage and front door.

Much of the plant materials used at this home come from the Southern Living Plant Collection. The collection consists of plants that function best in Southern climates, including intense Mississippi summers. River rocks were also used throughout the landscape to handle surface water for rainy Mississippi winters and springs.

And underneath the entire project is a labyrinth of water, drainage and lighting details, so that even the massive potted plants on the poolside patio are placed over water reservoirs that will drain into the lake instead of creating excess water on the concrete surface.

“Every detail has been thought out to provide the best possible solutions to meet the clients’ needs and fit the space,” Marler said. “Every detail has been put into place to make the outdoor space as livable and relaxed an aesthetic as possible.”

Marler said he thoroughly enjoyed working with the Traxler family on their outdoor living space design project. Marler says residential landscape design is very personal and having a good, easy working relationship with the client is important. He shares a few tips for working with a landscape architect to create an outdoor space that meets the wants and needs of the client and best suits the space available:

  • Have a good grasp of what you would like to do with the space. Will you be entertaining? Will it be more of a space for private family enjoyment?
  • Marler said outdoor spaces create emotions. It is always good for a client to understand what they are looking for in an outdoor space. How do they want to feel?
  • Having photos or magazine clippings of outdoor spaces that you love is important to give the designer an idea of style and preference.
  • Have a realistic budget. Know what you want to spend and be flexible on how the photos translate into a realistic plan financially.

For more information about this and other outdoor design projects, contact Marler at Outdoor Solutions of Mississippi, LLC, at (601) 706-7660.

See this story in the May/June edition of Mississippi Magazine! 20150513132329_00001

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