Outdoor Spaces 2013

Decorating a home is often about bringing the outside in, but when you’re designing a luxurious outdoor space, you strive for the opposite.

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This serene home near Table Rock Lake is much more than a cozy vacation spot for Alex Keller and her two kids—it’s their own private retreat from the rest of the world. Embraced by rolling hills and a sea of wild flowers, the sleepy lake house offers the family a chance to embrace their love of outdoors.

Keller and her kids spend summer weekends jumping off the dock and buzzing around on Jet Skis, and during the fall, the family visits to watch the leaves change. 

The outdoor space, complete with an outdoor kitchen, pergola, brick patio and plush seating, has become a second living space for Keller, her family and friends. “It’s a place for us to escape,” Keller says. “We have a lot of friends that we call family, and ever since we bought the lake house, we find more and more friends,” she says, laughing.

In the planning of the space, Keller wanted to make sure the final product would blend in with  the beauty of native surroundings. She wanted a space that blended into the tall natural grasses and bright wildflowers and offered her family and friends a cozy spot to relax. The end result is a place that flirts with the natural beauty of the surrounding foliage and accents the relaxing atmosphere of the open-air retreat.—Ettie Berneking


The Red Brick Road: Brick steps and a walkway lead to Alex Keller’s gorgeous outdoor space, which offers views of Table Rock Lake. 

Going Natural: As an active, outdoorsy girl herself, Keller knew she wanted to create an outdoor space that didn’t look super-clean and polished. Part of what attracted her to the rolling hills around Table Rock Lake was the abundance of natural beauty that covered the ground. Thanks to the work of the Obelisk Home team and Nate Luke, the space’s design features landscaping that mixes natural flowers and prairie grasses with potted plants and bushes. The tall grasses and flowers that hug the property change colors throughout the seasons, which gives the lake house a fresh look every few months. Keller’s favorite times to visit the house are during the spring and summer months when the hills are bursting with vivid colors and bright flowers are in full bloom.

Hillside Picnic: Not wanting to disturb the serene hillside behind the house, Keller wanted the patio to blend into the surrounding native landscape. But with a family who loves to grill, she also wanted to have the appropriate amenities included in the patio. When adding on a grill and kitchen area, Keller included a gas fireplace, which is one of the few features of the outdoor kitchen that doesn’t wholly embrace a more natural approach. But for Keller, gas also means less fuss. “I do a lot of backpacking and hiking, so when I’m down there relaxing, the last thing I want to do is build a fire,” she says.

 Lounge Seating: When working with Obelisk Home to design and furnish her outdoor space, home owner Alex Keller wanted to install plenty of 

417 Home: Describe your outdoor space in five words or less.
Alex Keller: Nature-conscious, relaxing, sunny, family-friendly, comfortable.

417: How do you use your outdoor space?
A.K.: It has been used primarily for gatherings of family and friends and for cookouts. The whole idea is a nature scape. The patio is in concert with the natural setting, and you’re surrounded by all the wildlife.

417: If you could only have one flower in your outdoor space, what would it be? 
A.K.: I think I would choose the purple cone flower. I really enjoy that in my landscape plan, and it persists outside of my space and into the natural landscape. It has a nice way of flowing with the surrounding environment.

417: If you had to tell someone one way to make their outdoor space more livable, what would you suggest?
A.K.: Simplify. Keep it simple and clean with fresh lines and beautiful colors. The outdoors are beautiful as they are.

Resource Listing

Design: Obelisk Home
214 W. Phelps St., Springfield, 417-616-6488, obeliskhome.com

Landscaping: Native Scapes
871 W. Paddington Dr., Nixa,  417-379-3786,  nativescape landscaping.com

Hardscape, Stone Patio, Fireplace, Grill Area:  Nixa Lawn Service
Nixa,  417-724-0318,  nixalawnservice.com

Pergola:  Miller Woodworks
Nixa,  417-425-1731

Pergola Staining:  Brad Ball,  Ball Painting Inc.
Nixa, 417-880-4369


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