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How to Create the Perfect Outdoor Room: An Interview with Christa Melton of the Melton Design Group and Outdoor Trunk

By Christa Melton

Please tell us a little bit about your company and the services you offer.

Melton Design Group, or MDG, is a full-service landscape architecture and planning firm. Greg Melton leads a team of landscape architect professionals in this exciting new era of landscape design. MDG specializes in parks and recreation design, public works, agritourism, commercial and residential projects. We integrate the latest in design technologies as well as understanding your personal vision.

Where can homeowners start getting ideas for their new/renovated outdoor room?

Well our website in a good start. We have a portfolio of residential designs we have completed that might spark an idea for your own outdoor room.

What are some of the most popular outdoor design features that people want in Northern California?

Bocce ball courts seem to be a trendy design feature that many clients request. Outdoor kitchens, outdoor fireplaces and drought-tolerant plants also top the list. Because we are in a drought in California, designs that feature low water use is necessary and important for our environment. We have an environmental department that specializes in water management without compromising the design.

How do you help homeowners bring their vision for an outdoor living space to life?

One of the most important things we do at our design firm is listen to our clients. The only way to bring your true vision to life is through understanding all the elements the client desires. Your outdoor space is an extension of your living space and should be treated like you are designing an indoor room with all the necessities.

What are some of the biggest challenges involved with creating the perfect outdoor room?

Hands down the biggest challenge is getting clients to understand the relationship between the use of different elements in your design. The biggest mistake people make is not having a plan and using materials that do not work together. They add on in pieces without having the total vision. It's okay to do your project in stages, but have a master plan to guarantee that all the elements work together.

Do you have any design advice for people who are renovating or remodeling an outdoor living space?

Visualize how you want to use the space, do you want a Zen retreat? Do you entertain lots? Do you want your space family friendly? Make a list of all the features you want your landscape to include. It's also very important for you landscape to work with the style of your home as the indoors and the outdoors should complement each other and be one continuous space.

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