Two families share how they created outdoor spaces for myriad needs.

Making Connections

Winter, spring, summer, fall-Annette and Kevin Schlessel and their three teenagers find plenty of fun and relaxation in their award-winning outdoor space at their home in Dublin. Annette attributes this passion for outdoor living to her Dutch upbringing and her family's garden-loving roots.

"On nice days, we throw open the doors, and it's one big extension of the house." In the spring, she welcomes flowering bulbs (inspired by the Netherlands, of course). In the summer, the family begins Saturday mornings on the screened patio and ends the day in the hot tub. In the fall, they often gather around the fireplace after dinner on the patio. And, even in winter, Annette continues her daily checks on the fish in their koi pond and takes in landscape views from the kitchen, which is intentionally positioned to overlook the backyard.

The Schlessels built their home in 2004 and called on Hidden Creek Landscaping to install hardscapes and expand on Annette's initial landscaping. Today, the multi-room space features a 600-square-foot travertine patio, a monumental stone fireplace, two pergolas, an octagonal spa area, a 30-foot koi pond with a floating pathway, a furnished screened porch and lush landscaping accented with LED lights.

Travertine flooring: The Schlessels were drawn to the travertine tiles at Hidden Creek's display at The Columbus Dispatch Home & Garden Show. "We liked the natural stone look and the fact that they don't get hot under foot in the summer," Annette says. Pergolas: Two substantial pergolas connect the home's existing screened porch to the new fireplace, patio and spa areas. "We wanted multiple spaces with a cohesive, not hodgepodge, look," Annette says. Koi pond: The lush landscaping, trickling waterfall and accent lighting makes the patio-side koi pond a focal point day and night. Stone fireplace: The Schlessels chose a wood-burning fireplace with a gas burner to make fire-starting easier. "We wanted to enjoy wood fires but not have to work too hard at it." Inside Out

At a newly renovated home in Worthington, a couple loved hosting large gatherings in their elaborate lower level but wanted to take the party outdoors on nice days.

"The lower level was outfitted with three 80-inch TVs, a theater room, bar and golf simulator, but the adjoining outdoor space was just a Plain-Jane patio," says Jason Phillips of Phillips Custom Builds, who renovated the home's interior and outdoor spaces. "So, when we reworked the outdoor space, we repeated many of the design elements from indoors."

Tuscan-style arched columns, a coffered ceiling and large bar are among the interior-like treatments for the expanded 1,400-square-foot paver patio. They also added a grilling space, professional-grade putting green and an enhanced fire pit overlooking the property's creek. To furnish the space, the couple turned to Leann Snyder Interiors, who suggested weather-resistant upholstered furnishings arranged to take in various views. Erin Hendricks Garden Design and Agroscapes added to those views by revamping the sloped landscaping and designing a one-of-a-kind wall fountain.

With the project now complete, these Buckeyes fans are ready for game-day parties-rain or shine.

Fountain: A blank wall gets a facelift with this eye-catching stone fountain and vertical plantings. Architectural details: Stone arches and a coffered ceiling are interior elements recreated in weather-proof composite materials. Putting green: A 9-foot putting green features professional-grade turf.