PHOTOS BY MICHAEL BARRETT
When Mike Marler of Outdoor Solutions of Mississippi is approached about a potential project, he takes a lot of things into account.
“We set up a time with the clients to talk about their wants and needs,” explains Mike. “We really take into account how the clients live and how they will use their space.” Outdoor Solutions of Mississippi is a company consisting of landscape architects and contractors. Since 2000, Mike and his team have been meticulously building outdoor spaces for residential clients, including pools, pool houses, landscaping, drainage solutions, retaining walls, and more. “If it’s outside, we cover it.”
When a young couple with two daughters approached Mike about creating an inviting outdoor space at their Brandon home, he first found out how they would use the space best. “The existing home was a traditional ranch house and the backyard was just a simple patio,” says Mike. “It was basically a blank slate for us.” Mike’s clients wanted a pool and pool house structure as well as additional garage space. “We designed a building that has a space for three-car parking on one side and an outdoor living space, bonus room, and kitchen on the pool side.”
Mike’s team was careful about tying the new addition into the existing house. The new roofline melds with the old in the form a breezeway. “As with any good design, we took cues from the existing architecture,” says Mike. “Our clients wanted the new space to fit with the house, but they also wanted it to fit exactly how they would live in the space. They gave us their parameters and we created a design based on those parameters.” The homeowners sought a place where they could relax, cook and be together. These parameters included a pool where they could swim laps and dive deep as well as a tanning ledge to relax in the water.
The style of the space proved rustic and warm. Natural stone creates texture throughout the design, including a natural stone coping that surrounds the pool. The swimming pool is surrounded by concrete pavers and features stone steps and planters that create a grade change from the pool to the pool house. The pool is outfitted with a dark hydrazzo finish. “We incorporated some nice extras into the pool design,” recalls Mike. “These include deck jets and bubblers in the tanning ledge and LED lights that add a special touch.” The landscape architects also incorporated plant material for an even more natural look. “There are some great evergreen shrubs, seasonal color and a variety of ornamental trees.”
A stacked stone fireplace in the pool house creates an inviting atmosphere and is topped off with a cypress mantle. The structure’s columns are crafted from reclaimed heart pine that Mike sourced from Plantation Millworks in Flora. The concrete floor is finished off with a polymer coating and the cabinets are solid and warm in stunning cypress. The outdoor kitchen’s island and backsplash tie in more stacked stone, further bringing the natural elements to light. The ceiling is the perfect complement to the natural elements, created from knotty pine tongue-and-groove boards.
When it comes to outdoor kitchens, this one has all the necessities and more. The Stainless Bull Gas Grill creates a space that’s perfect for entertaining or simply dining al fresco. With an inviting spa, this outdoor sanctuary is one that is truly the best of both worlds.