Outdoor Space Planning at Blog Cabin 2015

Find out how breathtaking views, a hot tub and native plants enhance these inviting outdoor living spaces.

DIY Network Blog Cabin 2015, a modern mountain retreat in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, during the framing phase of construction.

Photo by: Joey James

Joey James

By: Peter Walsh

The outside spaces of the home are just as important as the inside rooms especially when there is a mountain or lake view to consider. DIY Network's Blog Cabin 2015 sits on eight acres of sloped land that overlooks Coeur d’Alene Lake nestled in the western foothills of the Rocky Mountains.

Around the Area

Other than being a dreamy destination and the home to Blog Cabin 2015, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, is a town full of rich history and loads of lively recreation.

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Just 30 minutes from Spokane, Washington, the area was known for mining and logging and is currently home to about 44,000 people. Today, a booming summer tourism industry and winter sports business calls for an increased demand in lodging. 

Visitors are attracted to the stunning views as are the local residents like the ones who will inhabit Blog Cabin 2015 and call it home. To enhance the outdoor experience, it’s important to create living spaces that make the flow from the inside of the house to outside easy and natural. “We wanted to make the indoor and outdoor spaces accessible and easy to use,” says Laurie March, design coordinator for Blog Cabin 2015.

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To that end, three levels of decks offer outdoor living. The top level is designated as an outdoor living room complete with a weather resistant TV and couch. “We’re using furniture that can hold up to the weather,” explains Laurie. Choices like resin wicker furniture could be a good fit, because it takes a beating and still looks fresh. “You don’t have to worry about these pieces,” she says. “They hold up well with this climate.”

The second level is dominated by an outdoor dining area, while the lower level off the game room offers an area for a possible grill station as well as access to a lounging area and nearby bathroom.

One of the additions this year that I'm most excited about is the hot tub area. It's a wonderful special addition to a property like this. 
Laurie March, Design Coordinator

Around the side of the house is a hot tub area that offers a quiet moment away from the hustle and bustle of active children. The tub is positioned with a view of the lake and the sunset, and has a changing area with access to a bathroom. “It’s on the other side of the house from the game room right below the master bedroom so it offers a nice separation from the activity,” adds Laurie.

The main patio of the house is paved with the Idaho diamond stone veneer that was removed from the exterior of the foundation, says Dylan Eastman, build and design manager for Blog Cabin 2015. Local boulders and basalt, a volcanic rock that is prevalent in this area of the country, will make up the hardscape elements.

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Native plantings, indigenous to the area, will be used to keep the maintenance of the property in check. “There will be no manicured lawn or sod,” says Dylan. The build and design team plans to use local landscaping choices and design outdoor spaces that work with the environment.

Pine and fir trees abound on this sloping property harkening back to the logging days of the area. Natural wild grasses that require no mowing and wave in the breeze, mingle with wild raspberry bushes, spritely mint, blueberry bushes and stands of tasty thimbleberry.



Raspberries and other produce are found blooming on property.

©Photography by Dylan Eastman

Photography by Dylan Eastman

The previous owners had planted a fruit orchard on the property, which was neglected but has since been brought back to order. “While walking on the path, you can reach up and grab a plum,” says Laurie. “There’s a respect for the ecosystem here,” adding that flowers bloom here and there in their natural setting.

The summer season on Coeur d’Alene Lake is a beautiful time of year, lasting a few months. Once the waterskis and canoes are put away for the season, there’s still plenty of great weather to enjoy.

To extend the seasons, starting earlier in the spring and lasting long into the fall, Dylan will incorporate fire pits and propane heaters to the patio spaces to warm the cool, mountain air.

Next Up

Adding On: What You Need to Know

Taking a home from 3,700 square feet to 4,000 square feet is no easy task. The build team of Blog Cabin 2015 share how they tackle this complex project.

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