A waterfront project installed by Vista Pro features a bench positioned to take in the garden. © James Landot

Ask the Pros: Landscape Design

Advice on designing the perfect home by the bay

What advice do you offer clients for creating inviting outdoor “rooms?”
We advise our clients to go for function over beauty. Select an area that is comfortable and easily accessible; you want it to be a space you will use often. Make sure you have views you enjoy—and, if possible, the sights and sounds of the water. An area under a tree is always nice as it will provide shade when it is hot as well as some protection on dreary days, allowing you to get out of the house no matter the weather. Locating an outdoor room under a tree will also make it easy to install lighting that creates a nice glow at night.

In terms of plant selection, we suggest choosing colors that you enjoy and also adding flowers that create an aroma. If you’re a nature person, you may prefer plants that attract butterflies and birds as well. —James Londot, Vista Pro Landscape & Design, Davidsonville, Maryland. Landscape Architecture: Campion Hruby Landscape Architects, Annapolis, Maryland.