Canvas curtains, cooling fans, infrared heaters and a wood-burning fireplace help to make the Fallins’ outdoor living space functional in any weather. Southern Home sofas and chairs from Dixon Smith Interiors are covered in fade-proof, water-resistant fabrics in soothing shades meant to recall the sea and sand. Photos by Melissa Oivanki.

Made in the shade: An outdoor retreat

Peering out from beneath the pergola-covered patio, it’s hard to imagine that just last year, Shelly and Lance Fallin’s backyard was only a basic expanse of grass with a lone pool at its center. Today, this outdoor oasis—with separate grilling, dining and seating areas—is so artfully integrated into its environment that it looks as though it’s been here all along.

“We love to visit Rosemary Beach in the summer,” says Shelly, “and we wanted our backyard to have that beachy, coastal influence.”

The Fallins called upon contractor Michael Powers, who also renovated their residence, to create the new outdoor spaces. Interior designer Anne McCanless helped to bring the family’s Florida-focused vision to life.

“They wanted to have plenty of entertaining space and for it to be shaded from the sun,” says McCanless. “It needed to be a place they could use 12 months of
the year.”

To comfortably accommodate large groups of guests, the Fallins opted to separate their grilling and cooking space from areas for sitting and dining. “We put the grills right by the back door that opens to the kitchen so they can easily bring food in and out,” says McCanless. “More and more homeowners now want to keep their grilling area away from where they entertain, so the smoke doesn’t bother people and everyone can move around.”

Open-framed pergolas allow the breeze to flow through the grilling area and the new dining pavilion, which is positioned directly across the length of the pool. In the more substantial living area, painted brick walls combine with antique cypress beams from The Corbel, a reclaimed-wood plank ceiling and Bevolo copper lanterns, while outdoor draperies can be drawn to keep out the heat or the cold.

“They are now using this space for everything from watching football games to hosting big parties,” says McCanless. “They’ve enjoyed it when it’s 27 degrees outside and when it’s 99 degrees.”

For a closer look at the rest of this backyard, click on the photos in the gallery below: