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Color Stories: 11 Black-and-White Outdoor Rooms

Black and white are opposites on the color wheel (and in life) but they’re best friends in the garden. Black and white paired in an outdoor room will create a high-contrast backdrop to accentuate any shade of green. Here are 11 of our favorite black-and-white color stories:

Seattle, Washington


Above: Photograph courtesy of Belathée Photography.

Repeating an interior black-and-white color scheme, a contractor lightened a Flatiron Rectangular Dining Table from Restoration Hardware (and added a weather-resistant finish). For more of this garden, see Sleekness in Seattle: Midcentury House, Modern Garden.

Austin, Texas


Above: Photograph by Michael A. Muller for Gardenista.

At the Hotel Saint Cecilia in Austin, Julie writes, “Landscape designer Mark Word (working with his partner Billy Spencer) …added a jazzy note to the exteriors with a black and white chevron tiled patio, black and white striped awning.” Here’s the whole look:


Above:  Photograph by Michael A. Muller for Gardenista.

For more of this project, see Landscape Architect Visit: The Hotel St. Cecilia in Austin, Texas.

Los Angeles, California


Above: Photograph by Laure Joliet, courtesy of Leigh Herzig.

See more in Hollywood Tale: A Spec House with Uncommon Style on Remodelista.



Above: Photograph by Sandra Pettersson.

Sophia visits a black and white outbuilding in a garden in Sweden and reports: “Swedish designer and entrepreneur Agneta Enzell designed a space for her and her family that fits the bill exactly. The orangery, as she calls it, is drenched in light. She uses it, fittingly, for growing plants, almost like a potting shed, but also as a place to eat and socialize with friends and family.”


Above: The view from inside the orangery: the black and white color scheme links indoors and out. Photograph by Sandra Pettersson.

San Francisco, California


Above:  Photograph by Matthew Williams.

In the courtyard behind March in San Francisco is a stylish staff canteen. Lunch is served on sunny days.  We feature a full tour (and have more to say about the paint colors) in our upcoming Gardenista Book.

Portland, Oregon


Above: Photograph courtesy of Jessica Helgerson Interior Design.

Jessica Helgerson’s Library House in Portland, Oregon has black doors, white trim and a facade painted a warm gray,  Benjamin Moore Iron Mountain at 75 percent. For more details, see our Steal This Look post.

Sydney, Australia


Above: Photograph by Melissa Bombardiere.

In Australia Melissa Bombardiere (a graphic and fabric designer) and Damian (a plumber) did a DIY remodel, siding the house in black Shadowclad plywood panels. With white folding doors and a doormat, they use the black-and-white color scheme to unite indoors and out. See more in Before and After: A Sydney Ranch House Transformed on Remodelista.

Mill Valley, California


Above:Photograph by Eric Piasecki.

Artificial grass, exuberant roses, and a black-and-white facade create a welcoming landscape in a garden in Mill Valley, California designed by landscape architect Frederika Moller.

Sydney, Australia


Above: Photograph courtesy of Christopher Polly Architect.

At Sydney-based architect Christopher Polly’s Haines House, sliding pocket doors disappear to create an instant outdoor room. A unified palette—a black polished concrete floor, fence, raised bed, and facade—reinforce the connection between indoors and out.

New Canaan, Connecticut


Above: Black chairs, white table, black-clad windows. Simple, right? Modernist architect Philip Johnson designed his Glass House in New Canaan, Connecticut to sit simply in the landscape. Photograph by Matthew Williams for Gardenista.

See more at Glass House Landscape: A “Permanent Camping Trip” for Architect Philip Johnson.

Skåne, Sweden


Above: Photograph by Laura Stamer.

This may be Julie’s favorite summer house of all time: “Located in the southernmost region of Skåne, in Sweden, the project by LASC Studio (a Copenhagen-based office founded in 2007 by the Swedish/German architect Jonas Labbé and Dutch architect Johannes Schotanus) combines the past and the present in a subtly new way.”


Above: Yellow wildflowers add drama to the black-and-white facade, with a steeply pitched metal roof to create a crisply contrasted backdrop to the unruly meadow. Photograph by Laura Stamer.



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