Technology has helped make outdoor decorating easier, she said, with Sunbrella and other “no muss, no wet” fabrics to use on outdoor sectionals, pillows and other furnishings.
Quincy Hammond, a Manhattan-based landscape architect who frequently designs Hamptons gardens, said that in the past decade, the choices for aluminum, wicker, resin and teak outdoor furniture and fabric options have become “almost as impressive as what they have for the inside.”
Things like fire pits, gas fireplaces, pool houses for entertaining, outdoor televisions, and “great sun coverage from all the new umbrellas on the market” are also ramping up the outdoor’s cachet, Ms. Fruin said. While outdoor showers are not new, for one Amagansett client Ms. Fruin designed an outdoor bathtub off her bedroom that “she could enjoy day or night,” with an enclosed tiled wall with candles on shelves, a lush garden and a slatted pergola above.
Trying to duplicate the indoor experience outside, in the last four years, Bill D’Agata, a Quogue-based pool and landscape designer, built pavilions in six East End backyards, with prices ranging from $600,000 to $1 million each.
“All the amenities that exist inside the main house are now found outside the main house,” he said, including apps that can remotely set the spa to 98 degrees, and turn on the lights or outdoor speakers, while the homeowner is still on the drive east.
Mr. D’Agata changed the way that Glenn and Rachelle McGrath use their wooded 2.14-acre Southampton property, by doubling the amount of level land on the property, adding a saltwater pool and building a 30-by-35-foot pavilion.
“We entertain a lot,” said Mr. McGrath, an insurance executive. “Even in summer months, people would migrate to our kitchen, inside.”
The pavilion, which has living and dining spaces, a full kitchen and pantry, a bathroom, an outdoor shower, a floor-to-ceiling fireplace and a speaker system, now draws the visitors outside instead.
“It’s a great place to entertain and hang out,” Mr. McGrath said. “People gravitate towards it.”
Though the family avoid the sun, they “spend most of the day outside now, which wasn’t the case,” Mr. McGrath said. “We hang out in the pavilion.” With their two children, 8 and 10, they watch movies on the 63-inch flat screen television over the fireplace, and grill fish or steak almost every night in summer. “We want to be outside. It’s in the woods. It’s the opposite of the city. It’s super quiet.”
Swimming pools are the quintessential outdoor playrooms. But in the Hamptons and other luxury destinations, chaise longues are no longer confined to the deck.
Greg Darvin, the owner of Pristine Pools in East Hampton, took a cue from resort pools that his clients have enjoyed in the Caribbean or Indonesia. Many of the 25 to 30 in-ground saltwater gunite pools he builds a year have “sun shelves” in shallow water for chaise longues and shade umbrellas, making it easy to dip your feet in the water without getting out of your chair.