Urban Oasis is a Seattle-area landscape design firm specializing in creative, sustainable outdoor spaces. Founded in 2010 by Landscape Architect & Project Manager Carrie Culp and Field Supervisor and Quality Control Manager Trevor Daley, the team now also includes Landscape Designer Cory Egan. The group is skilled in creating beautiful and enjoyable backyard landscapes as well as in constructing outdoor structures, kitchens, and fireplaces that expand the definition of outdoor living.
We sat down with Carrie Culp to learn how Infratech heaters fit into their unique vision of eco-friendly, luxurious outdoor design. We also talked design trends, how the geography and climate of the Pacific Northwest affect their work, and what makes Urban Oasis’ approach to landscape design special.
How would you describe your landscape architectural style?
At Urban Oasis, we strive to create unique designs for each of our clients that match the architectural style of their home as well as their personal aesthetic tastes.
What design elements separate your landscape architecture firm’s style from others in your area?
Urban Oasis specializes in outdoor living — specifically roofed structures with outdoor kitchens and fireplaces as well as other heat sources like Infratech heaters. We create cozy outdoor three-to-four season spaces. We have even had our clients and their families watch Christmas movies in the warmth of their outdoor living space.
How much of a role does the geography and culture of the Pacific Northwest play into your landscape designs and overall decision making process?
When left to our preferences, we prefer to create landscapes that fit into the Pacific Northwest aesthetic, particularly using native (and near native) plants and sustainable lawn solutions to create a landscape consistent with what might have been there before development. We hope to extend habitat for birds and butterflies, if not other wildlife, in our designs where possible and desired by our clients.
What would you say is the biggest overall influence on your design/work process?
I would have to say our single biggest influence is our clients. Client feedback is foremost in inspiring our designs.
When and why did you use Infratech heaters in your work?
We typically use Infratech heaters in our covered outdoor spaces: over the dining and living spaces in particular. We also use the heaters to supplement warmth from a gas fireplace. We love the controllability of the heaters and have also incorporated them into uncovered trellises.
What trends are you currently seeing in the outdoor design and landscape architecture world?
There is a continued interest in sustainability and in creating spaces for family enjoyment outdoors. Covered structures are very popular in their role to increase a family’s time outside. To that end, supplemental warmth is key. Being from the East Coast, where people tend to have larger yards that are left relatively “undesigned,” I continue to notice here in Seattle that people value every inch of their property and want it to be highly functional and nicely designed.
Where do you see landscape design headed in the next decade?
It is my hope that the trend toward sustainability continues and that trends in water-wise planting and use of recycled and sustainable materials continues and expands.
What are some of your firm’s goals for implementing new outdoor design trends in your future works?
At Urban Oasis, we strive to be on the cutting edge. Our staff attends educational sessions (like the ASLA Conference) and particularly enjoys the floor where new products can be discussed and experienced in person. We also follow several publications on design and horticulture to stay current.