Outdoor living. It’s a phrase that started several years ago as a way to describe a modest population of people taking a new look at their backyards. Now, it’s a way of life, and the new year brings homeowners more ideas than ever for how to make their outdoor spaces extensions of their homes and families.
“Outdoor living’ used to be a term of luxury, but today it’s an idea that’s attainable by anyone who wants to adapt their outdoor space to be a place where they can relax, eat, play and entertain,” said Ken O’Neill, vice president of marketing for Belgard® Hardscapes, whose pavers can be found in patios, walkways and driveways at homes across the country. “We expect to see a lot of homeowners customizing their outdoor spaces to add square footage for their family and style for their homes.”
With people in today’s real estate market often choosing remodeling over relocating, the addition of outdoor spaces continues to grow in popularity as a way to add entertainment areas to a home. These spaces can be modestly designed with built-in grills and dining areas or more luxurious with gourmet kitchens and fireplaces.
Natural elements such as fire features resonate with homeowners for several reasons: they create a social gathering space; the warmth offered by fire features extends the outdoor season, allowing homeowners to enjoy their patios even after the weather cools; and a fire feature can offer a beautiful design focal point for the outdoor space.
Another new outdoor living design trend will be the mixing of more paver styles for unique designs. Belgard expects outdoor spaces to be more creatively designed in the future.
“We’re already seeing combinations of different paver styles in single areas, and we expect to see designers and homeowners use the contrast for edging, to create patterns that delineate different areas, or simply to tie in to the accents on the home,” O’Neill said.
The pavers used will also grow in scale. Over-sized pavers present a contemporary look and give the space a grand appearance. The patio area itself doesn’t have to be large,as over-sized pavers can enhance even a smaller space, such as a courtyard or town home patio area, allowing anyone to create a space that’s functional and fashionable.
“The integration of natural elements, such as rock, water and fire, into an outdoor room creates beautiful transitional spaces that blur the lines between indoors and out,” said Ken O’Neill, vice president of marketing for Belgard® Hardscapes.
Landscape designers are finding creative ways to integrate a myriad of natural elements into backyards of all sizes.
Pavers aren’t just for covering the area underfoot. Pavers can be textured to look like natural stone and used in many settings. They’re ideal for inclusion in waterscapes, and wall blocks create easy-to-install yet durable garden retaining walls that double as extra seating space. Wall blocks can also be used to create beautiful columns that frame an area to establish where one space ends and the next begins. And looks can vary, from richly dimpled surfaces and gently distressed edges reminiscent of aged rocks to rough-hewn, cut stone characteristic of mountainous outcrops. Using multiple textures in landscaping design adds even more interest and can be easily attained by incorporating pavers and wall block that are textured and styled to resemble natural stone.
Feng Shui has long noted the health benefits of communing with the environment, and landscape designers seemingly agree as water features abound in today’s backyard designs. Water features can offer the relaxing sounds of a trickling fountain to an energizing rock waterfall. Homeowners are putting pools, ponds and reflecting pools in their outdoor living spaces to enjoy the sights and sounds of nature’s music. Water features can be wrapped with pavers and wall block to seamlessly integrate rock and water.
Fire features are practical, as well; They extend the outdoor season with fire places and fire tables adding warmth near a dining area, and seated fire pits create a setting around which to linger. Ideal for large spaces or small, fire features offer year-round cooking options when incorporated into outdoor kitchens.
“Brick ovens are the top choice in fire features for outdoor kitchens, thanks to the visual appeal offered by the inset flame as well as the culinary creativity it allows for cooking,” O’Neill said.
“Whether homeowners are developing an outdoor space as a functional, social area or as a way to add value to their house, they’re being creative in design,” he said. “Natural elements are a growing component to the outdoor living area.”
There are three Belgard Authorized Contractors in the upcoming show: Bello Domani – Booth #L1, Legacy Design Outdoors – Booth #1010, Stewart Land Designs – Booth #1101 – Stop by and talk to them about a new Outdoor Living Area for you.