Posts Tagged ‘nj outdoor living’

Turn Your Backyard Landscaping NJ into an Outdoor Living Oasis

Thursday, December 20th, 2012

The most popular outdoor living feature for luxury back yards is probably the outdoor kitchen. Everyone loves to fire up the grill and cook a nice meal for friends and family during a summer BBQ. It’s a given that the outdoor kitchen is a must-have option, but is that all you need to spice up your outdoor gatherings? Here are five outdoor living tips to liven up your backyard entertaining for spring 2013!

1. Food and Shelter

covered outdoor patio
outdoor kitchen designs nj

Protecting yourself from the elements is absolutely essential for outdoor cooking, dining, and entertaining. The trick is to provide shelter from sun, rain, and other elements. How can you create a sheltered area like this? There are numerous design options when it comes to this valuable amenity. You can build a cabana with a pavilion. You can have a deck with a dry below system that keeps rain from seeping through the cracks. (As a matter of fact, this system can be applied to an old deck if you choose to build a nice patio space beneath the structure.) Similarly, though incorporating different architecture, covered patios can be included beneath open extensions of the house.  On top of a patio or deck, you can also build a covered porch area off the back of your house. All of these outdoor structures protect you from the elements but still offer the feeling of open-air relaxation and entertainment.

2. The Fire Signal

modern outdoor fireplaces

When stranded in the wilderness, one survival technique includes lighting a fire to attract others to your location. In an exciting, decorative, and practical way, this same technique can be used to liven up your backyard landscape design. Fire features are naturally a destination, gathering place, and source of light and warmth. What types of fire features are out there? There are many different variations, but the basics include the outdoor fireplace, fire bowl, fire table, and fire pit. All of these features can fit any type of style for the back yard, from natural boulder fire pits to sleek, modern outdoor fireplaces.

3. Patios, Patterns, and Possibilities

outdoor kitchen with stamped concrete patio

How can you define separate outdoor rooms across the patio area? The patio stones and patterns play a crucial role in defining different portions of the backyard patio area. The outdoor kitchen, for example, may feature a running bond patio pattern, while the swimming pool area could be set in a 45-degree pattern. Other cases may see a bluestone outdoor kitchen patio transition to a sandstone or crab orchard pool patio. Whether it is a sharp change in stone or a slight inlay or pattern change, the hardscape can better define crucial areas for outdoor living. As far as style and designs go, the possibilities are endless.

4. Elevating Entertainment

outdoor kitchen with stamped concrete patio

If you want to add depth and interest to your outdoor living area, don’t just design a bunch of things on the same patio; this type of design can lose a lot of its potential in the bland, horizontal plane. Incorporating different elevations will better define various pieces of the landscape design. Entertaining friends and family typically involves guests splitting up into smaller groups. Well-defined outdoor rooms accommodate this natural tendency. Also, the different elevations allow for added interest and greater appreciation of the diverse landscape. To transition between elevations, beautiful hardscapes include options like waterfalls, stone veneer walls, boulder retaining walls, and water walls.

5. Lighting, Lighting, Lighting

Lighting simply makes outdoor living spaces more functional. Who wants to entertain in the back yard only during the daytime? Landscape lighting, pool lights, and outdoor kitchen lighting extend entertainment hours from dusk to dawn. The lighting will expand the space for a more welcoming and accommodating feel. It will also create greater area in a visual sense. In addition, landscape lights illuminate areas of the yard that may typically go unnoticed and unused. If the lights are on and guests are over, these parts of the landscape design will be the last piece of a beautiful puzzle.

In summary, to liven up the landscape, incorporate landscaping ideas that foster entertainment, comfort, functionality, and definition. Well-defined, comfortable, and practical outdoor living spaces will be exceptional areas for outdoor entertainment. Whether you’re hosting a big party with friends and family or entertaining a few friendly acquaintances, a complete outdoor living space will reach its exciting full potential…way more than just a lonesome outdoor kitchen.


Backyard landscaping NJ

Pavers vs Natural Stone – NJ Outdoor Living & Pool Patio Design Ideas

Monday, January 9th, 2012

Pavers vs. Natural Stone – Outdoor Living & Pool Patio Design Ideas

Are you looking for a new outdoor living patio space in your New Jersey landscape design? Are you building a pool but don’t know what surface to choose for your pool patio? Maybe you’re considering a patio renovation? If any of these questions apply to you, you’ve been faced with a very important decision. What material do I choose for the patio? Stamped concrete? Pavers? Natural stone? Patio materials range in style, durability, price, and shape. More specifically, in this blog, I will take a brief look at the advantages and disadvantages of pavers.

First, let’s look at the upside of pavers for your outdoor living space. If you’re looking at your upfront expenditures, pavers are a low cost option as compared to natural stone. In terms of appearance, pavers are a better looking alternative to cool deck or concrete patios. For certain maintenance purposes, pavers are a convenient choice. For example, if settling of pavers occurs, they can be easily repaired. The short installation time also makes pavers a practical choice if you have time restraints. Clearly the best advantage of pavers is the tremendous variety of sizes, shapes, colors, and styles from which to choose. From permeable pavers to the more traditional ones, pavers have proved their versatility and worth over time.


Paver Advantages for Outdoor Living-

Better appearance than cool deck or concrete

Low cost relative to natural stone easy to repair if settling occurs

Short installation time

Large variety of choices


Now, there are obvious disadvantages to using pavers for your outdoor living space as well. First and foremost, pavers can’t compete aesthetically with natural stone. Also, natural stone offers you a much higher return on investment. How? Due to natural stone’s timeless look and longevity, the higher initial price is paid for in value over time. In contrast, pavers tend to go out of style every 5 years or so. Old stop-sign pavers, for example, are a thing of the past. Interestingly enough, within 5 years, even today’s pavers will be tossed aside in exchange for ones that look more like natural stone. The biggest complaint we have found with pavers is the continual maintenance issues, such as weeding and constantly needing to power wash because all the joints attract dirt and moss.  Lastly, pavers tend to be less comfortable than many natural stones because concrete pavers tend to absorb more heat than cool, light-colored natural stones. They can be painful to walk on with bare feet.


Paver Disadvantages for Outdoor Living-

Return  on investment is poor compared to natural stone

Pavers generally go out of style in 5 years

Weeds and dirt in the joints can be an issue

Concrete pavers tend to retain more heat compared to light natural stone

Not as aesthetically-pleasing as natural stone



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