If you have ever enjoyed sitting around a campfire, you will love the addition of a fire pit to your outdoor living area. Fall is the perfect time for adding a source of warmth to your outdoor environment. Building a fire pit can range from a simple do-it-yourself hardscaping project to an elaborate custom design.
Issues to consider in selecting an approach to your fire pit include:
Appearance – texture, shape, color
Use – ambiance, warmth, toasting marshmallows, cooking
Ease of installation
Cost – materials, labor, maintenance
In choosing the appearance you desire for your hardscaping project, you will determine the primary material. This selection will significantly influence the other issues above. Options for fire pit materials are extensive and include:
Natural stone boulders
Natural wall stone
Packaged natural stone kits
Packaged manufactured kits including fire-resistant inserts
Concrete forms requiring customization
Customized from manufactured materials.
The chart below provides basic comparison of key elements of the different approaches.
When people buy or build their dream house, they usually focus on the interior. However, the exterior should be considered just as important. As you know, first impressions are essential. And this is precisely what the outside of your house offers. Just think about it: this is what your guests first see when they come to visit. Therefore, it’s good to have an inviting front yard. But apart from this, you should also focus on the backyard, where you’ll entertain your family and friends. So, here are five tips to make your outdoor space more inviting.
No. 1 Build a path
Nothing is more welcoming than creating a path that leads to your house. For this, you can use pavers and slabs. These materials come in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes. Therefore, they give you a lot of options. You can opt for a more conventional and uniform path, or you can have fun with it. You can combine various colors and shapes and even make it a bit curvy.
The same thing applies to your backyard. You can make your outdoor space more inviting by creating a path that leads to the entertainment area. Moreover, if you have a big backyard and a budget, consider creating several paths for your guests to enjoy a relaxing walk. You can even add some stepping stones to change things up a bit.
No. 2 Create the perfect atmosphere
If you want your family and friends to feel good in your outdoor space, you must create the perfect atmosphere. And one of the best ways to do this is through lighting. You can use lights for practical reasons, but you can also use them to accentuate certain elements. For example, you can light up the paths to move around easily, but this will also bring out the color and pattern of the path. And you can apply this to any part of the outdoor space: walls, fences, pool, etc.
No. 3 Make your outdoor space more inviting by adding a nice pool area
If you are so lucky to have enough outdoor space to fit a pool, don’t think twice about it. During summers, the pool area will be the main attraction. You can have quiet and relaxing days at the pool with your family or invite some friends over and have pool parties.
In any case, you should pay attention to the pool deck. This is very important because it’s where everyone will spend most of their time. A good option for the pool deck is to use travertine. This natural stone remains cool in the heat, meaning it won’t burn the soles of your feet. Moreover, it’s not slippery when it gets wet. Therefore, it’s highly recommended for the pool area. Plus, it comes in a variety of colors, so it will also look beautiful.
No. 4 Add an outdoor kitchen
Firstly, outdoor kitchens are very practical. You can use them even when you don’t have guests to protect your home from the smell of fried or grilled meals. However, during the warm season, they are great for barbeque parties. Plus, you and your guests can have fun and socialize while you cook.
Since they have a solid structure, bad weather won’t ruin your party. You can build your outdoor kitchen out of wall blocks or ready-made panels. But whichever you choose, don’t forget you also need access to gas, electricity, and water for a functional kitchen.
Now, depending on the size, you can equip it with everything you need: grills, fridges, ice machines, cabinets, and even a wood-fired pizza oven.
No. 5 Create an entertainment area
To make your outdoor space more inviting, you need an entertainment area. This is where your guests will spend most of their time. Therefore, you should think about ways to make them feel cozy.
Add a gazebo
The first thing you need to consider is that the weather is unpredictable. So, you will need a roof over your head if it starts to rain. Not to mention that summers can be scorching, so you will also need some shade. You can achieve this by building a gazebo, for example. The idea is for the area not to be fully enclosed. So, you can build a low wall around it. This will provide support for the roof and also some privacy.
The furniture is also essential since you have to seat your guests somewhere. If you build a structure with a roof, you can create an outdoor living room, including everything from couches, pillows, TV, and even a rug. However, to entertain your guests, you will need seating areas in other parts of the backyard as well. So, if there’s no roof, pay attention to the materials of the furnishings. Otherwise, bad weather will cause it to deteriorate faster. Moreover, if you’re concerned that your furniture won’t withstand the winter, you can always place it in a storage unit until next year. Just be mindful when packing and prepare it well for this period.
Consider including a focal point
Think about creating a fire area. Everyone enjoys sitting around a campfire and telling stories. But since you are not in the middle of the woods, you need something more elegant and practical. A good option is to build a fire pit. It can be made out of numerous materials and in various shapes, so you have many options. The advantage is that the fire pit generates heat, and it also looks incredible.
Once you buy or build a new house, filling it with family and friends is what makes it feel like home. Therefore, it’s crucial for all your guests to feel welcomed. And since the exterior is what they see first, it’s essential to make it inviting. Plus, this is where you’ll entertain during the warm season. So, use these five tips to make your outdoor space more inviting for yourself and your nearest and dearest.
Author: Mary Aspen Richardson, Professional Copywriter
There are many ways you can improve your landscaping. However, the one upgrade that stands out is building retaining walls. Retaining walls are especially popular among homeowners who have slopes and elevated areas in their yards. Sure, you can always go for leveling the sloped ground. However, even experts suggest building retaining walls. Why? It’s simple, actually. If you choose to level your yard, you’ll drain both your time and your bank account. On the other hand, if you go with the retaining walls, you’ll have many benefits. So, let’s see the top 4 reasons to add retaining walls to your property!
If you’re considering making upgrades to your home or backyard, keep in mind that some will increase the future resale value of your property more than others. Of course, the most important aspect is that you and your family will benefit from and appreciate the upgrade, but it never hurts to plan ahead. A home project that will increase your home’s market value is the best possible option. However, the question is: what hardscaping projects can increase the value of your home the most? In the rest of this article, we’ll answer that question and go over everything else you need to know about certain hardscaping projects.
There is something peculiar about rock gardens. Rocks and stones represent a peaceful and grounded feature, which can truly be a remarkable addition to your yard. Besides being such a versatile element, rocks go amazingly well with water features and greenery. There are numerous ways you can add rock and stone to your garden area. By doing so, you will give your home an instant boost of curb appeal and a beautiful landscaping look. But, apart from standing the test of time, there are many more benefits to it. So, if you’re wondering how to improve your outside area, we’ve listed 5 benefits of decorative rock landscaping to help you choose.
A comfortable and welcoming outdoor space is perfect for having friends over, increasing entertainment space, and most importantly, creating a space for you and your family to unwind. From finding the perfect grill to using the right hardscaping materials, there’s a lot of time, thought, and effort that goes into creating your own backyard oasis. What color palette should I use? What’s the best outdoor furniture? Should I get outdoor appliances? These are all questions that may seem like a lot at first, but they’re pretty easy to answer once you know exactly what you want out of your outdoor kitchen and lounge area. Here are some ways you can make this outdoor space comfortable and relaxing!
We are all very busy with our lives every day. Be it work, studies, or household job, we don’t exactly take some time off to just stop for a minute. Wouldn’t you want to just take a minute to live in the current moment?
We know that the world around us is changing rapidly. Tall and strong architecture marvels stand where once there was natural vegetation.
If you’re trying to figure out what to do with your backyard and that lovely patio, why not consider building an outdoor kitchen? It’s a perfect blend of aesthetics and pure outdoor functionality, and it might just help you create a fun outdoor wonderland your family and friends can enjoy. While this might seem like a cumbersome project at first glance, there’s nothing you won’t be able to achieve with a bit of planning and careful preparation.
From deciding on the perfect layout, through meticulous landscaping, all the way to choosing the right appliances and accents, there are plenty of wonderful way you can make your outdoor space and patio come to life. Here are the five decorating ideas that will help you create the outdoor kitchen of your dreams.
Plan your layout carefully
It all starts with the layout. The way you plan and organize the floorplan for your outdoor kitchen will mean the difference between seamless maneuverability and unimpeded functionality, and an outdoor space where nobody really wants to hang out and socialize. Remember, it’s not just about buying a grilling station, it’s also about meticulously planning the floorspace to create an inviting setting.
To that end, start from the back door and analyze every area of your patio and backyard. Decide where you want the cooking area to be, the dining area, and the lounge area. Keep in mind that the cooking area will take up a lot of space, so be sure to move either the lounge or the dining area off the patio and into the backyard. This will allow you to enrich the setting with beautiful natural elements as well.
Create a welcoming setting with natural elements
Landscaping might not seem like a primary concern when it comes to designing an outdoor kitchen, but in reality, it has the power and potential to make or break the ambiance – so there is a real need to prioritize landscaping in your initial design. Simply put, it’s one of those inspirational features that will help you create a better setting for cozy outdoor living.
Consider adding lush greenery to the patio and be sure to raise a vertical flower garden on the fence in order to create that highly sought-after oasis vibe. Add decorative gravel or stepping stones that lead from the patio to the central area in the backyard, and don’t forget to add lighting features that will bring a warm, intimate outdoor setting to life.
Illuminate the setting just right
Before we get into the standards of outdoor kitchen appliances and furniture, let’s take a moment to address the importance of proper patio and backyard lighting. When it comes to outdoor kitchen design, there is a need to mix task and accent lighting interspersed with warm natural lights to create the perfect ambiance that will invite people to socialize and have fun, but also allow you to cook efficiently.
Aside from contour LED strips on the counters, walkway lights and lanterns, you will need to bring natural light sources, so be sure to keep a scented candle supply at hand to set the mood for every occasion, and introduce a fire pit in the center of the yard as well. While the candles are casting a soft glow on the dining table and the lounge area, the fire pit will create a striking focal point that will draw people around it.
Choose furniture and imbue with unparalleled comfort
Now that you have all of the aforementioned elements in place, let’s take a look at the furniture selection and how to choose the best pieces for your outdoor kitchen. For example, the furniture you choose to put around the fire pit needs to be durable and flexible enough to withstand the changes in temperature but also the rest of the outdoor elements.
After all, you want to prolong the lifespan of your outdoor features as much as possible. Be sure to research the best materials for outdoor sofas and armchairs, and don’t forget to add bar stools to the cooking area in order to create another interesting focal point.
Introduce the most important appliances
And finally, choose your appliances carefully. Not all appliances were made to withstand the elements, and some might break down quickly during sudden changes in environmental temperatures. With that in mind, be sure to choose only the appliances that are purposefully made for the outdoor setting.
Some of the essential appliances you’ll need include a grill station complete with a built-in freezer, an outdoor fridge, a sink, a food-prep area, and ice maker, a wine cooler, and plenty of storage space for all utensils, dishes, pots, and pans. Of course, you can also install a kegerator if you and your friends are partial to a cold glass of beer.
An outdoor kitchen is an amazing addition to any outdoor living space, but it’s important to know just how many details go into creating the perfect al fresco cooking and dining experience. With these tips in mind, you will have the know-how to design and create an outdoor kitchen your family and friends will simply adore.
For your construction project to be truly successful, it must be done with an excellent contractor at the helm – whether a general contractor or professional hardscaping contractor. But, you have to be very discerning when it comes to hiring one. Not only should your contractor have the necessary skills, experience, and equipment, but he must also have the right insurance. Here are the reasons why insurance coverage is a must.
Protection from liabilities
There are many types of contractors insurance out there, but the two insurance policies that every contractor must have are general liability insurance and workers’ compensation insurance.
When your contractor has general liability insurance, any accident that leads to third-party injuries or property damage will be paid for by his policy. Workers’ compensation insurance will cover both the medical expenses of your contractor’s workers who sustain an injury while at work on your project as well as the wages they stand to lose because of the injury.
When you’re hiring a contractor, always make sure that he has both because if he does not, you will be technically acting as the contractor. In this case, you will be held liable for any injury and property damage that occurs during your construction project.
Lower long-term costs
It’s true that a contractor who doesn’t have insurance will likely offer lower rates for his services, which is probably why they still get hired despite not being insured. After all, there is no shortage of people who want to save a few dollars here and there.
However, with an uninsured contractor handling your project, you could end up spending more money in the long run. When there are mistakes in the construction, you’ll have to shoulder the cost of correcting those mistakes (consider the long term issues with stucco!). And if a worker or a third party gets injured in the work area, you are liable to pay for his medical expenses—among other things—out of pocket for as long as it takes the worker to recover.
Don’t hire uninsured contractors
In conclusion, hiring uninsured contractors carries with it a lot of risks. They may come cheap, but the consequences should an accident happen don’t. An uninsured contractor could end up making you the subject of a lawsuit which could bankrupt you when you lose in court. So don’t hire the uninsured: It’s just not worth it.
About The Author:
Rachel Porter is the content specialist for Custom Contractors Insurance, LLC, and Arizona roofing and contractors insurance company. When not writing, she enjoys reading and mountain biking with her friends.
Having a beautiful backyard is a dream come true for a lot of people. In this day and age, all of us simply need a quiet little place to relax and unwind after a busy day. Sure, a lot of us already have such an area somewhere in our homes, but not many realize the healing power of spending time outdoors.
That’s why, if you are thinking about updating your outdoor area, we urge you to consider creating a true Zen oasis, where you will be able to fully give in to the healing powers of Mother Nature and spend some quality time immersed in all of her beauties, either alone or with friends and family. If the idea sounds appealing, but you’re not quite sure how you can achieve it, keep on reading.