With property owners spending considerably more time at home as of late, attention has turned to cultivating an outside landscape that serves as an extension of the interior, both in functionality and aesthetics.
While masonry has always offered an array of options for those looking to optimize space, recent events have pushed it to the forefront.
Enhance Outdoor Living
In an effort to enhance outdoor living areas, popular trends include the addition of exterior kitchens—complete with grills, burners, warming trays, sinks, refrigerators, wine coolers, ice makers, and even pizza ovens. These culinary gathering places are often accented with an island bar area or tabletop (usually granite or concrete) and accompanying stools, perfect for outdoor dining and socialization.
Another sought-after feature is a fire pit or fireplace in the backyard. Constructed in all shapes and sizes, these may burn wood or be fueled by natural gas or propane, depending on preference. While some can be DIY projects, more complicated designs should be left to the expertise of professional stone and brick masons.
Stone fountains and raised spas—which can serve as functional pools—have also gained traction, many complemented by retaining walls and steps leading from one area to another within the outdoor landscape. These elements are often incorporated with stone or brick and may lead to other patio or deck structures.
While these fashionable-yet-functional additions may be the prime motivation for some homeowners, others may simply wish to cut back on the need for ongoing maintenance by minimizing the presence of large expanses of grass, shrubs and flowering plants, particularly where this softscape is difficult to cultivate due to less-than-ideal soil composition.
By utilizing elements such as bricks, rocks, stones, and concrete pavers, it’s possible to create natural focal points—particularly on smaller properties—while simultaneously adding value. Patios and paving stones can strategically carve out gathering areas from otherwise dead spaces, designating them for dining, recreation, or lounging.
Depending upon the homeowner’s particular design preferences and functional needs, landscape concepts may call for the construction of storage structures or workshops, each requiring its own designated area framed out by stones and cement.
Softscape + Hardscape = Dreamscape
Collaboration between masons and landscape designers in melding hardscape and softscape is key to realizing your dreamscape and turning a vision into reality. As the focus continues to shift toward cultivating a multi-dimensional environment primed to function as a staycation spot and outdoor gathering place, this partnership only stands to grow.
Dodds & Eder provides masonry as part of its full suite of property management services. Contact our veteran staff of professional landscape maintenance and design professionals to plan your project today.