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Expand Your Outdoor Living Space with a Hardscape Patio

Expand Your Outdoor Living Space with a Hardscape Patio
Expand Your Outdoor Living Space with a Hardscape Patio

Posted on Tuesday, September 26, 2017
By: Sequoia Supply
Categories: Hardscape Features  |  Outdoor Kitchens

Many people, after completing a great deck project in their back yard, settle for that and don’t think beyond the deck. In fact, many decks dump the stairs right onto the lawn with little thought or effort put into making the deck blend in with the yard or other great possibilities that lie beyond.

The best and most versatile way to expand your outdoor living space and outdoor living options is to flow the stairs of the deck onto a hardscape patio - with complimentary landscaping - that compliments the deck and house style and colors and radically enhances your family’s quality of outdoor living.

Plan and Prepare

It’s important to do your research in advance. Fixed objects in the landscape don’t move easily. As much as possible, consider the entire area available to you for hardscaping before you design a single element. You may only be planning to put in a patio now, but maybe your future plans include a barbeque, pond, kitchen, bar, or walkway. Measures need to be taken in order to incorporate those elements and make them flow together.

Other important factors like drainage, traffic flow, focal points, and balanced elements should be taken into consideration. You want the eye to travel toward a destination, and one or two visual elements that make you pause, either visually or literally. Elements that are too linear in design can create an unnatural feel. Give thought to the natural lines of the space and try to include curves and shapes in a way that the hardscape elements transition gracefully into the surrounding landscape.

Don’t Cut Corners on the Base Layer

There are many do’s and don’ts when it comes to installing patio pavers. The mistake that many make is in not doing their research fully and effectively, and not taking advise from the professionals. Perhaps the biggest mistakes are made when installing the base layers. Many people are too excited to start laying the pavers and seeing beautifying results, and they cut corners on the base preparation by not making it deep enough, not extending the base past the size of the paver coverage, not using the proper base materials, and not properly compacting the base materials in thinner layers. If you try to compact 6” of base, you will only compact the top 4” and the bottom 2” will settle in the future. Compact your base in layers of 3" – 4". Preparing a proper base is absolutely crucial for any paving stone project.

Don’t Stop at the Pavers

Getting the pavers installed is, of course, the patio. It’s the floor of your new extended oasis. But don’t stop there! Don’t settle for throwing a few folding chairs out there and calling it, “good”. The majority of today’s professional designs by experienced landscape architects include many hardscape enhancements that will drive your new patio over the top and make you the envy of the neighborhood. Some of the most popular enhancements include:

  • Seating Walls – Arguably, every patio should have a seating wall. They are beautiful and multifunctional. If your yard is sharply sloped into the patio, a retaining wall can be tailored into a seating wall. And seating walls will outlast us all, unlike those rusted chairs you keep putting out each year. They are even more functional when properly placed around a fire pit or fireplace.
  • Fire Pit – There really is nothing like a permanent hardscape fire pit to create a focal point of your patio and a gathering place, while adding ambiance and warmth to your outdoor oasis. Although portable fire pits can also be nice, stylish, and provide the same warmth; the stone of a hardscape fire pit will outlast, and outperform portable options since the material holds and releases heat after the fire has dwindled. They also blend seamlessly with your patio and seating walls, look spectacular, and are the ideal spot for roasting a quick snack on a stick. And you certainly don’t have to worry about them blowing away in the next storm.
  • Fireplace – When integrated into thoughtful landscaping designs, outdoor fireplaces extend your home and available party space from inside to outside. Like a fire pit, it also provides a natural gathering place for family and friends to enjoy their beverage of choice, converse, relax and stay warm on the cool early spring and fall nights. And don’t forget about the cooking bonus! Cooking with real fire is a great way to prepare a meal or snack.
  • Outdoor Kitchen – And, perhaps, the pièce de résistance… the outdoor kitchen! Ah yes. Although outdoor kitchens can most certainly be constructed from a variety of other materials including wood and steel, there is no substitute for the hardscape kitchen that blends with your patio and other enhancements and provides unmatchable longevity and durability. It can be as small as a simple grill or smoker station, or as big as your dreams (and budget) can stretch. Planning ahead by running electrical, water supply, and proper drainage beneath your base layer will permit you to add electrical and water service. Beyond your gas grill and smoker, you can now add a sink, refrigerator, heater, and much more.

Tagged:Outdoor Kitchens, Fire Pits, Hardscaping, Grilling Stations, Outdoor Cooking, Seating Walls, Hardscape Patio, Pavers

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I like that you suggested installing a seating wall on your patio around a firepit. My wife and I have been looking for ways to take care of our new patio. It would be smart to add a seating wall because it would help fit our whole family around the fire. 
Posted by scott on Friday, March 02, 2018, 4:48 PM
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