Your deck or patio allows you to seamlessly extend your living space beyond your home’s four walls into your backyard environment.
Nothing beats relaxing and entertaining in your backyard. While you’re basking in the sun or sipping cocktails on a warm summer night, have you occasionally let your mind wander to consider ways in which you can further enhance your outdoor environment to get the most from your space?
Here are four creative ways to maximize your outdoor space to make it an oasis for relaxation, reflection or entertaining.
While an outdoor living area is a terrific space to enjoy, Atlanta’s relentless mid-afternoon sun or passing summer showers can send you scrambling for cover. A pergola provides both form and function to your outdoor living space. Designed and oriented correctly on your lot, a pergola can cast enough light shade to make warm afternoons enjoyable. If you feel that additional protection is necessary, fabric or retractable shade covers can also be added.
Additionally, pergolas can provide support for everything from small speakers to lights, ceiling fans or small chandeliers. We do recommend, however, that you discuss hanging or mounted elements with your landscape designer ahead of time to ensure there will be proper space and support.
2. Fireplaces and Fire pits
Some of the best summer evenings end with friends or family around a crackling fire. Attractive and equally functional, outdoor fireplaces and fire pits can extend the length of time you’ll be able to enjoy your outdoor living space (think crisp fall evenings) and also boost your home’s value by adding a desirable amenity.
Both a fireplace and a fire pit provide a visual focal point that adds warmth and lighting to your backyard. Which option is best? That’s for you to decide based on your needs.
An outdoor fireplace will be a more significant investment yet will create a cozy ambiance that is second to none. Often used to anchor an outdoor space, a fireplace is grand in size and design, but offers rather limited seating capacity. This might be a perfect fit if you are someone that prefer smaller, more intimate gatherings.
The fire pit, on the other hand, can serve as the central gathering spot for larger groups of people. Smaller in size than a fireplace, fire pits are perfect for those who are trying to maximize a limited space. The square or circular shape creates a natural conversation area with everyone in the group facing one another. The low profile of a fire pit also ensures that your scenic vistas will be preserved.
3. Outdoor Kitchens or Pizza Ovens
Let’s face it, no one wants to slave away in a hot kitchen during the summer months! That’s just one of the reasons that outdoor kitchens continue to increase in popularity. There really is no limit to the type of outdoor kitchen that you can design. They might be as simple as a grilling space or as elaborate as a functioning kitchen with sinks, storage, and outdoor refrigeration – your budget and needs will serve as the primary driver in deciding the type of kitchen best suited for you. Regardless of what you choose, outdoor kitchens are considered a luxury feature, increasing your home’s value, and making it more marketable.
Outdoor kitchens not only ensure that you won’t miss a moment of backyard gatherings due to chef duties, but also give you the opportunity to flex your culinary muscles by experimenting with more adventurous preparations of some of your favorite standards using grills, smokers or outdoor ovens. As an added bonus, outdoor kitchens will keep cooking grease, odors, smoke, and heat outside, making clean up a breeze. (Literally!)
If budget or space is limited, a pizza oven can be a terrific way to add a flexible outdoor cooking element. A pizza oven can be installed as a stand-alone item on an attractive patio or integrated into a larger outdoor kitchen in styles that range from stainless steel to stone, stucco, or brick. Don’t’ be fooled by the name, however. While a crispy brick- or wood-fired pizza is second -to-none, outdoor ovens can also be used to cook meat, vegetables, breads, desserts and more.
Don’t overlook the importance of lighting! The most show-stopping landscapes that have breath-taking curb appeal by day can be completely obscured or become dangerous at night if proper lighting is not in place. When the sun goes down, professional lighting strategies help to create ambience that can turn a space from dark and shadowy to vibrant and beautiful without calling attention to the lighting itself. In fact, the goal for most outdoor lighting efforts is to see the effects of the light, not the light source.
Where, within your landscape, do lights fit best?
- Pathway lights – Pathway lights come in a variety of sizes and styles and are specifically intended to illuminate the ground. Mounted or hanging from poles, these lights create overlapping circles of light that lead the way.
- Retaining wall lights – Retaining wall lights use warm light to illuminate small areas without intruding on your activities but can provide enough visibility to ensure safety. These lights may include textured lenses to mimic the texture of the material used and are ideal for any spaces that incorporate a wall such as seating areas, outdoor kitchens, and fire pits.
- Down lighting – If mood lighting is your goal, then down lighting may be the perfect solution to brighten an area without glare. Down lighting involves hanging fixtures above the patio or landscape to provide wider illumination and unique shadows.
- Stairway lights – Aesthetics and safety are equally important when it comes to stairs and stone steps. These imbedded lights are low-wattage and serve to clearly define edges in order to avoid stumbles.
- Pergola lighting Pergolas present a wonderful opportunity to include recessed lighting or bistro lights into your lighting design. Recessed lighting subtly illuminates seating or dining areas from atop the pillars and crossbeams of the pergola. In the same way, bistro lighting can bring a subtle, yet fun, lighting element to the area from above.
Now is the time to consider how you can make the most of the summer season by maximizing your outdoor space. Buckhead Landscape & Design has a long history of serving the greater Buckhead area, providing landscape design and maintenance services, as well as hardscape design, irrigation, and outdoor lighting. When it comes to creating inviting and functional outdoor areas that you can enjoy with friends and family , the professionals at Buckhead are prepared to invest time in understanding your vision, goals, and budget to design and deliver projects that you will love.