If you're looking to save water, money and time, then it's a good time to focus on the hardscape in your yard rather than the landscape. Hardscape - the solid structures and surfaces in your yard - is one of the best ways to maximize enjoyment and water savings while minimizing maintenance.
How can you create a fun and easy-to-use yard by means of modern hardscapes? Here are a few ideas.
Increasingly, homeowners are opting for a functional - but still beautiful - outdoor cooking space to replace the old grill and patio set. Modern outdoor kitchens feature built-in grills and food preparation surfaces, abundant lighting and even sinks or other appliances. Add in a small refrigerator, brick pizza oven, fire pit and dining table to encourage family and guests to relax while the chef is preparing his or her masterpiece.
If you don't have the space or money for a full outdoor kitchen, start with an outdoor dining area instead. Extend a cover over a portion of the patio and decorate with a modern glass table or a chic recycled wooden table for an easy way to get everyone outside to enjoy your yard.
Outdoor Living Rooms
When paired with an outdoor kitchen, the outdoor living room can become a full entertainment area year-round. Instead of plopping down a patio table and a few haphazard lights, create a true outdoor room with overhead covering appropriate to your climate. In warmer climates, a simple gazebo structure or curtained tent-like cover is sufficient to create a room with upholstered sofas and chairs, dining area, or pool table.
If you live in a cooler area, consider enclosing your outdoor living room to be able to enjoy it all year long. Removable windows or a wall of accordion-style patio doors help keep the outdoor feeling when the weather is nice. And luxuries such as a widescreen television, oversized pillows or a small bar bring the comfort to the outdoors.
Whether you have a large outdoor space or not, you can now find ways to make your hardscape multifunctional. For example, a small koi pond may double as a fire pit during the winter. Some furniture pieces like sofas and lounges can hide storage underneath. A food prep table in your outdoor kitchen can be paired with free-standing benches to form a dining table, and ottomans make great additional seating for overflow crowds.
One key to designing a great outdoor living area is to plan ahead and have a vision. Some homeowners have failed to think about future changes and take into consideration the overall design and shape of the yard. The result can be wasted time and money. To avoid this, it's best to work with a professional landscape designer who is skilled at incorporating hardscape features. For more information, contact a local landscaping company like Michael's Landscape Design.