Most of us know this intuitively: being in and around nature just makes a person feel good. And local homeowners are tapping into nature by enjoying outdoor living spaces in their homes. Outdoor projects add value and equity to our homes. More importantly, they add something to our daily lives that we cannot put a monetary value on … time. These unique areas are becoming more and more a must-have for anyone who wants to spend time relaxing and enjoying the outdoors while unwinding with family and friends.
There are many ways you can design your outdoor living spaces, taking into account your unique tastes.
Here are some suggestions:
Outdoor Grilling Centers:
Whether you’re having a laughter-filled marshmallow roast following a great day of barbequing or a romantic evening for two, there are so many options. Jim Niles from Herzog’s Home Center in Kingston says, “Creating custom-built outdoor living spaces is even easier with pre-built modular hardscape components that mix and match seamlessly with pavers and walls. Customers are installing elaborate grills with granite tops, bistro tables, and bar caddies. Many of our customers are taking advantage of financing options and contractor referrals as well.” Niles also will assist in the design and best placement for all that’s involved with a mega outdoor kitchen and grilling center.
Adding one these lavish, leisurely outdoor enhance-ments will bring you and your entire family — and friends — an all-season winner that just keeps on giving pleasure. Christine Leonard, owner of Aqua-Jet Pools, a family-owned and operated business in Lake Katrine, says their number one seller is called the Hot Spring, which is available in a large variety of models and prices that can accommodate most budgets. Christine adds, “Hot Spring spas are energy efficient, comfortable, reliable, and easy to maintain, allowing you the flexibility to customize your very own spa with options, such as water features, salt water, lighting, and wireless sound systems.”
Outdoor Fire Pits & Fireplaces:
Another hot trend for outdoor living is the ambience and fun of a fire pit or fireplace. And the enjoyment is ageless as the entire family can take pleasure in what they have to offer. From precast fireplaces for small spaces; custom fireplaces to coordinate with the existing landscaping; or gas-burning fire pits featuring lava rocks or colored glass for that extra sparkle, a homeowner can enjoy this fantastic outdoor addition for just about every season of the year. Herzog’s Product Manager, Paul Gallo, says, "This outdoor feature has become the centerpiece for the perfect outdoor event." According to Shaun Stokes, owner of Country Lawnscapes in Stone Ridge, more people are utilizing their outdoor environment for nightly entertainment. Stokes says, “Combining the relaxation of a fire pit incorporated into outdoor living seems to lessen everyday stresses. A small fire and its smells just seem to settle the nerves of the daily hustle. Add in a nice cold beverage, and you’re good to go.”
Creative Outdoor Lighting:
One of the most enlightening features in heightening an outdoor living experience is to shed some light on your backyard improvements. Proper illumination can extend your enjoyment into the night. Shaun Stokes, owner of Country Lawnscapes in Stone Ridge, feels strongly about proper placement of this feature, which he states is commonly overlooked. Stokes says, “Lighting does an amazing thing to a home’s landscape at night. It extends the time we can enjoy the visual splendor of tall specimen trees, stonework, and pathways. Low or high voltage lighting can illuminate the tops of large trees presenting lofty landscapes. Lantern installations light a pathway proving a warm, welcoming effect, and spotlights can shine into a small pond for night illumination. Lighting enhances all the design you have painstakingly planned by enabling nighttime visibility. It magnifies design identities—whether hardscape specialty boulders, retaining walls, pool sides and patios or softscape design, such as flowerbeds, herb or rock gardens.”
If you have a pool, it may be time to enhance it with some additional surrounding beauty to up the ante for your personal use or party times. Consider adding patio blocks, cement borders, a surrounding deck, or even a privacy fence or a flower arbor to adorn with climbing florals. Jim Niles at Herzog’s Home Center says, "We can give expert advice and suggestions on decking materials, fence design, and many other pool enrichments to add to your poolside beauty." However, if you don’t yet have a pool, you may have finally decided it’s time to make the “plunge.” Local retailers like Aqua-Jet Pools in Lake Katrine can help you choose the pool that's just right for your home.
Just like your home’s interior, it’s great to personalize your outdoor décor with weather-resistant fabric pillows, umbrellas and all-weather rugs. Victoria Coyne from Victoria Gardens in Rosendale has many different vendors that she deals with, so the selection is endless. Victoria says, “The fantastic thing about our outdoor rugs is that they’re made from recycled bottles, wear like iron, and don’t fade or get damaged from the weather.” Your choices are many, ranging from modern graphic contemporary styles to traditional Orientals.
Add shade for years to come with a high quality umbrella, and Potter Brothers has more styles to choose from than you can imagine.
Outdoor Leisure Furnishings:
Just like in one’s home, we all want an aesthetically pleasing set of furniture—whether on our patio, deck, poolside, or lawn. According to expert Sarah Meni from Accord’s Bare Furniture, there are different varieties of wood, such as white cedar, that are better suited to our region. She continues, “What most people don’t know is white cedar, a softer wood, is considered durable with low upkeep, as you can leave white cedar untreated. It also has properties that act as a natural pesticide.” Another wood choice is eucalyptus, which is durable and weather resistant with natural oils containing insect repelling properties. However, woods are not the only way to go with your outdoor furnishings. According to Jake Potter co-owner at Potter Bros. in Kingston, “Anything we sell is meant to be left outside—no matter what season.” The wide range of their furniture goes from outdoor wickers, teak, recycled eco-friendly resin to wrought iron and traditional poolside aluminums. All are maintenance-free, needing only an early spring hose-off.
Beautiful Water Features:
Back yard water garden features are the ultimate in relaxation. Veronica, owner of Veronica’s Gardens, explains that there are so many options in sizes and styles. There is even what she calls a waterless water feature with a trickling of water for the sound, which can be surrounded with a bed of river rock for a Zen garden look. Veronica says, “You can also incorporate fish, bridges, plants, or rock features into your landscape with a personalized water feature. They can either be around the patio or in a shady area with ferns. You can even add lighting!” These water features can be put on timers so they are not using extra energy, and the smaller sizes need little maintenance, as they don’t get algae. They can not only provide you with the soothing water sound, but for those who love to watch feathered friends, there’s a bonus as birds come into view as they take their baths.
Spring is a great time for extending your kitchen to your fresh-air spaces. It will not only enlarge your entertainment and family domain but also keep your home cooler in the warmer weather. So, along with a BBQ, it’s a superb idea to incorporate some cabinets for storage. You can easily plan your fresh-air kitchen according to budget. On the high end, consider the unmatched beauty and unrivaled durability of the premier choice of stainless steel. Another choice would be durable concrete cabinets that can easily translate into a rustic outdoor feel. Or for cabinetry that will endure all the elements Mother Nature musters up, try using Polymer cabinetry with UV inhibitors — it’s impervious to sun, salt, snow, rain without fear of rotting, splitting, and cracking.
The pleasure and invigorating fun of showering within the summer breezes can provide many advantages for homeowners — especially those with children. You get clean. Plants get watered. Dirt stays outside. A win-win situation — and it can be an easy project. At its most basic, an outdoor shower is a nozzle attached to an outdoor tap with a hose that’s warmed by the sun. A watering wand with a small valve on it can easily be attached to a tree or post to provide the shower. If a hot shower is more appealing, it will require some planning and probably a plumber. The best place to install one is on a kitchen or bathroom outer wall to simply run the hot and cold water pipes outside. You can even use rainwater from a cistern pumped by a solar-powered recreational vehicle pump for an environmentally friendly option.