Lavish Outdoor Living – Lawn & Countryside

“People spend more money every year,” said Barry Schneider, president of Surrounds Landscape Architecture and Construction in the Washington, DC area. “They’re trying to turn their backyards into a resort. They want to go through their back doors to places where extensions to their homes are welcome. ”

Here’s what you need to know about living outdoors:

Customers want the allure of water features without the maintenance problems associated with koi ponds and streams. Therefore, landscapers offer other options.

Outdoor kitchens.

Without question, design firms say the # 1 item requested is an outdoor kitchen. “Everyone wants one,” says Schneider. “Ten years ago it was basically a built-in grill. Now it’s a full kitchen with high-quality stainless steel appliances, including a natural gas grill, a gas or wood pizza oven, a wet sink, a refrigerator, and a smoker. ”

What is causing the increase in demand? “I think, given the uncertainties in the world, people nowadays spend more time at home, less time traveling and want to be outside,” says Chris Vedrani, owner of Planted Earth Landscaping. “We have set up more kitchens in the last two years than in the last eight years in total.”

In addition to cooking and food preparation areas, design elements for outdoor kitchens often include a bar and seating areas that are strategically placed so that people can interact with the cook. Basically, for outdoor living, movement blurs the lines between inside and outside. Rooms are created that imitate the room climate right through to the lighting and seating areas.

All photos courtesy of Surrounds Landscape Architecture and Construction

As a result, lighting has become an element that is installed in every single project, says Schneider. LEDs have improved ease of installation, maintenance, and versatility. One of the newest features is the lighting, which changes depending on the mood or the season: oranges and purples for Halloween, reds and greens for Christmas, and so on. The lighting is installed not only for sidewalks, seating and bar areas, but also as an accent to highlight plant samples or to give trees a moonlight effect.

In addition, pavilions and pool houses with bathrooms and storage cabinets are enjoying growing popularity. This is an easy way to increase the usable living space and create additional privacy. Pergolas are less in demand, as many customers prefer roofed structures to protect them from the weather, despite their attractive aesthetics.

$ 25,000 to $ 50,000: The minimum common for simple outdoor kitchens, according to Chris Vedrani, owner of Planted Earth Landscaping. Most high-end projects cost over $ 300,000 for full kitchens with luxury appliances.

Another item that is becoming increasingly popular is outdoor sound systems. “It’s gotten very nifty,” says Schneider. “We connect high-quality subwoofers, loudspeakers and works.” High-quality garden furniture, typically with a modern design awareness, is also in demand. “We’ve seen customers willing to spend $ 3,000 to $ 4,000 on an outdoor sofa. This is an indication of how much people love being outdoors, ”says Schneider.

The more complex the project, the higher the price, of course. However, according to Schneider, Vedrani says that at least $ 25,000 to $ 50,000 is the norm for simple outdoor kitchens, with most high-end projects in the $ 300,000 and higher range for full kitchens with luxury appliances.

Fire functions.

Fire pits with round seating and fireplaces that make rooms feel more like indoor living rooms are common requirements. The 2018 American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) trending survey found that nearly 70 percent of projects should include an outdoor fireplace or fireplace. These design elements provide additional comfort and extend the season for sitting outdoors. Since fireplaces require plumbing and gas plumbing, they typically cost around $ 10,000 alone, while fire pits range in price from $ 4,000 to $ 5,000, Vedrani says.

“People spend more money every year. They are trying to turn their backyards into a resort. “Barry Schneider, landscape surrounds


Slabs of stone, bluestones, limestones, and travertine, which work well on pool decks because they don’t get hot on your feet, are extremely popular options as people like the look of natural stone. However, many stone ware manufacturers produce products that increasingly resemble reality, says Schneider. In addition, they are easier to install for most contractors.

The trend in decks is to use more exotic materials like IPE wood. Ipe is a type of tropical hardwood known for its longevity and rich, warm brown color (it turns gray unless you seal it). “It’s essentially maintenance-free, so we have a lot of customers who make some sort of accent deck that might be a foot off the ground with no railing removed,” says Vedrani. They are sometimes located as the center point at some distance from the house.

When it comes to preferred railings, stainless steel cable railing is one of the most requested products these days. “It’s the first choice,” says Vedrani.

The downside is that it’s expensive (at least twice the typical railing cost) and needs to be tightened every few years. The advantage is that practically no further maintenance is required.

Water properties.

Many designers say that customer requests for water features have decreased. Water features like streams and koi ponds are no longer as popular as they used to be, partly due to maintenance issues like algae and possible leaks. “People still want water, but we’re doing more projects like an urn that spills water into a bed of gravel,” says Schneider. “With this feature, you still get the feel and sound of water, but with fewer maintenance issues.”

Plant palette.

According to the latest ASLA trend survey, around 80 percent of the projects will contain low-maintenance plantings at the customer’s request. Low maintenance gardens have always been popular, but there is a definite movement towards a more relaxed atmosphere. “We sell a lot more grass beds, even in traditional gardens,” says Schneider. “They look more natural and there are three interesting seasons. They often stand next to a winding dirt road and a mixed border of perennials. “

“Almost every project has at least six to 12 pots and they are 90 percent yearbook for color.” Chris Vedrani, landscaping on planted soil

The other benefit is that grasses fill up quickly. You can plant hundreds of them in April and you will have a nearly full-grown plant within three months. “They don’t cost as much as box trees or evergreen plants,” says Schneider.

Another growing design development is the use of pots grouped across the property. “Almost every project has at least six to twelve pots and 90 percent of them are planted with coloring,” says Vedrani. The most popular are limestone or concrete urns, or large (3 by 3 inch) metal planters placed on the porch or on and around the pool deck. They’re usually stuffed yearbooks that swap for three rounds (spring, summer, and fall), including seasonal options like pansies or mothers.

One of the challenges designers have faced in recent years has been plant materials at a reasonable cost. “For example, box trees are three times the size they used to be, and you need to find the disease-free varieties,” says Vedrani. “There is a real shortage because a lot of growers collapsed after the 2008 recession.” The result was fewer breeders and fewer mature plants. According to Vedrani, one of their solutions is to replace other lesser-known plants that are just as attractive but withstand the plague, such as. B. Blue Hollies or an Inkberry Holly like Gem Box.

The author is a freelance writer from the Northeast.

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