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Outdoor Design Trends 2012

The trend of outdoor landscaping is not just about having a patio in your backyard, but creating an outdoor room that becomes and extension of your home. No longer is it just a 10’ x 12’ patio made of slabs with a table and chairs, but it now incorporates seat walls, water features, fire pits and fire places, BBQ islands and even pizza ovens.  It is also a reflection of your style.  The products available today far exceed the choices of the past with contrasting textures, colors and features, all designed to allow you to create the perfect room.  Just as you would pick a cabinet, countertop and backsplash for your kitchen, you can choose the main field, border, vertical style and accents to reveal your personal style.  Product features such as permeability or easy to clean surfaces, also allow you to narrow down your decision depending on what is important to your lifestyle.

Once you have your main room built, do not forget to add a pergola, canopy or fabric shade structure and your new room can be used just about anytime of day or evening, rain (although light) or shine! There are a few amenities that will make you want to spend even more time in your new room; lighting, sound and entertainment and beverage centers.  Lighting, candle or solar powered, a hanging chandelier or even twinkle lights will add atmosphere and practicality to your space and allow you to enjoy it well into the night.  Sound systems of outdoor speakers or wireless/Bluetooth audio systems let you set the mood for any occasion, be it romantic evenings, a friendly gathering or your son or daughter’s prom party!  Your entertainment center could even include a television.  Technology has come a long way and outdoor televisions have become more popular and affordable, you will never miss another NASCAR or Indy Car race again because you wanted to spend your time outside!  Do not forget to install a mini fridge in your BBQ island to satiate those many thirsty guests who will not be able to stay away from the oasis you have created at your home.

This trend is not just for the backyard anymore, but is starting to show up in the front as well.  Those of you like me, whose children are older and no longer require constant supervision while playing in the front yard, now say to our neighbors ‘I never see you anymore’!  This has inspired the front courtyard.  There are times of the day or year when it’s just more enjoyable to be on that side of the house!  Reminiscent of the wrap around porch, which was always a gathering place, creating a courtyard with seating, pillars and seat walls, perhaps a water feature, allows you to not only create the most magnificent entrance but a wonderful relaxing place where you can connect with your neighbors, your friends and your children (even if they are only asking for the car keys now!).

No matter which area you are creating treat it as you would a room in your house, add style, function and character to your design and accessorize it to make it a comfortable and enjoyable place to spend your time.