5 Outdoor Living Design Trends to Watch Out for in 2017
The start of a new year is a time many homeowners start thinking about renovating their outdoor living areas in preparation for family-fun pool parties and unforgettable summer sundowners. These latest design trends embrace bringing the functionality of the home to outdoor spaces, blurring the lines between the indoors and outdoors. Low-maintenance, sustainable landscapes are also gaining popularity as lifestyles get busier every year. Here are five stunning design ideas to help you make better use of your backyard this year.
Investing in an outdoor kitchen can simplify your barbecues and limit trips between your indoor kitchen and poolside grill. By creating an outdoor kitchen, you can enable your guests to socialize with the chef, participate in the preparation of the food or lend a helping hand while still enjoying the outdoors. Modern outdoor kitchens can be outfitted with appliances as diverse as grills, refrigerators, storage units and accessories such as beer taps. Countertops and cabinets are now cleverly designed to hide gas pipes and plumbing. These functional units should be constructed using weather-resistant materials in shades that complement the metallic appliances nestled between them.
Landscape lighting has become more than just a tool to prolong outdoor activities after the sun has set. Modern outdoor living designs exhibit carefully positioned lighting fixtures that create ambiance and draw attention to specific landscape features. Well lights, for example, can be used to highlight dwarf shrubs and colorful plant beds along a pathway. Path lights ensure safe navigation of the landscape while riser lights incorporated into stairways prevent injury and add a touch of elegance. Various landscape lighting techniques can be used to emphasize key hardscape features. Highlighting, for example, refers to a technique in which a spotlight is placed at the base of a feature. Moonlighting, a subtler technique, involves fitting a light and glare guard in a high position and angling it downwards to flood an area in soft light. This year is set to bring an increase in the use of solar-powered, energy-efficient LED lights which contribute to more environmentally-conscious landscapes.
High maintenance materials, such as wood, are seeing a decrease in popularity as people are moving more towards time efficiency and sustainability. Concrete paving is becoming an increasingly popular alternative to a number of natural building materials, offering convenience, variety and durability. Unilock’s wide range of stain-resistant concrete materials pair exquisite visual properties with minimal maintenance requirements. Take the practice of low maintenance into your landscape by adorning your plant beds with native varieties in order to create a landscape that requires little human input and is able to withstand the climate’s challenges. This environmentally-friendly practice improves biodiversity and attracts natural pollinators and wildlife. Allowing ground cover to grow between your pavers serves as another eco-friendly function, preventing the runoff of rainwater into drains and allowing the moisture to re-enter the soil instead. Unilock’s range of permeable pavers can also be used to redirect rainwater back to the local ecosystem.
Functional hardscape features
Pergolas and gazebos shelter outdoor furniture and frame individual spaces, subtly defining different outdoor rooms. Collapsible alternatives are great candidates for homeowners who aren’t seeking permanent structures but require occasional protection from the elements. Fire pits serve as comfortable conversation spots, combining evening ambiance with a cozy atmosphere. A curved seat wall topped with vibrant accent pillows can partially enclose a fire pit and serve as inconspicuous seating that blends into the surrounding hardscape. Topping a cocktail railing with a flat surface upon which cutlery and drinks can be placed, gives this ordinary hardscape feature a more functional role. Constructing the shelf using materials that complement other structures within your deck or patio will give the entire space a completed look.
Pet pens and playgrounds
Pets are important members of the family and more and more homeowners are honoring their pets by integrating their backyard designs with the amenities needed for happy, healthy animals. Ground-level water features are not only appealing to humans, but can also provide pets with drinking water and a place to play. A safety check is crucial, however, to ensure that your pets are able to climb out should they fall in. Fencing is often a vital safety mechanism to ensure that pets don’t wander off or encounter dangerous roaming animals. Fencing off a large expanse of lawn creates a pet run in which dogs can exercise. This keeps pets out of trouble and keeps their mess in one place. Fences or low walls can be constructed to complement the architectural style of the home and surrounding hardscape features.