Hosting Outside Areas
There’s more than an outside chance that folks hosting friends, family and other invited guests at their homes for cookouts, drinks or casual get together will include backyards, decks, pools and patios in the designated seating, eating and mingling areas.
As social functions increasingly migrate from formal dining rooms to informal settings around fire pits, homeowners are investing in exterior spaces that are appealing, attractive and no longer at the mercy of outdoor elements like rain, sun and insects.
For starters, the latest looks in natural stone tiles and pavers can serve as initial inspiration for a newly imagined exterior entertainment space.
Tumbled travertine tiles and marble pavers like those stocked by Stone-Mart can distinguish an area with colorful shades, vibrant designs and eclectic patterns that elevate any exterior design project.With a wider selection than ever before of natural stone products available in the marketplace, homeowners can easily find a foundation that adds impact and visual interest to any landscape.
Outside Living Spaces – Extension Of Home Indoor Space
“People want to improve their outside living space and make it an extension of their home. And they are more adventurous now about how they transform that space because there are so many more options,” said Eric Barthelemy, director of sales and marketing for Stone-Mart Marble Group. “Outside areas are considered rooms without walls. You want the same individual expression on the inside as on the outside. But you design the outside for the specific reason of how it will be used.”
Key factors to consider when selecting a surface that best suits an outdoor space are affordability, sustainability, individuality and style,he added.
“Homeowners are embracing the multitude of options travertine and marble offer when considering current and future décor for their outdoor living space.”
One of the splashiest ways to liven up an outdoor area is to integrate pools, spas, waterfalls and fountains into the landscape.
Landmark Pools has been designing, building and installing ways to showcase water-focused features for decades. Their professional scan create an aquatic environment inspired by nature, complete with man-made boulders, a zero-entry pool with a water line level with the deck or a continuous cascade over a border-less, negative edge as well as a fire pit and sitting area surrounded by water and built within the footprint of the pool.
Replacing the free-form, resort-style pools that were once popular are more contemporary designs with straight lines. Also out of vogue are deepwater pools that could accommodate diving boards.
“Today people want contemporary, clean lines and are opting for shallower pools that are five feet deep, at the most. The shallower pools allow for more activities like volleyball and accommodate kids playing in all areas of the pool,” said Bart O’Connell, CEO of Landmark Pools.
Adding a bit of bling to the outside setting is the latest in swimming pool accents, glass tile finishes, or jewelry bands, that reflect light and add a special sparkle to the water.
Swimming pools continue to be a big selling point for families who are buying or building their first homes. Even grandparents who may have retired and moved to a new home want a private pool for themselves as well as for their grandchildren.
Completing A Outside Area
Of course, no outside area is complete without functional, yet fashionable, furniture that beckons guests to recline, relax and really relish a natural outdoor setting.
“People are treating outside living spaces like they do the inside of their home,” said Hollie Driscoll, business development manager for Just Grillin. Her company crafts the outside living experience by designing and building outdoor kitchens, fire pits and offering luxury outdoor furniture. “It’s inviting to have the comfort of the indoors, outdoors.”
With the growing popularity of outdoor kitchens, dining sets suitable for areas fully exposed or partially under cover are definitely in demand along with other key pieces.
“We’re seeing a huge trend in clients purchasing large tables that can seat up to eight people,” Driscoll said. “We hear and see, more often now, the need for items that can host a good amount of people.”
She recommends investing in furnishings made with a wood finis hor wrought aluminum coating that can withstand the weather. Wicker is another good choice for Florida that appeals to a lot of homeowners.
“Rather than buying cheap furniture that you’ll throw away after a year or two, a good set will save you in the long run,” Driscoll said.“You can easily change the fabric, the colors and accent pillows if you want to shake up the look. The warranties on the brands we carry make the items worth it. We keep everything in stock and on file going back to the 1970s so when it’s time to add or replace apiece, we have exactly what you need, even discontinued items.”
Outside Made Comfortable
Finally, it’s important to make almost everyone feel welcome while entertaining under the sun or stars. One way to guard against uninvited guests like mosquitos, unbearable temperatures and soggy storms that can ruin a good time is with the help of specialized products and services.
A-NIKS Outdoor Comfort Solutions offers state-of-the-art turbo cooling systems, outdoor heaters and pest management treatments that can make any outdoor area more hospitable.
“A lot of people are spending up to a half million dollars on their back yards then find they can’t enjoy being outside. We specialize in controlling those elements that enhance outdoor living,” said AlErturk, A-NIKS president.
From bug spray made with botanical ingredients to awnings,shades and sun covers that can be adjusted according to whatever direction is in need of protection, to electric-, gas- or propane-powered heaters to air cooling technology, with or without misters, A-NIKS can transform any patio or pool deck into a year round,outdoor sanctuary.
“No job is too big or too small. Typically we can have most installations completed within four to six weeks from the time they are under contract,” added Erturk. “We are a licensed pest control contractor, licensed aluminum contractor and a general contractor.No one else does all that we do for outdoor comfort. We make people’s lives better.”
By: Mary Lou Janson