2017 Hardscaping Trends
Paving the way to an outdoor retreat
By Dawn Henning
With the arrival of warmer weather comes the urge to flock to home and garden shows and home improvement stores. Visitation to blogs and social bookmarking sites, such as Pinterest, skyrockets from those seeking products and ideas for creating or improving outdoor spaces for year-round enjoyment.
Hardscaped spaces give your backyard a purpose, serving as the foundation for the rest of your outdoor design. These areas are an extension of the home and can include a deck or patio, providing an additional, usable living space that can be enjoyed by all.
Pergolas, gazebos and pavilions are popular in today’s outdoor living arena and function as durable, stylish outdoor living rooms. In addition to offering shading and protection from the elements, these structures allow homeowners and guests to enjoy their dining space, bar or seating area in the great outdoors. Stacked stone or brick columns lend a solid, strong foundation to these areas, while colorful hanging planters, curtains and furnishings afford a natural, elegant setting.
Stacked stone fireplaces and fire pits are another popular trend, serving as the focal point for many outdoor patios. They offer comfortable conversation spots for homeowners and their guests, warming up cool evenings with a cozy atmosphere that complements almost any outdoor space. A curved wall topped with vibrant accent pillows can partially enclose a fire pit, providing a durable, inconspicuous seating area that blends into the surrounding hardscape.
A water feature can enhance the outdoor living experience and become a charming focal point for your backyard. Try adding a fountain to balance an outdoor fireplace or fire pit, or to add interest to the hardscape surrounding a swimming pool.
Clay and concrete pavers have become an increasingly popular alternative to wood decking or poured concrete, offering convenience, variety and durability as well as an affordable means to expand your home’s outdoor living area. They create beautifully unique walkways and driveways, and provide diverse options for stunning patio and poolside hardscapes. Pavers are available in weathered or straight-edge textures, multiple colors and endless pattern options to suit almost any outdoor landscaping design ideas or needs.
Retaining walls are another great addition that can drastically enhance the appearance of a property, while also serving as a durable solution for sloping yards. Made from high-strength concrete, retaining walls are easy to install and complement outdoor fireplaces or fire pits as well as paver products. Incorporating retaining walls into an outdoor living area expands a homeowner’s usable space by terracing the ground, creating additional room for patios, spas, gardens and landscaping. They can also reduce the need for steps.
For consumers looking to feature an abundance of color in their backyard oasis, with or without the addition of retaining walls or pavers, adorn your planting beds with native varieties to create a landscape that requires minimal maintenance and is able to withstand the elements. The right combination of colorful flowers, green shrubbery, attractive hardscaping and creative design touches will provide a vibrant hangout spot throughout the spring and summer seasons.
Dawn Henning is director of marketing and retail sales for General Shale.