A variety of work-at-home trends and cultural shifts – not the least being the effect of the global pandemic – have caused many families to spend more time at home. And, more time at home has led some homeowners to observe that their living spaces may have more potential than is currently being utilized – leading to contemplation about the unrealized aesthetic potential of their outdoor areas. Fascinating possibilities in outdoor design come to light when exploring the new materials, colors and styles that have recently become available – seemingly “popping up” everywhere on the internet as homeowners and landscape professionals have executed exciting new outdoor living ideas – many of them well within the reach of a normal family’s budget. Following are several interesting hardscape design trends vividly appearing on this year’s radar.
Fire Features add Focus and Warmth
Including a fire feature in your hardscape design plan provides a dazzling focal point; equally as enchanting whether you choose to relax and read alone by the firelight, or host an evening of friends and family gathered around a magical conversation area. The fire feature pictured (installed by the Envision team in 2021) is a great example. The circular shape is inviting and made even more visually appealing with its combination of naturally-textured river rock and random geometric lines.
Monochromatic Elements of Varying Heights and Sizes
With the increased assortment of durable, yet attractive, hardscape materials available today, the ability to create fascinating monochromatic spaces has greatly increased. Color matching across an entire outdoor space with aesthetic made possible by manufactured stone – from patio, to stairs and paths, to water feature basins and retaining walls – instantly gives an entertainment area a luxurious, professional, resort look. Stone manufacturer Techo-Bloc has an impressive variety of materials and sizes in matching popular colors and textures. While a given installation may feature a single color, a wide variety of textures in that matching color give the installation an elevated, distinguished design look.
Say Goodbye to Dull Concrete, Hello to Unique Driveways
Many are taking their home’s total aesthetic look to a higher level by replacing their utilitarian concrete driveways with those composed of stone pavers – in an almost endless variety of interesting colors and patterns. The driveway in the photo (featuring materials from Unilock) takes long and winding driveway and seamlessly transitions in into the entry walkup – creating one-of-a-kind curb appeal and a “statement” entrance to the home. Today’s paver driveways have endless design options, are more durable than concrete, and easy to maintain.
The Low Maintenance Grass Alternative – Artificial Turf
A show-stopping yet low-maintenance way to keep your outdoor space verdant, vibrant and perfectly manicured during all seasons is through an artificial turf installation. High-quality artificial turf products (guaranteed to last up to two decades) are far more accessible today than they were years ago. With artificial turf, you’ll no longer mow, seed, fertilize, water or otherwise worry about keeping grass alive.
In the adjacent photo notice the turf installation around the homeowner’s pool. Envision installed the turf to reduce debris in the pool and eliminate muddy-grass areas (formerly generated through a combination of pool water, natural grass, and the homeowners’ large dogs). Now the pool and surrounding areas always looks great with little-to-no yard work. And, as an added feature, the turf was also used to create a backyard putting and chipping green!
Winding, Wandering, Walkways
Many hardscape designers are abandoning straight as an arrow walkways for a more “twisted” approach to directing traffic through outdoor spaces. Winding pathways lend new perspectives to outdoor areas and are an easy way to give your space a fresh, contemporary feel. In the photo, the clean, straight lines of the Techo-Bloc manufactured stone slabs create a visually interesting juxtaposition to the winding pathway. And, the natural pea-sized gravel, large natural boulders and well-manicured green-space add another dimension to the aesthetic.