Creating a 21st century patio
patio is more than simple barbecue space.
Weber grill on a concrete square worked well in the 1950s and 1960s, but today's
homeowner is looking for much more than simple barbecue space.
to the Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association, outdoor living in the 21st century
means bringing all the comforts of the indoors outdoors. In order to bring the
indoors out, homeowners need a cooking appliance, a table and chairs for dining
and a hearth product to extend the season.
This entire "leisure
lifestyle" industry is now a $6.2 billion industry, up 5.4 percent compared to
2002. According to the U.S. Census Bureau in 2005, one-third of nearly $150 billion
on home remodeling went towards outdoor living areas.
clients are making their outdoor space a No. 1 priority since it expands their
family living area as well as their entertainment space," says Marion Gorski,
a senior designer for JR's Creative Landscaping of Naperville, Ill. with over
36 years of experience designing residential patio and landscape areas.
any work is even begun, Gorski feels homeowners must ask themselves a few questions.
|Key patio-planning questions:|
do you envision the area? Will it be used for cooking, entertaining, quiet space,
play space for children or sunning? Are you looking for privacy from other homes?
Would a fireplace or fire pit allow you the extended use of the area for evenings
or cooler seasons?|
big do you need it? How many people are in the family, and how many friends and
neighbors would you like to accommodate?|
will it be used? Will the area be used mornings, afternoons or evenings? |
is your budget? What spending parameters have you planned for your project?|
Before any work can be done on the
project by a designer or a handy homeowner, it is crucial to know the elevations
from entry and exit points, property size and local codes. This will help you
determine the materials that can be used, howmuch space is permitted and how the
correct design will harmonize with the home.
Factors to consider when selecting materials include not only
your budget but also the cost of cleaning, sealing or repairing through the years.
Many homeowners still select concrete as their material of
choice for their patio. "Todays concrete patio is as unique as its owners.
Modern stamping, texture and coloring techniques complement any landscape and
provide a touch of individuality to the back yard," says Jim Peterson, president
of The Concrete Network in Yucaipa, Calif., publisher of a Web site that covers
the concrete industry. "Across the country, companies that specialize in concrete
patios are seeing an enormous increase in elaborate outdoor living spaces -- all
kinds of hardscaping and landscaping projects, including decorative concrete,
are quickly emerging as the new material of choice for todays patio."
Peterson notes that many homeowners are combining concrete with other materials
such as brick, tile or flagstone. In addition, wood, steel or copper dividers
can be used as control joints to help prevent cracking.
prefer decks to either concrete patios or pavers. According to Gorski, todays
homeowners dont want to invest the time or effort involved in staining wood
decks so they are looking for other materials to use. There are a variety of looks
available in synthetic decking. "Todays resin, all types of plastics or
fiberglass -- which have no wood in them at all --give a wood appearance and have
the texture of wood. Although its initially more expensive to install than
an actual wood deck, these materials are an early investment versus continuous
Natural stone, such as limestone or bluestone,
is still used today on custom projects. Although timeless in its appearance and
resistant to the elements, natural stone has its limits regarding installation,
budget and material costs.