Sunday, March 8, 2015

My Families Outdoor Living Space

                                         My Families Outdoor Living Space 

Understanding the term Family is, "  OHANA" in the Hawaiian language. Understanding Outdoor living space is termed as , " A gathering of those closest in your life and those who live as Ohana in your life. " 

So what makes up a family outdoor living space? Is it that my husband loves to cook on the grill or my wife loves to sit by the fire with her favorite adult beverage? Nah,  It might be even that the kids love to be outside and or your wishing they would just go outside right! I know , I have two that I wish the same.

I know some of you are thinking , why does all this matter? It does to the designer like myself. I want to know how much time do you spend outside , what are your likes and dislikes? What would you say you and your friends do on most summer weekends? Outdoor living spaces are the connection to family and gatherings with friends. Make good choices and your space will be all the above. Below is a great example of what a space can do.

Example: I asked Bob and Jane Smith this question. There answer might surprise you. The client wanted to have a large outdoor living space and budget around 45-50,000. I asked Bob , " How often do you and your family sit on the deck outside." Bob replied," We never sit out on our deck as a family, I use it to cook outside and let the dog in and out." So, I looked at Bob and said, " Bob , I have to be honest and don't take this the wrong way, I want your business , I just don't think that creating this large space off your deck will make you go outside anymore then you currently do?"  He looked at me strange at first and said , " Well , I am really the only one in the family that does go outside, But, I want to change that! " That's the best answer! I told Bob , " Great , Now we can create a space that will want to make you and your family gather together on the weekends and not just a space where you occasionally let the dog in and out or grill out on weekends alone."

Understanding ways that can create family togetherness in an outdoor living space is key. Think of these choices to create an better family and a better outdoor living space for you and your family.

1.) Cooking area for family.
2.) Fire and seating for family weekend togetherness.
3.) Uniqueness to your space. Not just an ordinary patio.
4.) Structure for days when weather is not good but still can enjoy that weekend cookout.
5.) Everyone in the family should have there wants and needs for the space.

SO.....OHANA is family and family make up a great outdoor living space.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015


I always get asked what is the biggest difference between pavers and stamp concrete? 

ANSWER: Concrete stamped is poured on a solid slab and pavers have individual joint lines with grout as a bonding agent.

Why is concrete less expensive then a paver patio? 

Image result for crack stamped concrete patio

ANSWER: Concrete poured on site and stamped requires less labor and minimal preparation as with a paver patio. Pavers are individual stones laid on a rock base and 1in of sand for leveling. Pavers are warranted as concrete patios are not warranted products. Cracking in cold climates and unsettled slabs are inevitable and will happen over time. Pavers allow flex and control of freeze thaw in climates where cold temperatures are a factor.

Do pavers get grass between the joints? Concrete does not do that? 

ANSWER: Pavers that are not properly grouted or installed correctly will have a higher chance of getting weeds in those areas. However , a properly grouted patio and well maintained patio (sealing) will last forever. Concrete over time of weather related cracks build up breaks that will allow weeds to grow.

Can I repair a cracked concrete stamped patio to save money? 

ANSWER: Lets be honest if you wreck your car and total the front it will never drive the same correct? Just like the example a patio that is cracked can be patched  or bandage. However , it will never be fully repaired until you rip out and start over. Pavers are individual concrete pavers that can easily be removed and re-installed if need repair or need moved. Concrete slabs are a solid pc.

Why are concrete slabs or stamped patios tax accessed in most states and pavers are not? 

ANSWER: Concrete is a solid slab considered attached to your home where pavers are individual pavers that are considered not attached or tax accessed. Each state has different laws. Check with your accountant or state official for assessments.

Bottom line a product that is warranted or carries a lifetime warranty is a better investment and return on investment. Money well spent. 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Patio shapes and borders

Patio shapes and borders for an outdoor living space become a key element in the way a patio looks and the shape and feel it takes on after the main floor is layed.

3 key factors that we propose to our clients :   1) STYLE - style is best well described in the hardscape world as round , square or mix. Each of these shapes has and will make a patio's style become it's own. Round represents a loose style to the patio , warm in nature and allows corners to be highlighted with certain elements ( Fire features , water features .) Round also gives room for creating your own style and shape to highlight certain areas of the outdoor space.

SQUARE SHAPE - Is most often refered to the style as modern or contemporary. Square shapes of outdoor living space keep things confined as seperate rooms of a home or space. Square can create sharp features with borders and with fire and water features tucked in a visual from your main house. Squares can be cold and can create a cold look to an outdoor space , However borders stand out far more in a square patio.

MIX- Exactly as the name say's , A mix of round and square can create a happy medium to an outdoor space , creating sharp fire elements and round seatwalls to compliment the feel of a warm inviting space . We use mix elements in cases where the home has sharp corners and square peaks . By using a mix we can compliment the homes shape and give curves to make the space seem not so square. Borders can be highlighted in square areas of the patio as a curve to offset it's tight look.

BORDERS- How to decide a look? Easier than we make it . Color should always be complimented in earthy tones as in nature. Red and Grey for example , Work well if you have a ranch style home or red bricked home with white trim. Grey and Greyer, Work well for a modern look or contemporary look and splashed with a white or black. Tan & Grey, Work great for the traditional home and a everyday favorite as everything goes together!

Thanks for reading and I hope this helps with your decision making process for your new outdoor living space.

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