Perhaps the most broadly used term in landscape design; hardscape can refer to a vast spectrum of features. Choosing when to use each element of hardscape can become the art of creating a cohesive and functional space. All the nonliving materials used to create outdoor living spaces are utilized by Landscape Architects to create balance and harmony in outdoor living.
Hardscape designs utilize wide variations of materials in color, textures, depth, weight and structural integrity. When skillfully arranged together, create great outdoor gems, adding value to both your home and your enjoyment of the great outdoors in your own backyard.
The landscape architects at Poynter specialize in the design of beautiful and functional spaces that often include hardscape elements. The right design will make a world of difference in a properties look, appeal, function and thusly, its value. Hardscape can highlight a properties beauty or create features where there were none. Choosing when to add a large fire place as a feature or a simple fire pit that blends with a view is what good design is all about. Creating functional, long lasting, and simply beautiful hardscape features is the tradition Poynter Landscape Architecture has established since 1992 and works diligently to carry on.
If thoughtfully and correctly designed a patio or terrace is a wonderful way to extend your living space into the outdoors and is often the foundation for outdoor spaces. Patios come in many shapes and sizes and can be constructed out of materials such as concrete, brick, pavers, and tile.
The lack of proper paths and walkways can make the various elements of your outdoor space appear disjointed. Consider a walkway to connect these elements by adding transitions and connections. This is also an opportunity to get creative with hardscape materials, plants and even landscape lighting.
Your outdoor living area may benefit from a retaining or seating wall. Retaining walls are usually thought of as utilitarian and only needed for holding back soil. However, these innovative barriers also provide additional sitting areas and can be used to increase functional yard space by creating visual separation among the different elements of your space.
Fencing offers seclusion and are a popular and versatile privacy option. They come in a range of materials, colors and styles that offer varying degrees of privacy. Limited panels strategically placed also can be very effective and a great asset to highlight privacy. Fence height, density, and materials are controlled by most city or community ordinances so it is important to do your ‘homework’ before beginning a fencing project.
Homeowners are learning about the joys of open-air cooking and al fresco dining spaces by building outdoor kitchen in their backyards. With an outdoor kitchen you can prepare meals and be around your guests and never have to take a break from the fun. An outdoor kitchen can be a big investment, yet it is an investment that is sure to add lasting value to your home
Fire, the ‘original’ evening entertainment for thousands of years provided security and life for human kind. Modern day, fire pits and fire places bring the campfire experience into the home setting. Nothing says quality time quite like relaxing around a fire with your family or your favorite book. Fire features come in many shapes and sizes and can be made to operate with propane or natural gas burners, as well as traditional wood burning.
Landscape Architects use driveways as a perfect opportunity to create a cohesive, coordinated look between your homes’ landscape and architecture. Landscape Architects get the most out of your driveway space by creating multifunctional spaces which can double as extended patios and sports courts while incorporating important elements such as drainage, privacy, parking, and turn-arounds. Personalize your space though the countless finishes available and provide your guests with a great first impression as they approach your home.
Decks are one of the most popular outdoor living elements because decks are built to accommodate the existing grade surrounding your home. In addition, it is possible to create level areas without making major changes to the drainage and slopes surrounding your home. Decks can be constructed from treated wood, composite materials or even plastic.
Great landscape projects should end with a landscape lighting system. After all, everyone should be able to enjoy their outdoor living space after dark. Effective landscape lighting techniques will create space and depth at night to highlight landscape elements that are not visible during day light. Lighting will add to the appearance of your home by accenting the architectural features and providing easier navigation around your yard at night.
An outdoor structure can often be the finishing touch for your outdoor environment. Outdoor structures come in varied forms and include pergolas, pavilions, arbors and other shade structures. These structures can be utilized to allow enjoyment of the outdoors while offering protection from the elements. Using outdoor structures in conjunction with other features such as outdoor kitchens and fireplaces can create an inviting space for friends and family to gather and enjoy the open air even when weather conditions are less than perfect. Listed below are some common outdoor structures:
Pavilions typically have roofs that are similar to a house. Imagine a house without any walls! You may commonly think of pavilions in park picnic areas, but a pavilion can be built in any shape or size for any space. It is a feature that can be seamlessly integrated into your landscape design to add beauty to your outdoor space while also adding essential functionality.
Typically smaller than a pavilion; a traditional gazebo is an eight-sided shade structure with a solid roof, built-in bench running along the inside, and open sides to enjoy the surrounding views. Gazebos are less popular today partially because architecture styles have changed. However, a modern gazebo is not limited to an octagonal floor plan and can be an elegant, refined choice if it is built well and seamlessly incorporated into the landscape.
A pergola can add shade and dramatically cool a hot area around your home. Pergolas do not have a solid roof allowing for partial sunlight to shine through on a beautiful day. Many times, these structures are used in gardens, to cover walkways, or to provide shelter for elegant outdoor seating. A pergola with its open sides lets you enjoy some shelter without obstructing the views of the outdoor living area.
A pool house is a second house on the property which can include a second kitchen, game room, or even a spare bedroom for guests who want privacy. The term cabana is often used interchangeably, but this is not a pool house. Cabanas are typically three-sided roofed structure designed to provide shelter and privacy at pool side.
Outdoor structures increase the square footage of your home at a fraction of the price of a full blown home addition and homeowners are more likely to utilize their outdoor living rooms on a regular basis.
Designing and building an outdoor living room can be an intimidating process; let Poynter help! By employing a slightly different approach for these types of projects, you receive the best expertise in design, horticulture, and craftsman construction, plus all the follow through your project deserves. Poynter Landscape Architecture and Construction is an award winning design build architecture firm bringing 25 years of experience to St. Louis and its surrounding areas.