Recently, our resident patio and hardscape expert shared some of his thoughts on the fundamentals of hardscape design. Rob Mitchell is our patio and hardscape expert and is truly a craftsman. He shared with me the basics that go into creating a magical outdoor space, and also the key elements that need that go into the recipe for aesthetic appeal, good function and convenience. In many instances our customers bring some of their own ideas to the table, Rob is able to take these ideas and translate them into the design in ways that are quite impressive. In design, every space is different, and should be treated as such. We like to see something develop and enjoy working with homeowners through the entire process.
How arc and tangent play a role in good design
The initial thing we try to do with the design of each outdoor structure is to create a grand entrance into the structure, or a grand entrance exiting the structure. This goes back to the old cliché’ that ” first impressions mean everything”. This could not be more true, the first impression sets the tone and expectation for the design in its entirety. We usually achieve this through the staircase that leads you into the structure itself. We use a great deal of arc and tangent design that incorporate the use of curved lines. Curved lines soften the back of your home, are more intriguing than straight lines, and offer more opportunities within the design to serve specific function. For instance, using curves and circles within the areas that you wish to designate for living and conversation areas versus dining areas. The decks from the past were squares and rectangles, using arc and tangent leaves more room for open creativity and lends the design to connect the curves with no flat spots so the design is seamless and continuous. Arc and tangent promote flow and harmony as you move from one structure to another, or from each area of designated function into another. Circles and curves are more relaxed and easier and more visually appealing to connect to.
The hot new trends are destined to become timeless classics
Design statements can also be made through the use of colors and textures. Most of the time our customers allow us to pick the colors. In general, with patios and hardscapes, earth tones are very popular right now. We are seeing a trend towards the use of larger pavers with natural stone texture, similar to a rock texture on the top. One of the ways in which we like to add drama to our hardscape designs is to change direction in which we lay the materials for our patios. Often times, we will lay the pavers soldier course around the patio and have a 45 degree angle. This spices the design up a bit. We also like to use seating walls with lighting and banding. The use of retaining walls and planters blend especially well with a patio/deck combination structure because it adds height without creating a stark contrast. Thinking “outside the box” , by using arc and tangent when it comes to outdoor living designs offers more flow and harmony within the structure itself and makes it a joy to look at as well.
We are also building a large number of outdoor fire pits and fireplaces to partner with our deck and patio combinations. Letting Archadeck of Columbus design a custom feature such as this promotes continuity of the custom feel and we can pull accents from your home to make it a cohesive design. Rob said, ” if he won the lottery himself, he would build a deck/patio/outdoor fireplace combination in his own backyard.” This speaks volumes on the impact adding an outdoor fireplace or fire pit can make in your own backyard!
The only thing we would like to see people do more with is integrated patio lighting. Good lighting creates an ambiance, not necessarily in areas that it would perform function, but to create more mood. Adding light to areas such as risers in stairs, beneath seating walls, or even as a banding in the border of a patio will create mood. Unilock pavers actually offer a glowing luminescent paver to use in borders or as banding, it is not cheap, but the effect is well worth the cost.
See more of our patio and hardscape designs and outdoor fireplace and fire pit designs by visiting our patio and hardscape gallery, and our outdoor fireplace and fire pit design gallery, both located on our website.