say homeowners are turning the old design mantra of bringing the
outside in on its head. Instead, they’re keeping the outside where
it is but making more use of it
The good news
about this trend is that nearly everyone can participate,as savvy
builders design phased approaches to fit most any budget.
Tim Niemiec of
American Paving Design in Bluffton, S.C. is excited to see the
interest as well as the range of possibilities.
seeing a lot more outdoor living areas," Niemiec said. "It
doesn’t even have to be a large-scale project. It’s almost like
you’re creating your own outdoor room; smaller and larger patios
that are really just an extension of your home. Fireplaces, small
outdoor kitchens, grilling areas – especially in this area – a lot
of retirees move down here from the north and northeast and want to
enjoy the outside areas, so they’re going more and more to these
larger outdoor living areas."
companies are focusing more on the hardscaping component; things like
paver patios, sitting benches and retaining walls, where they
incorporate different styles for a customized look while creating more
usable space in the yard and bringing balance to the landscaping.
Both Niemiec and
John Ruggeri, of Precision Pavers, Inc. in Lutz, Fla., said they’ve
seen a big increase in homeowners with pools upgrading their pool
decks to incorporate more stone pavers instead of concrete. Travertine
pavers, for example, have grown in popularity. They’re stylish and
cool on the feet in a hot climate.
"The No. 1
scope of business right now seems to be remodeling the pool
deck," Ruggeri said. "Most people with existing pools that
were built in the 1980s, ‘90s and even the early 2000s were of the
pool deck nature. They had a concrete deck that was stained. Most of
those are kind of outdated at this point. Most customers are upgrading
and remodeling those with either pavers or travertine."
interest in hardscaping by homeowners has led to more hardscaping
options being made available by manufacturers.
seeing a lot of different styles of pavers," Niemiec said.
"The selection and variety is just unbelievable now. Instead of
seeing the same thing over and over again, like maybe 10 years ago
when you saw maybe five different colors and two different shapes, now
we’re seeing 10 or 12 different shapes and 30 different colors from
all these manufacturers. So, it gives them a wide variety of looks and
styles and shapes they’re able to utilize."
Because of the
increased popularity, more homeowners are also taking the
do-it-yourself route in hardscaping projects. Many are also finding
out just how difficult it can be to do a hardscaping project on their
own. The biggest issue, both Niemiec and Ruggeri said, is homeowners
don’t properly prepare the base. The result is often hardscaped
areas that are uneven.
ripped up quite a few homeowner-done patios" Niemiec said.
"They did it (themselves) initially to save their money but then
they have to redo everything they’ve done and end up spending almost
twice as much money. It’s really a costly process. I’m a fan of
having homeowners do things themselves, but this is very physical,
demanding type of work and it’s very difficult to do it right. It
really takes a good eye and good knowledge to do this type of
projects can range in price. A paver patio can cost several thousand
dollars, whereas an outdoor kitchen can cost in the tens of thousands
of dollars. For homeowners on a budget, most hardscaping design can be
executed in phases. Niemiec, for example, said he puts together a
three-dimensional design for homeowners with different options. The
first option might just be a paver patio, while the second option
would include a sitting bench and fire pit and the third option would
include a full outdoor kitchen.
a very, very important part of my business," Niemiec said.
"They can see the add-on that they can add later, or they can do
it all at one time. It’s definitely something they can start with
just a basic patio and grow from there."