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April 2017

Paver Patterns for Imaginative Patios in Milton, MA

Milton has consistently been high on Money Magazine’s “Best Places to Live” list. Venerable 19th-century country houses and estates still stand among the mostly upscale, single-family homes built throughout the second half of the 20th century. With the first sign of spring, the residents of Milton are outdoors, climbing the hills in the Blue Hills Reservation and walking along the Neponset River Estuary. You will also find them preparing their personal outdoors for summer.

For those without a patio, it may be the time to have one installed, for al fresco dining, entertaining and relaxing. The best way to do that is with Unilock pavers. It’s an exciting prospect, not only in thinking about the pleasure you’ll receive from the finished patio, but in the designing of it. To get you started, here are some pattern choices for your special patio.

Running Bond Pattern

Running bond is the most popular pattern for patios. The pavers are laid side by side in a pattern similar to that of a brick wall, resulting in a modern, linear design that visually lengthens or widens your patio depending on the direction of the pavers. This pattern works really well for smaller patios.

Artline pavers from Unilock have the clean, sleek lines that suit this pattern. The 5-inch-wide pavers in lengths of 6 ¾”, 10 ¼” and 13 ¼” maintain uniformity while enabling variety. The colors follow through with the theme of modernity, and you need not choose only one color. A Tuscany patio bordered with 17 ¾” x 7 ½” Winter Marvel pavers is especially striking.

Basket Weave Pattern

The basket weave is also very popular. It is a pattern reminiscent of an Old English formal garden and gives your patio a vintage quality. The pavers are installed in an alternating vertical and horizontal design that creates rows and columns.

The surface of Beacon Hill Flagstone from Unilock has a natural appearance and, with its blended colors, lends itself well to the relaxed tone of the basket weave. The pavers are available in large rectangles, small rectangles and squares. Almond Grove as the primary color with the occasional Steel Mountain paver gives the overall design dimension.

Herringbone Pattern

Pavers are laid in alternating directions, creating a “V” shape with a 45-degree or 90-degree angle. The herringbone pattern creates a striking visual effect, plus it is the pattern with the most interlock, thus enhancing the strength and durability of the pavers and overall surface.

Related Read: 5 Ways to Upgrade Your Massachusetts Driveway

Town Hall pavers are naturals for the herringbone pattern. They are cast from original brick street pavers and have a time-honed finish. The paver comes in one size and several colors. The choice of jointing compound makes a tremendous difference in the final design, so experiment with the black, tan and gray sands. These pavers are permeable, responsibly melding the antique look of a brick road with modern environmental concerns.

European Fan Pattern

The fan pattern originated in Europe and brings to your patio a refinement associated with the “Old World.” The installation needs a professional hardscaping contractor with the finesse of an artist to fully realize the charm of the pattern. You can bring your own creativity to the project with your choice of size, pavers and colors.

The textured surface of Il Campo continues the European theme of the pattern. The brushed lines etched into the pavers are an “attention to detail” that adds immeasurably to a handsome patio. Il Campo pavers come in three sizes that together give you countless possibilities for the design. Heritage Brown with tan sand jointing compound results in a truly stunning fan pattern.

Related: Natural Stone vs Concrete Paver Patio for Your MA Home

Creating Privacy in Your Massachusetts Backyard

In this world of instant communication, a space to unplug and unwind is essential for peace of mind and privacy. It’s not that we dislike the neighbors; it’s that we want to have that first cup of coffee on the patio with a bed head and mismatched pajamas.

There are fences, of course, high enough and solid enough to ensure privacy, but often aren’t decorative or discrete enough to maintain a soothing backyard ambience. Luckily, there are other options. Let’s take a look at how you can ensure your privacy while contributing to the overall décor of your backyard.

Thuja Green Giant

Now here’s a lush fence that remains soft and thick all year long. The Thuja Green Giant grows fast, three to five feet a year, and because it grows so tall and slim, it takes up little very little space. They look like those elegant sculpted trees in a French Renaissance garden and maintain their shape well, even without pruning. The Thuja can be planted in rows to create a privacy shield and will also help with heating bills by protecting your home from the wind.

Quaking Aspens

Quaking Aspens lined up along the edge of your property are hard to top in terms of natural beauty and elegance. Their trunks are smooth and pale with black markings. Their green leaves are glossy, and in autumn turn into the most spectacular shades of gold for a stunning visual effect. Quaking Aspens adapt well to any climate and grow from the frigid Arctic Circle to the burning heat of Sierra Madre in Mexico. A slightly faster grower than the Thuja, Quaking Aspens shoot up some four to six feet a year. If planted in groups of four or more, the Quaking Aspen can provide the ambience of a backyard forest and the kind of privacy that goes with it.  The Quaking Aspen is one of the few trees that can be identified by their sound. The leaves are roughly square shaped and flutter and tinkle, like a soft wind chime.

Bamboo

Bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants on the face of the earth. Plant it along your property line, at selected spaces around your yard or around your patio, and you will have a graceful, swaying, Zen-like privacy fence. Bamboo can get out of control though, so may require containers to restrain its growth.

Garden Structures

Pergolas and trellises are attractive structure that can be used to create an area of privacy in your yard. They diminish the ability of visual interlopers to look in without completely blocking your view or stopping that lovely breeze from coming through. You can enclose as much or as little of your yard as you like in whatever arrangement that serves your purposes. Ivy and/or flowering vines can be added to further ensure a secluded retreat.

Screens

Screens are beautiful outdoor privacy options that are available in a wide range of materials, including bamboo, wicker, wood, resin, and vinyl. Many of them fold out to allow for interesting arrangements. Screens may also be hung from outdoor structures. Place them how, when and where you need privacy.

Related: 5 Most Important Landscape Design Essentials in Every Backyard

5 Ways to Upgrade Your Massachusetts Driveway

Your driveway plays a big part in your property’s curb appeal and is often the first thing people notice when they view your home. A well designed, functional, and good-looking driveway is an important component of your home for this reason, but you also have to drive in and out of it everyday, so make sure it’s the best it can be!

Stylish Walls and Gates

Having walls and a gate for your driveway not only make for a stylish entrance, they are also functional and promote better security. Natural stone walls can provide a rich and characterful aesthetic and offers a sturdier structure than a simple wooden fence. Natural stone walls are also generally considered more attractive than plastered concrete due to their rich surface texture and natural coloring.

Some homeowners may desire a gate for their driveway. Determining the style of gate depends on your own tastes and architectural style of your home. You don’t have to go overboard with a dramatic cast-iron gate that makes your home look like a forbidden fortress. The intention should be to provide security or privacy while also creating a welcoming driveway entrance. There are a variety of wooden and metal gate designs available that are sturdy and still look amazing.

Related: Front Yard Landscaping to Boost Your Curb Appeal

Create Perfection with Pavers

To upgrade the material from which your driveway is constructed, consider installing natural stone or concrete pavers. These offer a vast array of different designs and styles to suit your tastes and are available in a number of different shapes, sizes, colors and textures. When choosing a paved driveway design consider whether or not it’s compatible with the architecture and theme of your property. With so many options available it’s easy to pick one that matches your desired driveway aesthetic.

Illuminate your Driveway

Driveway lighting is important for creating a safe and welcoming entrance to your property after dark. Light up your spectacular driveway paving material with lighting set close to ground level or include surrounding landscape features by having your driveway lighting mounted on pillars. Driveway lighting can also be embedded into low walls or retaining walls flanking your driveway, or be embedded into the driveway edging for lighting that remains discreet and out of the way during the day.

Highlight your Driveway with Plantings

Improving the landscape flanking your driveway can also go a long way towards an attractive, welcoming entrance. Lush greenery can highlight the color of your paving materials or soften the appearance of the paved area. These plantings can be incorporated into plant beds that run alongside your driveway or be placed at eye level by incorporating retaining walls into your landscape design.

Not Enough Space?

Is your driveway too narrow for easy accessibility? Maybe you don’t have enough space for parking and guests have to park on the street? Consider the advantages of extending the width of your driveway. This can eliminate a daily inconvenience, improve the appearance and functionality of your property and increase accessibility. While a driveway remodel is the ideal solution to this problem, a simple driveway apron can be added to flare out the entrance and allow for easier access, while a wide border can increase the width of an existing surface.

5 Most Important Landscape Design Essentials in Every Backyard Massachusetts

5 Most Important Landscape Design Essentials in Every Backyard

Your Massachusetts backyard should be a vibrant, fun area of which you can be proud. After all, it’s a place for spending time with family, entertaining guests, and relaxing after a challenging day. Here are five design essentials to set you on your way towards an incredible backyard.

Originality

Don’t settle for a sterile or cookie-cutter design. Originality is key for a design you can proudly incorporate into your backyard. Try a bold, innovative design or consider a new take on a traditional, modern, mediterranean or rustic theme. Incorporating select, personalized pieces is also an excellent way of achieving originality. Natural features also offer a unique aesthetic owing to the fact they are produced as one of a kind by nature. Consider incorporating natural stone pavers, rock arrangements or naturalistic water features to ensure your landscape stands out from the crowd.

Useable living space

A useable outdoor living space is essential for entertaining and relaxation and may also serve as a space for preparing food and dining. As such, your patio should be designed with elegance, practicality and comfort in mind, while reflecting the beauty of the rest of your property.

High quality paving materials, as well as functional facilities such as an outdoor kitchen, wet bar and fire feature are excellent options for creating such a space. Comfort also plays a huge role and can be facilitated by comfortable, carefully selected outdoor furniture or convenient permanent seating. For an evening ambience, don’t forget to include lighting.

To increase usability and accessibility, a patio should be linked to the home with safe and effective walkways or flow from the home as an extension.

Focal Points

Adding focal points to your backyard will draw the eye while creating a point around which the rest of the area revolves. Focal points also make arranging furniture and other features easier, as they tend to fall into place once focal points are positioned. Water features, sculptures, fire features, custom furniture and other unique pieces make for excellent focal points for adding character and structure to a backyard design.

Related: 4 Design Tips for An Eye-Catching Outdoor Fireplace

Movement

If a space seems boring or unlively, it may be time to incorporate a water feature. These can be used to create a green oasis in your backyard, attract wildlife and promote a soothing backyard ambience.  Fountains, ponds, streams, and waterfall features are ideal for introducing dynamism into your yard. However, movement can also be introduced in a number of other ways as well. Consider a strategically placed cluster of reeds that blow in the wind, or introduce the impression of movement by incorporating sweeping lines and bold curves.

Linked spaces

Linking spaces are essential to creating flow in a backyard design, as well as promoting accessibility to your various backyard spaces. Walkways are ideal for this purpose and can be constructed from gorgeous natural stone pavers, cobblestone or even stepping stones. For multi-leveled backyards, steps are another way of linking spaces and be the perfect opportunity to showcase quality natural stone verticals.

Related: Interesting Laying Patterns for your Brick Walkway