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Add Functionality to Your Outdoor Living Space with a Stone Seating Wall in Milton MA

Constructing stylish, well-placed seat walls is a simple and cost effective way to showcase high quality materials like natural stone, and create an open gathering spot. A seating wall can be tweaked in design to offer far more than just casual seating space. These highly functional structures can contribute more than you’d imagine – to the flow, convenience and aesthetic of your Milton, MA, outdoor areas. Read on to discover how to optimize the use of seat walls in your hardscape:

The multi-purpose nature of seat walls

A seat wall is so much more than a rustic take on outdoor furniture. These low walls are often positioned along the edges of an outdoor room, thereby separating it from the next. This enables the individual atmosphere of each outdoor room to be appreciated in isolation. Seat walls can also be hollowed out to function as additional storage space – a feature that is particularly valuable for patios that lack plenty of space. These convenient spaces can be used to stow away delicate items that may be damaged by harsh weather. Seat walls can also serve as convenient spots to place drinks, snacks and decorative items like planters.

Related: Five Important Design Trends that are Shaping Landscaping in Scituate MA

A taste of luxury

We all want to fill our outdoor spaces with luxurious materials like real granite and ornate glass tiles. However, this can break the bank and create a disorderly mess of materials, all competing for their place as the focal point of the hardscape. Therefore, it’s important to utilize showy materials in small, powerful doses. This will ensure that their beauty and superiority comes across clearly.

Have your seat walls veneered using authentic natural stone and allow them to stand out boldly against your patio floor and surrounding softscape. Stone veneer is relatively thin and easy to install, cutting material and installation costs.

Durable and reliable

Seat walls constructed from concrete wall units, or large units of natural stone, are guaranteed to withstand natural wear and tear. Should you decide to adorn your seat walls with comfortable cushions, you should have a safe space in which to store them when the weather takes a turn for the worst. Your capstones should be slightly angled to prevent the accumulation of rain water on their surfaces. Stagnant puddles can discolor capstones, depending on their composition and level of water resistance.

Eye-catching focal points

Despite the stunning impact that can be made by a stone seat wall, these low structures can also be constructed from brick or concrete units. Select materials that enhance your existing hardscape and serve to amplify its aesthetic theme. Seat walls often enclose outdoor rooms, and therefore have a role in defining the look and feel of the room. Incorporating a fire pit, or other fun feature, into the arrangement can also serve to make your seat walls more inviting.

Related: Add Character to Your Walpole Landscape with a Brick Walkway

Incorporating sleek lighting into the structure of your seat walls can also contribute towards a more functional and attractive design. Low voltage LED lights can be fitted underneath the overhang of the capstones. Consider chic strip lighting, or single lights placed at moderate intervals. This type of lighting will not only ensure your safety while navigating the hardscape, but will also illuminate the texture of the wall and highlight its presence as a distinct focal point.

Image courtesy of Unilock.

5 Features to Match your Stone Patio in Walpole, MA

If you’re looking to expand your landscaping beyond a patio, there are many ways to incorporate new features. Working with your already existing patio surface is the best way to make new elements feel like part of the original design. Add some of these features to match your stone patio in Walpole, MA.

Walkways

Walkways add form and structure to your landscape. They also help define the flow of traffic, while guiding visitors to focal points or outdoor rooms. For a cohesive look, opt for walkways that match your existing patio design. To match a classic brick patio, manufactured concrete pavers can offer the same look as natural clay bricks, and are even more durable.

Related: How to Create a Romantic Paver Walkway that Doubles as a Destination

Limestone and flagstone make beautiful walkways that complement a natural landscape. To continue a country garden feel throughout your yard, add paths in a coordinating stone. If you prefer walkways that look a bit more formal, concrete pavers are available to match the look of bluestone.

Related: Some Stunning Alternatives to the Traditional Brick Walkway in Hingham

Steps

The transition from your backyard to your home should be seamless. Extending the same material from your patio to your doorway will create a staircase that blends with your landscape. Whether you have a casual landscape or a classic formal design, there are brick, flagstone, or limestone options to complement it.

To get the look of high-end stone for less, concrete pavers offer an extremely wide variety of design options. There are many stone and brick patterns that look like real stone and will match your existing patio.

Stone Walls

Garden walls and retaining walls can completely change the look of your landscape. If you want to convert a steep grade into terraced sections, retaining walls that match your existing hardscaping will create a unified look. Low walls are an excellent way to help define an outdoor room and can also provide extra seating. Raised planting beds can also be designed to match your patio.

Related: Dry vs Wet Masonry for your Stone Wall in Hanover, MA

Manufactured wall units are ideal for wall construction, and are available in a wide variety of sizes, colors, and styles. Manufactured units are also less expensive and easier to work with than natural stone. To soften the look of a stone wall, add curves by incorporating tapered units into the design.

Outdoor Kitchen

Outdoor kitchens are one of the most popular ways to transform your yard into an outdoor living space. The ability to cook and dine outside extends your living area and allows you to make more use of your backyard. To add an outdoor kitchen that blends with your current design, choose stones that match the appearance of your patio. To get the look of natural stone for a fraction of the price, stone veneers are available in a wide variety of finishes. Stone veneer is also durable and heat resistant so it’s a popular choice for outdoor kitchens.

Fireplace or Fire Pit

A fireplace adds warmth and creates a beautiful focal point for your patio. A large fireplace will also provide an extra wall to create shelter or privacy. Having your new fireplace finished with the same stone as your patio will make it seem like part of the original plan.  If your patio doesn’t have room for a full fireplace, a fire pit can have a much smaller footprint. Either style will create a cozy and inviting ambiance and can be designed to coordinate with your patio.

Related: Is It Too Late to Start on Your Stone Patio Project in Milton, MA?

Image courtesy of Unilock.

Finding an Outdoor Kitchen Design that Suits Your Style and Needs

When it comes to incorporating your tastes into a plan for your Milton, MA, outdoor kitchen, the input of a landscaping professional can be a huge asset. Maximize the enjoyment of your outdoor cooking area while complementing your home and property with these tips to get you started:

Related: Is It Too Late to Start on Your Stone Patio Project in Milton, MA?

Consider Your Space

The area chosen for your outdoor kitchen space will determine a great deal about your outdoor kitchen design. This space should ideally be located near the indoor kitchen, in close proximity to an entrance, facilitating the actual cooking process as well as the transfer of ingredients from one cooking area to the other. Once you know where the outdoor kitchen will be, you’ll have a general idea of the size of the area available. At this point, considering the functions you have planned for the space, you can get an idea of the approximate size for the patio and outdoor kitchen design plan. A professional can help you optimize the space to ensure that small areas are not too cluttered and that larger areas are utilized to their full potential.

Related: What to Expect From a Professional Design Build Company

Incorporate the Home’s Style

The outdoor kitchen that’s best for your landscape will likely be the one that’s in keeping with both your home’s style and your own tastes. Whether your home is contemporary, traditional, coastal, or romantic, the outdoor kitchen can reflect this style while maintaining a high degree of quality and functionality. Fortunately, with the ready availability of concrete manufactured paver and building units, you will find it convenient to incorporate styles, colors, and textures to suit the aesthetic that appeals to you. A simple three tone color scheme might include pavers that match the roof of your home, verticals (bars, kitchen counters, seating walls, etc.) that match the siding of your home, and accents that highlight or contrast colors in your landscape. Matching or contrasting textures reflected in existing hardscaping is also an effective way of achieving a cohesive outdoor kitchen design plan.

Related: Trending Backyard Designs This Summer

Plans for Use

How you intend to use your outdoor kitchen space will also influence your design decisions. Whether your kitchen space is limited to an outdoor grill and table set or includes all of the extras, such as a sink, refrigerator, island, pizza oven, etc. is up to you. Consider how often you plan to cook in the space and the types of dishes that you’ll be preparing. Think about your cooking style too: if you’re an expressive cook, you want to include additional counter space and stain resistant, easy-to-clean surfaces. If you take a more reserved approach to cooking, consider a design that ensures that everything is near at hand and easily accessible. A professional can help you to determine the most appropriate layout for function and aesthetic to ensure you outdoor kitchen is a roaring success.

Related: 5 Essential Elements for Your MA Outdoor Kitchen

Don’t Leave Out the Extras

Many other considerations might play into your decision. Think about important elements such as the view, adequate seating, and optional fire features that you’d like to include in your layout. Your contractor will be able to work closely with you to ensure that everything that you might want or need in your outdoor kitchen space is accommodated without sacrificing space, function, or aesthetic.

Related: Functional Outdoor Lighting Plans: The Do’s and Don’ts

Capturing the Timeless Aesthetic of the Stone Wall

A commanding, natural stone wall can bring character and timelessness to any landscape. The wide availability of choices involved in the creation of your stone wall calls for some expert input into your decision, so as you plan to incorporate a landscaping stone wall in Milton, MA, consult with a landscaping professional to decide which kind of stone wall aesthetic will work best for your given property and situation.

Stone Blocks

In the modern landscape, stone walls are often built with concrete blocks; although, concrete as a material can be used itself in several different ways. Whether you use the standard concrete block (CMU), split face blocks, or retaining wall building systems, it’s easier than ever before to create a naturally-inspired, impressive stone wall for your landscape.

Stone Veneer

Homeowners who choose stone veneer to achieve the desired stone aesthetic typically use CMUs as the base of the wall on top of concrete footers. Once the base is complete, stone veneer is then used to cover the surface area. Stone masons will use your choice of veneer material to cover the wall, creating a timeless look for your landscape.

Split Face Block

Split face block offers an alternative to stone veneer that eases installation, affordability, and durability. Manufacturers produce this concrete option with a textured aesthetic on one side, making the construction of a wall with a stone aesthetic simple. Moreover, the variety of options that you’ll find indicate a newly found ability to complement any style of design or architecture needed.

Retaining Wall System Units

Another development in terms of landscape wall building is the advancement of retaining wall system units. These systems fit together seamlessly, increasing strength and durability. Yet, the seemingly random nature of the stones and the natural texture enhance the stone aesthetic of the unit when complete.

Related: 5 Uses for Retaining Walls in Landscape Design

Dry Stone Wall

Finally, when nothing but actual rock will do, call in the heavy equipment. This job will require an engineer on site to ensure correct placement of your stones or boulders. The height of this project may be limited, but the magnitude of the statement made will not be. Whether using stacked slabs or boulders, this sort of stone wall is truly a monumental feature for any landscape.

Related: Dry vs Wet Masonry for your Stone Wall in Hanover, MA

Various Wall Options

Stone walls can be used for a multitude of purposes, and it’s helpful to consider the function of your landscaping addition rather than the aesthetic advantages alone. For those with erosion issues or grading issues on the land, retaining walls can help hold back soil and prevent further erosion. For those with a flat landscape without the need for retaining walls, consider seating walls around a patio, low walls to elevate planting beds, or high privacy walls around specific areas in the yard. When making these plans and decisions, remember to consult a professional in the field to guide your choices regarding materials and design to make sure that the style meets function and that your addition remains durable, attractive, and practical for many, many years.

Related: Creating Privacy in Your Massachusetts Backyard