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Tag Archives: Outdoor Kitchen

Outdoor Lighting Ideas for Improving Safety in Your Hanover Backyard

Outdoor lighting not only extends the hours that you can enjoy your Hanover, MA, backyard, it can also help to make your landscape safer. Well-planned landscape lighting will transform your yard from a dark, foreboding space to a warm and inviting area. Consider these outdoor lighting ideas to create a beautiful atmosphere and a safer landscape for you and your guests.

Lighting for Safety

Aside from aesthetics, there are three main areas of concern when designing a comprehensive outdoor lighting plan. You want to make your yard easy to navigate for your family and friends. You also want to deter would-be criminals or vandals from entering the yard. And you want to eliminate areas where potential dangers could be concealed.

A professionally designed outdoor lighting system will highlight the best features of your landscape while addressing issues that an untrained eye may not be aware of. A landscape design company, such as Towne Tree & Landscaping, Inc., can identify problem areas and potential hazards, such as low-hanging branches or a change in grade. They’re also knowledgeable about which type of lights work best for a particular location and how to properly position lights to avoid dark shadows.

Control Systems

Automatic lighting control systems can help make your outdoor lighting system more convenient and effective. A control system can turn lights off or on at intervals or specified times, and can also change lighting levels. An automatic system will save energy by ensuring lights are only on when necessary. Timers, light sensing photocells, and motion detectors all offer added security when properly installed in combination with well-placed lighting fixtures. A control system can also help to ensure that lighting for safety remains on all night, while lighting for aesthetics is turned off when not needed.

Related: Winter Landscaping Ideas for your Front Yard in Duxbury

Lighting High Traffic Areas

Good outdoor lighting will ensure that everyone can move safely around your yard. Well-lit walkways and transition areas are key to making your yard easier to navigate. Post lights are effective at entrances to walkways or driveways to highlight access points. The goal is for guests to easily locate gates and entryways while deterring intruders from entering a well-lit area.

Path lighting will help guide visitors and direct the flow of traffic while making potential tripping hazards visible. Path lights should shine downward, creating a soft glow that illuminates the ground without any upward glare. Step lights are a stylish and unobtrusive way to improve safety on stairways. Small, flush mount lights are installed on the front of risers or under tread lips to highlight steps at foot level.

Highlighting Hazards

Features that are considered fun during the day can present significant dangers at night. A pool, for example, is an extremely popular feature in any yard, but without proper lighting, a pool is off limits after dark. For maximum safety, a poolscape should feature a combination of underwater and above ground lighting. Beautiful LED underwater lighting systems have replaced bright underwater spotlights, creating the perfect atmosphere for safe nighttime swimming. Well-lit entry points such as stairs, ladders, and pool edges will increase safety for those in and out of the water.

Cooking without proper lighting can also pose many dangers. An outdoor kitchen should feature good overall lighting, as well as task lighting on counters, cooking surfaces, and sinks. Adding dimmers to your kitchen lighting will allow for maximum brightness while cooking, that can be toned down when the meal is done.

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

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

5 Essential Elements for Your MA Outdoor Kitchen

Adding an outdoor kitchen to your landscape is an investment that pays dividends in increasing property value and your family’s enjoyment of your backyard. If you’re confused about the range of essential elements for your outdoor kitchen in Westwood, MA, we’ve compiled a few vital considerations. Remember to choose materials that are complementary to the design of your home and other outdoor spaces, in order to keep the entire design unified and balanced.

A Place for Prep

Enjoying a meal with family or friends begins with the preparation stage. This initial part of the cooking process requires a surface area on which to season, cut, and otherwise get food ready for cooking. When it comes to prep room, the more the better. Whether you choose to incorporate a patio island or counters connected to your grill area, the choice should be made with an eye toward making the most efficient use of the space available.

Related Read: Finding an Outdoor Kitchen Design that Suits Your Style and Needs

A Place to Cook

The most obvious choice that you’ll have to make is your method of cooking. Whether you purchase an expensive grill, construct your own outdoor pizza oven, or create a construction that allows for a range of cooking methods, dedicate a space near the prep area for cooking alone. You might include a rotisserie, smoker, gas or wood burning grill. Consider your outdoor cooking habits and include the units best suited to your purposes.

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

A Place to Clean

During and after cooking and enjoying your meal, you’ll need a place to clean the mess. Requiring a sink and a trash receptacle, this area should be designed for efficient and quick cleanup. Whether you typically clean as you cook or save the mess for after the meal, with a nearby clean up area with running water, sink, appropriate cleaners, and tools, you’ll find that the clean up is much quicker and easier than if you were to have to travel back and forth inside the house carrying dirty dishes and wet cloths.

A Place for Storage

Storing food outside requires some form of cabinetry for non-perishables, as well as a refrigerator for perishables. Being able to prepare meals without running inside and out for ingredients and tools is an essential requirement of a truly independent outdoor kitchen space. While you will likely use the fridge space mostly for refreshments and pre-made foods before a celebration, the extra space and cold drinks for your guests is a huge convenience. Moreover, for those who cook regularly outdoors during the summer, it simply makes sense to keep commonly used ingredients within the space where they’ll be used.

Related Read: Trending Backyard Designs This Summer

A Place to Eat

Finally, the point of your outdoor kitchen will be to share a meal with family and friends. You’ll need a dining area specifically for this purpose. The floor space should be stain resistant and easy to clean, and the seating should be comfortable with a nearby surface space for eating. You can choose to purchase luxurious outdoor furniture or construct a permanent dining space. Either way, consult a landscape design professional to ensure that the space complements the rest of your outdoor space, as well as your existing home’s architecture.

Related Read: Creating Privacy in Your Massachusetts Backyard