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If You Think The Outdoor Patio Season is Over Think Again

August 30, 2015

Instead of packing up the patio furniture and putting it away in the shed, tying down the barbeque grill, hanging up the barbeque apron, and saying good-bye to the many facets of backyard family activities, outdoor living aficionados are stretching the creature comforts of the summer season thanks to the wide range of products that are readily available in the marketplace. With the advent of the outdoor room came a spectrum of amenities ranging from elaborate open-air kitchens, pizza ovens, outdoor fireplaces, professional-quality refreshment bars, pergolas and covered pavilions to simple but rewarding multi-use fire pits. As a result, families and friends will be dashing in and out the back door well into the winter.

One factor that can easily raise the budget for a three or four season patio is the cost connected with installation, especially where quality, as it should be, is of paramount importance. Manufacturers in the concrete pavingstone and wall systems industry have a solution. Depending on the manufacturer, you can find most of the most wanted patio enhancements within their portfolios either to be custom built using their hardscape products or complete and ready to install using pre-packaged kits. The kits enable do-it-yourselfers, landscape designers and professional contractors to cost-effectively address current trends in outdoor living and to turn homeowner "wish lists" into reality even within budget constraints.

For example, the simplest of fall festivities can be gathering around a wood burning fire pit roasting marshmallows, cooking frankfurters on a stick and singing songs. Pre-packaged, kits with exact amounts of wallstones are available and like the ones available from Cambridge - manufacturers of Cambridge Pavingstones with ArmorTec®, Cambridge Wallstones and a full line of outdoor living products made of these hardscape materials. The pits, round or square in coordinated colors and styles, have metal inserts, dual cantilevered grills and optional fire spark screens and galvanized steel covers. With these features, fireside menus can range from hot dogs and burgers to lobsters, chicken pieces, steaks and more.

For fireside chats on a grander level, consider nesting a wood-burning, outdoor fireplace as the focal point in your patio or outdoor room. You can find models in pre-cut, pre-packaged kits as well with decorator inspired, elegant features such as cast stone surrounds and ornamental pieces, polished granite accent tiles, stainless steel pull screens and optional firewood boxes - features that rival those found on interior models. in addition to air-cooled chimneys and termination caps.

Decorator-Inspired Features And Professional-Style Inclusions For Cooking

The patio appointments have changed further as freestanding barbeque grills gave way to built-in, multi-purpose cooking stations constructed primarily of manufactured wallstones, which are available in various natural colors and rock face textures. Configurations and sizes can vary but are commonly rectangular or L-shaped so that they can be positioned in the most utilitarian position in the overall patio design, noting that the kitchen - whether indoors or outdoors - is usually the focal point of activity with family and friends.

"For example, Cambridge open-air kitchen kits, which are pre-packaged and do not require any cutting of materials, are complete with a stainless steel appliance package that includes a sink, refrigerator and a lighted, 5-burner, 38-inch wide grill, and cabinet door is at the forefront of our company''s outdoor living product group," says Cambridge Chairman/CEO Charles H. Gamarekian. "There is nothing else to buy." The kits'' rotisserie, built in thermometer and convenient warming rack allow cooking choices to include whole chickens and roasted meats. The food preparation and serving areas are decorator-inspired, polished granite countertops, which are offered in Black Uba Tuba and Venetian Gold.

Artisan-style pizza, roasted vegetables and hot homemade bread are always in season. So, for all-season cooking enthusiasts, an outdoor pizza oven may be the perfect addition to the footprint of a well-appointed patio kitchen. It is also reassuring that from the European-inspired, domed hearth to the professional-quality cooking tools, responsible pizza oven manufacturers such as Cambridge respect the integrity of the age-old cooking process as well.

A Pergola Or Pavilion Can Define Space While Adding Protection

No backyard gathering spot is truly up-to-date without an open-air pergola or pavilion for outdoor dining, relaxing and entertaining. The popularity of these visually pleasing and functional structures is broadening in keeping with defining the features of the ideal outdoor setting by today''s standards. Landscape designers and contractors who recognize the magnitude of this burgeoning trend, are doing their homework and are prepared to meet the challenges with the help of, believe it or not, equally savvy hardscape material manufacturers.

Before going any further, let''s clarify the differences between the two terminologies. A pergola is typically a garden structure that consists of pillars that support a partially open roof structure, such as latticework or a trellis. The construction, which can vary in size and style, is somewhat similar to an arbor and is often covered in vines or plants. Pergolas are sometimes used as a transition from indoor living space to the outdoors, and commonly cover walkways or paths. Many times, they are built over a patio or seating area to provide limited shade from hot sun. Other varieties may have a type of additional sunshade for greater protection. In contrast, a patio pavilion has open sides but a closed roof for added protection against the elements. A pavilion, which is usually associated with a large outdoor covered edifice in parks, spacious public spaces, and vacation resorts, also refers to a freestanding structure sited a short distance from a home to create an architecturally defined space for a host of residential activities.

Support columns (pillars) for pergolas and pavilions can be anchored into the pavement or set on columns (pedestals) a few feet above ground level. The structures themselves can be custom built or assembled from a kit. If getting involved with building these kinds of structures seems to be a bit daunting, Cambridge, although it may come as a surprise, offers both pergolas and pavilions in pre-packaged kits. Another advantage here is that the structures are intended to be set on any of the company''s wallstone columns (sold separately). For added convenience, a pre-packaged column kit in a variety of color options, that requires no cutting, is also made by Cambridge. Other than providing a sturdy and durable pedestal base, the columns make it easy to blend in Cambridge pavers, wall systems, additional columns and other outdoor living kits containing Cambridge Wallstones. Ask a professional contractor for more information or visit cambridgepavers.com.

As modern-day lifestyles are changing, we see entire households moving much of their day-to-day activities out-of-doors while at the same time, redefining the backyard patio, as we once knew it. The open-air patio room, covered or not, are now complete with lavish cooking, entertaining and leisure-time conveniences that everyone can enjoy season after season.