Landscape Fun Fact of the Day:
The most expensive grill ever assembled was done by the Australian company, Beefeater. They took one of their SL4000 mobile grills, which would typically retail for around $5,500 and plated the entire thing in 24k gold. The company never put the gold-plated model up for sale, but estimated that if they did, it would retail for around $155,000. If you’re interested in the most expensive grill that can actually be purchased, you’d be looking at the Kalamazoo K1000HS Hybrid Fire Grill w/ side burner which retails for $26,095.
For the benefit of Mr. Kite, there will be some fun tonight in his backyard. The Henderson’s will all be there, with lots of good food to share, so avant-garde.
For those of you who haven’t noticed yet, I’ve been using Beatles songs as the titles of my blog entries. The other titles I chose for each article, paired up nicely. But, this one was a stretch. This fact can be noted by my attempt to rewrite the opening lyrics of the song to better relate to this blog. If anybody has any ideas or suggestions for a better title to use, please let me know. As for now, that’s all I have to go with as I use this blog to wrap up my three-part series on outdoor living.
In the previous two blog entries, titled “Come Together” and “Here, There, and Everywhere”, I started taking a look at some of the history of our outdoor living spaces, as well as some of the styles and material options that go into the design of these spaces. In this blog, I’d like to get into the big three components of current outdoor living schemes: Pools, Outdoor Kitchens, and Fire Features.
Pools- Big, Small. Rectangular, Curved. Spa, Negative Edge. There are so many ways to design a custom pool for your backyard. In order to do so, a landscape or pool designer will need to think about spaces, distances, slope, utilities, pedestrian flow, aesthetics, and safety. Not to mention, the users’ needs and wants, as well as budget. When done cheaply and with minimal thought, a user will typically get what they want, but not much more. But when done right, the words beautiful, perfect, and oasis often get used. Suddenly, your yard has been changed into something that is so desirable, it will instantly add to the value of your home.
After you decide that a pool is a worthwhile investment for your home, the first question you’ll have is “who should I call”? There are two answers to this question. The first is a pool company and the second is a landscape design/ build company. A pool company knows how pools are built and how they should be designed to fit your needs. A landscape design/build company also knows how pools are built and how they should be designed to fit your needs. But, they also know a lot about pool decks/ patios, retaining walls, drainage, ornamental and screen plantings, fences, and a myriad of other items that will be incorporated into your future “oasis”. I’ll leave it up to you to decide which one fits your needs, as there are certainly pros and cons to both options. The second question you will face is whether you want to have a rectangular or curved shape. Sometimes, the lay of the land means we should pick one over the other, but if you have the option to do either, there are a few items to think about when making that decision. A rectangular pool means you are going formal, while a curvilinear pool would relate better to an informal space with maybe a little more of natural feel to it. A rectangular pool gives you the added option of installing an automatic cover, but in a curvilinear pool this option is nearly impossible. Lastly, I believe there tend to be a few more coping options for a rectangular pool. There are still some nice ones for curvilinear pools, but most people decide on some sort of bullnose paver to better deal with the various radiuses. If you’re still not sure what you want by the time you meet with a designer, ask the designer what they think. Maybe you can get a design for both types of pools. That might mean a little higher design cost, but at least you’d be able to see what the differences would be before making a decision.
Outdoor Kitchens- One of my favorite things to design is an outdoor kitchen. I don’t exactly know why, but they can be so challenging and fun to play around with, and there’s an infinite amount of options that can go into them. Grills, side burners, sinks, fridges, ice makers, kegerators, trash and recycling cans, pizza ovens, gaucho grills, big green eggs, and so much more. Want more options? How about bar seating for friends? Should it be covered? Would you like a tv mounted? Would you like to attach it to a pool so there can be a swim-up bar? Like I said… challenging and fun to design.
Just like with pools, you will need to talk with your designer about your needs and wants, as well as budget. As my Landscape Fun Fact of the Day shows, these appliances can get very expensive. And while you might be able to find a good and cost-effective grill, you’re still building an entire custom structure around it. Other important items to consider are electric and gas (or propane) hookup, as well as water to the kitchen and away from the kitchen if you’d like a sink or ice maker. Please also note that while every jurisdiction is different, most in MD, DC, and VA establish that water leaving the sink is considered gray water and must run into the same sewer or waste lines for toilets and other gray water producing items in your home.
Fire Features- If you want to add some fire to your outdoor living space, the most practical ways to do this are with the fire pit or the fireplace. And, there is a very big difference between the two when it comes to pricing and design technique. For wood burning (which is cheaper than the gas options), a fire pit will usually start around $3,000 for a real basic manufactured block unit. A fireplace on the other hand will typically be at least $10,000 more for a very basic model, and when switching to a stone finish, these prices will only go up. From a design standpoint, fire pits can be designed as both formal and informal, with countless styles to choose from to support the rest of your outdoor living space. A fireplace, on the other hand, would be considered formal, and can often be found tucked into the back of a pergola or other covered structure. For these reasons, I would say 90% of clients seeking some sort of a fire feature end up going with a fire pit instead of a fireplace.
And with that, I’m wrapping up by three-part blog on Outdoor Living. I tried to cover the basis of what Outdoor Living is, but please know that the extents of what are possible can only be determined by the talent of your designer, as well as your personal tastes and interests. I could really go into a lot more detail about all of these items, but I’d feel like I was writing on forever, and there are many other things worth writing about. If you have any questions (or suggestions for a better title), just shoot me an email or give us a call.