Dine Al Fresco
Landscape design blends residential use, behavioral characteristics, and quality aesthetics with the environmental factors and constraints that may be present in a site. Design becomes increasingly challenging as dynamics such as sun exposure, prevailing winds, soil characteristics, and overall climate play a role in what will work in specific locations. Not only are these natural conditions present, but constraints in lot size, multi-use properties, parking availability, and respective local ordinances also affect how a design takes its shape.
In this region, and on LBI in particular, a master landscape concept plan can include many of the following elements: driveways, front entrances/courtyards, walkways, beach access points, seating areas, patios, pools, fire pits/fireplaces, recreational spaces, and outdoor kitchens. Of these elements, trends often create popularity among homeowners. Today, one of the most popular elements to be adapted from interior spaces to the outdoor environment is a kitchen. A huge array of appliance options, entertainment features, material choices, and complementary accessories are now available. With so much variability in sites and options, outdoor kitchens must be specifically designed, well thought-out, and function-specific to the user and location.
A wish list of appliances, materials, entertainment features, and overall style will help determine the size of an outdoor kitchen space, while proximity to doors, open concept/flow between spaces, and user capacity will often shape the layout and location within an overall landscape design. As this trend continues to build, so will the complexity of potential designs. Outdoor-rated appliances have developed to perform many more tasks and give a sense of luxury. High-end grills often come with a superior cooking surface, built-in rotisserie, sear zone, and LED controls, among other options. Along with grills, weatherproof cabinetry, refrigerators, ice makers, trash drawers, full size sinks, side burners, and warming drawers are available. With open flame cooking becoming more popular, pizza ovens, smokers, and multi-use charcoal cooking (such as the Big Green Egg) have been something on homeowners’ recent wish lists.
Comfortable seating, outdoor entertainment, and accessory features that complement an outdoor kitchen space are equally as important as the items within. To protect the kitchen from outdoor elements, clients often consider a roof or pergola for an overhead canopy. Inside these can include televisions, lighting, ceiling fans, and other built-in items. A fire pit near the dining space can offer a great alternative for enjoyment and aesthetic pleasure, and nothing is better than extending your outdoor season, whether it is with a fire feature or outdoor heater. Surprisingly, a homeowner’s outdoor season timeframe will extend roughly 30% with the addition of outdoor heaters. In the LBI area, this could mean enjoying your outdoor space into October and November with comfort and luxury. Given proper design, a landscape project now becomes an extension of your indoor space.