How to Create the Perfect Entertaining Space in Your Own Backyard

With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic that began in 2020, many people began flocking outdoors to enjoy themselves. Staying cooped up inside for a long period of time is challenging enough, so having the ability to entertain yourself outdoors is a great respite. 

Your backyard is the closest and most convenient way to benefit from all the outdoors has to offer. But how can you make your space a more entertaining space, whether it be personal or communal, like a family gathering?

If you’re wondering about how to improve your backyard space, here are 10 outdoor ideas to get you started. 

1. Patio or Deck

A patio is a perfect opportunity for backyard entertainment. Patios create endless choices for entertaining, no matter if it’s for a large or a small group. 

Your patio can be a flat pad, like stone or concrete, or a walk-out deck that connects to your house, allowing access to the interior of your home. Whatever you choose to decide, make sure you have a plan and a budget. 

2. Living and Dining Outdoors

One of the best ways to make a backyard entertaining is to provide a living room outdoors. Outdoor furniture like chairs, couches, swings, tables, and so forth can reflect the idea of having a living area outside. This is the perfect place for gathering, having drinks, hanging out, and just enjoying friends. 

If you love eating outdoors, consider investing in a large outdoor dining table. These tables are perfect for large gatherings and provide ample seating. Complete the indoor atmosphere with a TV and speakers!

3. Firepit

A firepit can be an amazing focal point of any backyard, and a source of entertainment! Not only can you roast s’mores and other foods, but cuddling up by the fire during the cooler months with friends and family makes many memories. 

You can purchase mobile firepits online, or you can have one built into your patio or backyard. Built-in fireplaces are typically permanent, so make sure you know exactly where you want them to go. 

4. Games

Do you love playing outdoor games like cornhole, ringtoss, or mini-golf? Why not have these available in your backyard for parties or get-togethers!

You can even create a game space in your backyard for all the outdoor games you love to enjoy. This makes it easy to use the games whenever you feel like it. 

5. Outdoor Kitchen

No doubt about it – having an outdoor kitchen is incredibly convenient, especially if you love entertaining outdoors with activities like grilling or making drinks. 

While many outdoor kitchens are impressive both in size and quality of materials, the truth is that you don’t need to spend a lot to have a functional outdoor kitchen. With a sink, grill, and a little extra countertop space, you’ll have a place to entertain and cook. 

6. Pool

While more on the costly side of backyard renovation, having a pool provides a wonderful opportunity to host parties or for relaxing. And with a variety of pool choices, ranging from inground to aboveground or even heating, you’ll find something that works for your family. 

Getting a pool can be a large investment because it requires labor, so make sure you’re staying within your budget. If you live in a warmer climate, it might be a great investment since you will get more use out of it. 

7. Garden Pathway

A garden pathway can be a tranquil space to visit and hang out. The best part of your garden landscaping is that you can fill it with anything you want: flowers, bushes, small trees, herbs, stones, sand, and anything you want. 

If you have the space, you may create a stone pathway to walk through and enjoy your garden. Vegetable gardens are particularly eye-catching and resourceful, though they do require upkeep. If you’re going to plant a vegetable garden make sure to plant vegetables that grow seasonally and in your climate. 

8. Hammock or Lounge Seating

Seating outdoors as a living room is nice when you have many people, but sometimes you may want a seat to yourself!

Hammocks or hanging chairs provide a calming space for reading, relaxing, or reflecting. Hammocks are fairly easy to install, especially if they’re mobile. Hanging chairs need an anchor from above, so they’re perfect for under a deck. 

9. Work Studio

Do you benefit from working outdoors? Setting up a workstation outside may not necessarily be thought of as entertainment, but if you have a hobby like painting or writing, it could be a place for inspiration. If you’re an artist, you could display some of your work outdoors to serve as decor for your space.

Your workspace should be covered in some capacity if you have tools or materials you use so they don’t get damaged by wind or rain. 

10. Movie Area

There’s no better way than enjoying a movie outdoors during the warm nights of summertime. Your movie area doesn’t even have to be anything fancy; a simple white sheet, along with a projector of sorts will provide everything you need to watch a movie under the stars. Pop some popcorn and cuddle up with a pillow to make it complete.  

Entertaining Space For You!

When you’re thinking about creating the ideal entertaining space, you have countless ideas and opportunities. The one thing to remember is to work the space so it’s convenient for both you and others. Your outdoor space will be a talking point for many years to come. 

Do you need assistance to create the best outdoor space? Our specialists are here to help! Contact us today to get started planning your outdoor entertaining oasis. 

 

Why You Need an Outdoor Kitchen This Year

If you’re like most Americans, the global pandemic means you’re already spending more time outside than you used to. One study found that we spend about 14 hours outside per week, which is a full three hours more than the previous average!

Along with more time outside, of course, you’ve probably taken some time to invest in some backyard redecorating to make the most of your living space. But is your outdoor oasis all it could be?

Next to a swimming pool, one of the most popular backyard features this year is the outdoor kitchen—and for good reason. Having this versatile area right outside your door offers a wealth of great benefits that are well worth considering. If you’re ready to reinvent your outdoor living space, here are the main advantages these kitchens can offer.

Create a Great Space for Entertaining

Whether you’re celebrating a birthday, a holiday, or a special event, most of us like to head to the backyard. This is especially true when there’s a large crowd on the guest list! With the right outdoor design, it’s easy to entertain in style.

If you want to take things a step further, however, an outdoor kitchen can be the perfect option. Even outside, nothing brings people together like cooking and food!

One additional benefit of these kitchens, of course, is that you can keep guests from bumping into each other in the limited space of your indoor kitchen and dining area. Instead, an extra outdoor space for cooking allows everyone to spread out more, giving you the opportunity to entertain with ease.

Spend More Time Outdoors

Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, more of us than ever crave indoor-outdoor spaces as we reimagine our homes. It’s no wonder why: during the lockdowns, many of us have worked to expand our living areas and create more space to spread out.

But spending more time outside is also associated with a huge spectrum of benefits, including a more positive mood, less stress, and better sleep. It’s even linked with more energy and a healthier immune system!

Creating a dedicated space for al fresco dining in your backyard is a great excuse to head outside more often, allowing you to reap all of those benefits and more. With a reason to spend time outdoors, you’ll have no trouble getting more Vitamin D!

Keep Smells Outside

There’s nothing worse than cooking a meal whose scent lingers around your house for a day or more. This issue can be worse in the hot summer months. While these smells can be unpleasant, they can be especially problematic for anyone in the household with a sensitive nose or stomach.

When you invest in a space for al fresco cooking, you make it much easier to keep smells outside where they belong!

Make Cooking Easier and More Convenient

You’d be surprised at how much an outdoor kitchen can add convenience to your meal prep.

First, because these kitchens aren’t limited by the space within your home, it’s easy to customize the layout to your exact preferences. This versatility makes for more comfortable cooking using a design that incorporates more of the elements you need—and fewer of the ones you don’t. Feel free to add specific features like a smoker or pizza oven, for example, or create a larger prep or bartending area than your indoor kitchen offers.

In addition, outdoor kitchens eliminate the need to run back and forth between your indoor and outdoor cooking areas. With only a grill outdoors, many homeowners find themselves juggling side dishes indoors while cooking outside. An outdoor kitchen can include your refrigerator, storage spaces, and everything you need to get the job done without running in and out.

Next, outdoor cooking makes clean up incredibly easy. Instead of the headache of cleaning messes and spills, you can leave smaller spills to dry naturally or hose down your entire patio in minutes.

Last, don’t forget that a spacious backyard kitchen can be a great way to make room for more helping hands!

Save on Your Utility Bills

During the summer, heating up your kitchen to cook every day can cause a substantial spike in your home energy usage. With your air conditioner working double-time to compensate for the extra warmth, you may find your utility bills getting expensive.

When you start cooking outside, on the other hand, you don’t have to worry about hot air getting trapped inside your home—which translates to money back in your pocket.

Increase Your Home’s Value

If you’re looking for outdoor upgrades that increase your home’s resale appeal, an outdoor kitchen can be a great choice. Most buyers won’t hinge their entire decision on this feature, but it’s a quick way to add some “wow factor” to your listing and help your home stand out from others in the area.

Note, of course, that the increase in your home’s value will depend on a few key factors, like your property’s overall value and your location. It also depends on the design of the space itself, which is why it’s important to invest in a professionally installed and designed kitchen.

Choose State of the Art Landscape for Your Outdoor Kitchen

It’s clear that adding an outdoor kitchen to your home offers a huge range of personal, social, and financial advantages. However, when you’re ready to take the leap and create a flexible, functional living space, you’ll need an experienced team of professionals by your side.

With over 60 years of combined experience, the team at State of the Art Landscape can design, build, and install the perfect outdoor kitchen for your home. We stand by our superior craftsmanship and love to partner with homeowners to create unique custom designs for extraordinary outdoor living. Contact us today to learn more about what we can do for you

How 3D Renderings Can Help Your Landscape Design Process

The landscape design process can be complicated, time-consuming, and exhausting. However, that doesn’t mean that the experience will be the same for homeowners and designers. While landscaping workers might have a tough time designing a backyard or patio space to fit the vision of a homeowner, it’s virtually a guarantee that the experience will be an exciting one for whoever owns the property being developed. That’s because, at the end of the ordeal, homeowners know that their backyard, outdoor kitchen, or whatever outdoor addition they’re making to their home is something that they’ve always wanted!

At State of the Art, it’s our aim to provide homeowners with a visualization of their dream landscaping outcome that’s as close-to-perfect as possible. We do this using 3D renderings, which will allow both homeowners and our own employees to see precise measurements and images of what we’re going for through our construction efforts. This is especially useful when building complex structures, adding onto existing construction pieces or removing/grading land for new projects. Below we’ll talk a little bit more about what we do and how we do it.

Designing & Building Dream Landscapes

Once scheduled for a consultation session, our experts will arrive to get a firsthand view of a homeowner’s property. This will allow us to fully map out an area, examine elevation changes, and take into account all areas that will be affected by construction. Once this information has been gathered, we’ll take it into account when designing homeowners their own unique 3D customized conceptual layout of what the area will look like after we’re all finished.

Not only does this give homeowners the ability to see their vision fully realized before construction even begins, but it gives us the opportunity to identify any possible issues with construction. Maybe the placement of a swimming pool isn’t ideal due to elevation, or an outdoor oven might be placed too close to neighboring property – whatever the problem, we’ll work to fix it so that homeowners are fully satisfied with whatever result occurs.

There are a number of issues that can arrive with different types of landscaping efforts. Below, we’ve listed the kinds of services we provide, along with some of the complications and workarounds that occur with them.

Hardscape Construction

Hardscaping refers to the practice of installing stonework into a natural landscape. This can be in the form of adding stone walls, stone patios, brick ovens, and staircases. Hardscaping can drastically raise the profile of your backyard or patio, but the downsides of it are that it is an expensive process, and it’s quite easy to blunder during installation. Shoddy masonry and unsafe builds are some of the main problems that occur during installation. However, both can usually be avoided by careful planning and the hiring of qualified professionals.

Swimming Pools

Swimming pools are often underestimated as simply being dug holes filled with water, but they’re quite a bit more work with that. The excavation and construction process is a detailed effort that requires intensive knowledge of the soil composition, location of pipes and power lines, proximity to the sewer and neighboring electric structures, and much more. Plus, once construction begins, expenses can quickly mount up depending on the chosen material to construct the surface and deck of the pool. Furthermore, if heating is required then that’s an entirely different issue that requires an electrical engineer, fuel supplier, and even more hands-on deck.

Decks

A quality deck can drastically elevate a landscape, and many modern homes are adding them into their landscaping plans. They can be constructed using a wide variety of materials, including elegant hardwoods, masonry, and brickwork. Their construction obviously needs to take into account the space they’re working with, along with safety as a priority. Load-bearing decks might need to be able to support 10-15 people at once, which is something that the design team will be inquiring about throughout the design and installation process.

Pavilions and Pergolas

What can be a whimsical and practical addition to any home can also be a tedious endeavor for designers and construction workers. Pavilions and pergolas can be an immersive way to enjoy the outdoors, providing only the barest shelter from the elements. These are usually quite simple to construct, but depending on homeowner specifications, can be made to be quite complicated and intricate structures.

Sport Courts

Homeowners looking to incorporate more exercise and team play into their lives may wish to install a sporting court for basketball, tennis, or shuffleboard. All of these courts can be constructed to match the exact regulatory standards of the sports themselves, and incorporated into the existing environment as naturally as possible.

Fire Pits

There’s nothing quite like enjoying a bonfire with friends and families once the weather starts getting a little bit chilly, or on summer nights once the day’s heat has passed. Fire pits can be constructed in a number of shapes, sizes, and materials, and designers at State of the Art will work with homeowners to identify their dream fire pits so as to make those dreams an exact reality.

Boulder Work

Pre-existing boulders on a home’s landscape can be viewed as both a blessing and a curse. Depending on perspective, homeowners might see them as a natural wonder or a random obstruction. At State of the Art, we incorporate boulders as naturally as possible into a landscaping vision if possible – otherwise, we’ll do our best to remove them from the picture entirely.

Fencing

Whether it’s more room for the pets or kids to run around safely in or just more privacy overall, we can work with homeowners to address all fencing needs that might be required.

Outdoor Kitchens

Every dream outdoor setup as an outdoor kitchen, complete with a floor of stone or wood, a brick oven, roasting pit, etc. Whatever amenities you could want in your outdoor kitchen, at State of the Art we’ll work to make it happen.

10 Ways to Enjoy Your Outdoor Living Space All Year

As of 2014, outdoor living spaces have emerged as the most popular “special function” room among homeowners.

Since then, ways to improve upon and create further uses for any outdoor living space have increased greatly, and are more accessible for homeowners—no matter their price point.

So, as nights become longer and the colder months set in, how can you work to create an outdoor living space that works for you year-round? Read on for 10 ways for you to enjoy your outdoor living space.

1. Weatherproof Furniture

If your outdoor living space is uncovered, or subject to a lot of rain, it’s crucial to invest in weatherproof furniture. Even if your backyard usually remains dry, having weatherproof furniture on hand is going to reduce the risk of colors fading from sun exposure.

Weatherproof furniture, whether it’s a lawn chair or couch complete with throw pillows, is going to last a lot longer outside than any other furniture you might consider putting outdoors.

2. Cover It Up

Creating cover not only helps you define areas when you have company over but it also protects your outdoor furniture. Pergolas are also great for this and provide a defined space for any purpose you see fit, but they don’t come with the protection of a cover.

Coverage also allows you to sit outside at any time and not have to worry as much about wet seating or slippery surfaces.

3. Add Heating

For the cold months, adding heat is an easy way to enjoy your outdoor living space. You can do this with a fire pit or outdoor heater. Some deck floors even come with heating, and heat lamps are always a great option as well.

A heating element also creates a gathering space in your backyard and serves as the focal point for any gathering or get-together. 

4. Create Definition

If a heating element isn’t in your budget, or you already have one, there are other ways to create defined areas in your outdoor living space. Creating defined areas help break up your backyard and make it feel homier.

Use outdoor area rugs and other landscape features to create defined spaces. String lights can also help.

Some ideas can include a fire pit area, kitchen area, game area, or a pool area. Seating is also a great, affordable option (and highly necessary if you have guests over often).

5. Invest in Lighting

Several sources of lighting allow you to stay outside longer in the fall and winter months when the sun goes down sooner.

Outdoor LED string lights work best to create a cozy ambiance. Path markers and string lights work to create walkways in your outdoor living space. Get creative with solar lights or different colored bulbs depending on the season.

6. Outdoor Cooking

It’s no secret that food brings people together. Why not bring the power of your kitchen outdoors?

It can be as beautiful and grand as you’d like—complete with cabinetry, refrigerator, wine cooler, grill, and even a sink. It can also be as simple as acquiring a grill, outdoor table, and chairs for everyone to gather around and eat at.

7. Grab Some Games

No matter the weather, games can be enjoyed for seasons upon seasons without ever going out of style. You can even get creative and make your own game pieces.

For outdoor games of cornhole and Jenga, it’s as simple as finding a how-to guide and spending a weekend with some wood, tools, and paint. Sourcing the materials for soccer, outdoor bowling, or even horseshoe are great ways to keep family and friends outdoors for hours.

8. Keep Things Cozy

Maybe you already have a fire pit, but there are more ways to keep things cozy. Get throw blankets and cuddly outdoor pillows so everyone can stay warm late into the evening, whether huddled around a fire or not.

Throw blankets, pillows, and outdoor rugs are also easy to keep seasonal. You can switch them out depending on the holiday or time of year. Keep different materials, designs, and thicknesses in mind.

9. Get Your Feet Wet

Water features are another thing that can be enjoyed year-round if you have the right materials. Heated pools or water features are perfect, but so is a hot tub. 

They’re inviting and can be enjoyed alone or with friends!

10. Clean up Often

While you should pick up your belongings and keep your outdoor living space clean, this tip is aimed at the weather.

Particularly in the winter, it’s important to keep up with snow removal. This helps keep your outdoor furniture and appliances in the best shape possible. Sweeping regularly and wiping off surfaces in the fall and springtime keeps pollen and bugs at bay.

Depending on your climate, Summer can bring rainfall or intense sunshine. No matter the case, this season is probably going to be the easiest in keeping your outdoor living space clean. Especially if you’re using the area often!

Enjoy Your Outdoor Living Space Year-Round

Using these tips is sure to allow you to enjoy your outdoor living space year-round. Get creative with the ways you choose to utilize them and customize them to fit your needs and wants.

Also, keep who is going to be using the space in mind! Children and pets are going to have different needs from older guests in friends. There are options for everyone out there, and it’s important to make sure everyone coming into your space enjoys it!

If you’re wanting to take on bigger outdoor projects, don’t be afraid to let the professionals lending a helping hand.

Contact us today with any questions or ideas. We’re happy to help you create the outdoor living space of your dreams.

How to Build the Ultimate Outdoor Kitchen and Get-Together Space

If you love cooking and you love nature, then why not build an outdoor kitchen? Nature meets nurture when you get to craft your greatest culinary creations while feeling the cool breeze and warm sun on your face. 

You’ll create the go-to place for all your friends and family, and you’ll feel your stress begin to melt away as you spend time outdoors. You won’t have any trouble hosting the next party if you build an outdoor kitchen with all the bells and whistles. 

Keep reading to learn about what you need to consider as you put together your dream kitchen outside. 

What Are You Cooking? 

Before you begin to plan the landscaping and purchase the best outdoor cooking equipment on the market, consider what you plan on cooking outside. What tools do you typically use in your indoor kitchen, and how can you have the same cooking tools outdoors. 

Cooking outdoors gives you some freedom that you don’t have indoors. For example, you can easily install a pizza oven. You have the freedom to cook with a grill as well as a smoker. 

Consider what you’d like to cook outside and then start planning the kitchen. 

What Vibe Do You Want To Send? 

Outdoor kitchen ideas have as much variety as indoor kitchen ideas do aesthetically. Consider if you’d like a sleek, modern-looking kitchen or a warm, earthy looking kitchen. Do you picture seating areas with hard chairs or big, overstuffed cushions? 

What is the feeling you want when you work in your kitchen and when others visit you? Determine this as well as what you’ll be cooking. 

When you answer these first two questions, you can begin to make your plans. You will know which appliances to get and how to start planning your seating areas and outdoor kitchen design.  

Outdoor Kitchen Cooking Equipment

You can begin planning your outdoor kitchen space at any time of the year. In the summer, begin thinking about how you currently entertain or want to entertain guests. Take note of what you’d use an outdoor kitchen for.

Then, take advantage of cooler weather and do the building in the fall or winter. Begin by shopping for whatever appliances you’ll need for your outdoor kitchen. You might even find a better deal for appliances when you do your outdoor kitchen planning during the offseason. 

An outdoor kitchen space needs specialized tools you do not typically put indoors. Furthermore, you’ll need some of the basics that you’d have indoors as well like a fridge or a freezer. Here are a few appliances to consider. 

  • Grill: When it comes to grilling outside, go big or go home. You’re planning on going to the expense and trouble of building an outdoor kitchen, so put in a big, tricked-out grill. You won’t regret having the ability to make a rotisserie chicken or smoke a pig.
  • Pizza Oven: A stone oven fantastic for making homemade pizzas outdoors. Pizza ovens tend to heat up indoor kitchens, but you don’t need to worry about heat with your outdoor, well-ventilated kitchen. The pizza oven will set your outdoor kitchen apart from your indoor kitchen and from other outdoor kitchens.
  • Pool House: So the poolhouse isn’t an appliance, but it is a tool you can use to create a great kitchen. Consider using a part of the poolhouse as your outdoor kitchen, with big, open spaces that give adults and kids alike a place to gather.
  • Vent Hood: We all understand why we need a vent hood indoors, but you need the same kind of ventilation outdoors as well. If a portion of your kitchen will be in a shelter, plan on installing a vent hood over your outdoor cooking appliances. This will vent the smoke and odors away from the cooking area and create a better space overall. 
  • Refrigerator: You will want the ability to store vegetables in a cold place outside. Plus, you’ll want a place for a cold beer when friends come over and when you’re grilling steaks and watching a game on your massive TV set outside.  

Outdoor Kitchen Entertainment Elements

The kitchen can be functional and entertaining. You’ll cook in your outdoor kitchen space, but you’ll also entertain people. These are some great outdoor entertainment elements to consider:

  • Bar: When you put a bar into your kitchen, people stay. You can craft cocktails and show off your hosting skills.  
  • Seating Area: Have adequate seating. Picture where people will gather and plan accordingly. Do you want small pocket areas for a few people to visit or one lounging couch or both?  
  • Eating Area: Picture where people will eat. Have an adequate amount of tables or table space for people to sit and enjoy whatever you’re cooking outside. 
  • Television: If you’re a sports fan, you need a big-screen television outside. Friends will want to hang out, and neighbors will be jealous. This means you can tailgate at home in the comfort of your outdoor space.  
  • Pool: Incorporate your pool into your kitchen area. Think about the vicinity of the pool to your kitchen and keep your guests and family safe by having an adequate space between the two areas. Keep the flow clear from one area to the next. 

Outdoor Kitchen Ambience

The materials you use to create the ambiance of your outdoor kitchen. Consider if you want wood, stone, or all-weather materials, and then incorporate them into these decorative elements. 

  • Fireplace: The sound of a crackling fire and smell of wood paired with the beauty of a mantle brings the indoors outdoors and creates an overall relaxing atmosphere. Plus, your fire is contained.  
  • Fire Pit: A fire pit accommodates more guests than a fireplace. Plus, you can roast s’mores and other treats together. The best conversations happen over these fires. 
  • Lighting: You want to be able to see what you’re cooking but don’t want so much light that your guests lose the feeling of being outside. Plan for brighter lights over the cooking area but then soft lights in the dining and gathering areas. 
  • Shade: Consider having a pergola installed over the eating and cooking area. This gives you a place to hang a fan and beautiful light fixtures. 
  • Fountains or Waterfalls: The gentle sound of water cascading heightens relaxation and helps create a beautiful atmosphere for an outdoor kitchen. Consider how you can incorporate one of these water features. 

Call a Pro

An outdoor kitchen is a massive undertaking that can transform your patio and backyard. It will attract guests and create a place for your family to relax and enjoy nature. 

But it’s something you don’t want to tackle alone. If you want the best outdoor kitchen money can buy, hire a professional builder like us. We’d love to help you create the perfect outdoor kitchen. 

Contact us with your ideas. We’d love to help you turn your outdoor kitchen plans into reality.