Raleigh and Cary, along with other Triangle communities are growing, along with the demand for creative outdoor living spaces. Home builders, landscape new-bees aren’t up on the design trends or have the knowledge to properly design an outdoor space that not only functions and circulates well, but is also visually appealing. There are now numerous, man-made hardscaping materials on the market, along with the more traditional natural materials of yesteryear. Renz landscapes, with over 40 years of design and construction experience, can help you both design a layout for your endeavor, and assist you with vast material choices that will fit your budget.

The tumbled pavers and wall units will always be popular as is the need for permeable pavers when water runoff is a concern or when there’s a need or desire to build a completely level patio. Most of the products Renz landscapes designs with and installs come from Belgard Hardscapes and from Techo-Bloc, a higher end product based in Canada. The latest trends are 1” thick Porcelain pavers units, for patios, walks and steps that come in a variety of shapes and colors for a cleaner, smoother, and more modern look.

Patios and outdoor kitchens, along with adjoining walkways, steps and driveways all need to come together within the context of your home, and create efficient and enjoyable outdoor structure for you and your family. Retaining walls and steps help with elevation changes, and sitting walls, fireplaces, fire-pits and pizza ovens add to the experience.

And don’t ever forget the plantings and perhaps a splash of water to soften up all the hardness of the hardscaping. This ability to create pleasing interplay of hardscaping structure and colorful plantings is what separates the professionals from the landscapers who offer free, so called design.

Elements & Materials for Your Outdoor Living Area and Kitchen

  • Tables to Gather
  • Counter Space
  • Bars
  • Grills
  • Refrigerators
  • Sinks
  • Fire Places
  • Fire Pits (both Natural and Propane)
  • Pizza Ovens
  • Water Ponds & Streams
  • Recirculating Fountains & Water Vases
  • Hot Tubs
  • Pergolas & Overhead Structures
  • Patio Umbrellas
  • Overhead Fan(s)
  • Outdoor Music w/ Bluetooth or Wi-Fi Wireless Speakers
  • Night Lighting

Material Choices

When you consider the hardscape material choices for the floor of your landscape, the choices and combinations are endless. Choices include manmade products from Belgard, Mirage, Techo-Bloc brands and New Line. Tumbled pavers, permeable pavers, porcelain units, brick, cut or irregular flag stone, concrete, dyed concrete, patterned concrete, stamped concrete, travertine, tile, Belgium block, manmade and natural stepping stones, numerous sized colored gravel and pebbles, Chapel Hill grit and always one of favorites walkways for natural settings is installing brown shingles to match brown colored mulches and attach them to the ground with nails or sod staples….you can easily weave and curve though the landscape and you know they’re going to last.

In addition to all the material choices, the arrangement of the materials is also endless. For example, brick can be laid in different patterns such as running bond, basket weave, herringbone and diagonal herringbone patterns. You also might try different materials combinations, such as brick with cut blue flagstone and plant groundcovers like dwarf mondo grass combined with slate flagstone for a softer looking walking surface. Material choices should reflect the amount of foot traffic, the activity, the look you like, and your budget.

Before you build a patio, ask yourself if a deck might be better suited for your specific situation. A deck works if you’re exiting out a second story door, or if you want to be elevated above the landscape, but in most cases don’t have the “connection” to a landscape. Decks are generally going to be less expensive than patios, but demand more maintenance.

Moving water, whether it is the sound, the sight, or the touch of is a fun and delightful addition to any outdoor setting. Colorful, easy to maintain, recycling urns are great additions to your new built patio. The sound of waterfalls and running streams, add to your outdoor experience.