outdoor kitchens and patios

Outdoor Kitchens and Patios – That Time of Year

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After the long, never-ending winter months we endured this year across the east coast, sunshine brings everyone outdoors. This is the time of year homeowners are looking to optimize the use of their outdoor space. Whether this means enjoying their outdoor kitchens and patios or creating new ones, the summer months were made to be spent outside.

Outdoor kitchens and patios provide a lifestyle enhancement. These spaces are extensions on indoor living and create new rooms to be enjoyed. Patios create a transition from the inside of the home, to the outdoor living space. Depending on the size of the property and the homeowner’s budget, the spaces will vary. But everything can be customized and created to suit the individual needs. Outdoor kitchens and patios provide the outdoor living lifestyle that so many homeowners are looking to enjoy this time of year.

Creating Outdoor Kitchens and Patios Best For Your Home

Creating outdoor kitchens is a growing trend throughout the region. Outdoor kitchens today are easily customizable to fit into any space or any style. This addition to any backyard creates an ideal outdoor living space that friends and family can enjoy. It is the ultimate entertainment space, perfect for hosting parties or intimate dinners.  Stainless steel appliances are a popular addition to create a sleek and modern look outdoors, as well as including bar space, trash space, shelving and counter-tops. Every kitchen is designed to best suit each individual needs and provide the ideal outdoor living space for functionality.

When designing outdoor kitchens and patios it is important to reflect on your lifestyle. When renovating or creating a new outdoor space, look at the area in the same way as you would your home’s interior. Consider your space as an addition to your indoor living. Determine its purpose. Do you want a cozy warm space for gathering, hosting friends and family with a new dining area and outdoor kitchen, as a space strictly for visual and aesthetic pleasure, or to create some privacy? Will it be used year-round, with a fireplace for colder months; an installed fan, pergola, or overhead covering to provide relief from the heat; or no covering at all to enjoy the sunshine? The outdoor kitchens and patios designs process is an elaborate one.

There are many variables considered while designing the ideal outdoor living environment for your home. Everything starts with the space provided, and working with the existing landscape and architecture of the time. There are proper permits needed for outdoor kitchen patio plans and many times towns will have certain regulations and allotments that need to be taken care of from the beginning. Once that is squared away, it is time to start thinking about what should be included to create the ideal outdoor living space. The details are what make each and every space custom. Whether you are looking for bar space, counter space, a pizza oven, beer tabs, bar stools, larger grill, or shelving units. From modern marble designs to rustic brick, creating the perfect outdoor kitchens and patios for your home and lifestyle can be done.

If you are interested in learning more or would like a complimentary consultation for outside kitchens and patios at your home, our designers are here to help. Get the most out of this season by creating the outdoor kitchen and patio you have been dreaming about.

pool gardening

Pool Gardening and Proper Planning

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As the saying goes, April showers bring May Flowers. Even with the cooler temperatures and rainy days, the start of the spring season brings hope. Bulbs are popping up to bring color to landscapes, the temperatures are rising, soil is warmer, the days are longer. Over the next few weeks, homeowners will be refreshing their outdoor spaces, and opening up their swimming pools to prepare for the summer months. It is the time of year pool gardening begins, cultivating landscapes and creating poolside gardening spaces. It is the season where everything comes back to life.

For homeowners who are creating poolscapes, or gardens by their swimming pools, it can seem overwhelming knowing where to begin. When it comes to swimming pool gardening, there are many elements to consider. You want to make sure your money is being invested correctly. Choosing specimens that can survive the summer months is important. Working with a designer can help create a landscape that ties the pool and home and patio together.

Pool Gardening Check List

  • Debris
    • Make sure the plants and trees surrounding your swimming pool will not cause debris to fall into the water. This will make the pool look dirty and create the need for constant skimming.
  • Wildlife
    • Consider the wildlife in your area. Deer are attracted to many flowers and will be at risk near water.
    • Also avoid flowering material that attract bees, to make sure the poolside gardening does not cause injury to swimmers.
  • Colors
    • Choosing plant material and flowers in a color scheme that complements the pool. Depending on the color plaster, color of patio space and color of home, the poolside gardening should help tie it all together.
  • Style
    • Pick a theme to plan around, neutral materials for an elegant pool, or vibrant Tropicals for a Caribeean feel, depending on the overall aesthetic to the property.
    • Pool gardening materials are what bring the backyard space to life. It becomes an eye catching backdrop that is admired in the summer months.
  • Upkeep
    • Keep in mind the material you choose, will all need proper care. Depending on your level of gardening involvement, choose materials you are comfortable caring for.
    • Low maintenance landscape options are available, and will work well poolside during the hot months.
  • Irrigation
    • Installing a water irrigation service is a worthy investment to properly water your gardens. Especially in the hot and dry weeks over the summertime, irrigation systems take care of the soil and materials for you.

Working with a horticulturist is helpful. Hiring a professional is a great way in the end to save money. Using their knowledge and careful selection for materials, will end up ensuring your investment. Proper care to swimming pool gardening is the key to a long lasting and successful space. You want this space to thrive and grow year after year. Putting the time and money in at the beginning, will make sure it pays off over time. It becomes rewarding to see your garden return every year stronger and fuller, bringing color and beauty after these long winter months.

Interested in creating a new poolside gardening space, or looking for assistance in pool gardening for your home? We are here to help. Contact us today, we are here this spring season to help you create your pool gardening oasis.

landscaping principles

Landscaping Principles

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When creating a new landscape design, the levels of creativity are endless. Whether a large scale job or a small one, all projects reflect the same landscaping principles. It helps to have a general understanding of the fundamentals. In creating your own landscape design, or working with a professional, you will find the same general rules of thumb apply.

General Overview of Landscaping Principles Used Today

  • Unity
    • Unity is achieved by using consistency and repetition in the landscape design. By repeating plant materials, hardscape materials or flowers throughout a property, unity is given to the space.
    • A cohesive overall design is given by using similar textures, colors and materials throughout the design.
  • Simplicity
    • Art principles, as well as landscaping principles, state the same thing. Simplicity for beginners. Do not over-complicate or overcrowd the space, making the design busy and diluted.
    • Start small and add more as you go on and the landscape matures.
  • Balance
    • A landscape design should create a sense of equality.
    • Symmetrical or asymmetrical balance, depending on the design
    • Contrast and harmony can be created within gardens, to lines in the property, to walkways, to the use of plant materials.

From unity, simplicity and balance, there are other key elements included in landscaping principles that are used in design. The use of color is another deciding factor with guidelines to follow. Most homeowners gravitate to the idea of adding color to their property, all year round. Depth in landscape is created by the use of color, as well as interest in gardens and planting beds. Patterns of colors should be repeated, as well as a palate for the overall design.

A landscape design should follow a natural transition throughout the property. There should not be any sudden changes in the landscape, or plantings that look out of place or unnatural. Walkways and stairways should be designed with purpose, and create a natural walking flow throughout the gardens and property.

Proportion is a crucial element to consider in landscape design. Plant materials in gardens should be chosen that are in proportion to one another, and not have some that stick out unintentionally. Statues, fountains and furniture as well should all be purchased and placed in proportion to the space it will be occupying

Having a general understanding of landscaping principles and how to apply them to design is a great way to start any new renovation. Working with a landscape designer or a landscape architect, is a great way to become involved and educated on landscaping principles. Having hands on interaction and access to knowledge, will help to ensure a successful design and installation. Choose color templates you enjoy, your style whether modern and simple, or natural and rustic, as well as the purpose of your outdoor space. The landscape design in time will all come together in harmony, creating an outdoor space that will continue to grow and thrive every year.

If you are interested in working with a landscape designer or architect over the winter season, to start developing a new landscape design for your home, we are here year round to help. This is the best time of year to engage with professionals to map out your plans for the new year. To learn more about landscaping principles, or to start planning a new outdoor space, feel free to contact us today.

 

luxury landscape design

Luxury Landscape Design

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On the East Coast, with ever changing landscapes, summer always finds ways to steal the show. This time of year properties are in full swing with bursts of colors and textures. Flowers and trees are blooming everywhere you look, attracting wildlife, inspiring photographs. Summertime also means outdoor living. Families are spending time outdoors enjoying their homes and the scenery around them.

Taking pride in your landscape, and enjoying your backyard space is an art form. It becomes an extension of your home. Some people prefer the DIY approach. Others, look to professionals and contractors for help. For many homeowners a luxury landscape design is important. It is an investment that improves property value. It is also an investment that improves aesthetic and lifestyle.

The Value a Luxury Landscape Design Brings

Swimming pools, patios and outdoor kitchens are always the first thing that comes to mind with outdoor living. However, a well maintained landscape is another element that enhances any property. From planters, to planting beds, garden spaces to pristine grass, these additions create added value and appeal to the home. In parts of the Northeast, homeowners and business owners alike, incorporating a luxury landscape design is not only a priority, but also becomes a hobby.

Many of our clients look to us for help in creating a landscape design that complements their home, as well as reflects their personal taste. Landscape is completely personal and entirely customizable. While some conditions may cause restrictions, such as soil, sun and shade exposure, wildlife, and drainage on the property, there are still countless ways to design any space. Working with a landscape designer helps to make these decisions simpler. It also helps to ensure money is not wasted on specimens that are not right for the land.

A luxury landscape design is a well-thought out plan, while being properly executed and maintained. It should last through every season, creating new elements of interest. A true landscape will continue to grow and change, becoming more and more beautiful and intricate with every passing year. Choosing the proper landscape materials, and working with a skilled team will help to achieve a thorough and thriving landscape. There is the added value of curb appeal and property worth that comes from investing in landscaping. There are many different styles to choose from, whether a modern design, natural landscape, zen gardens, or simplistic landscape is your preference.

Our team of professionals are always available to help. Whether you are looking to enhance your existing property or create an entire new landscape design, we can bring a luxury landscape design to your home to enjoy all year long.

 

Summer Container Gardens to Enhance Your Home

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This is an exciting season, when outdoor entertainment is in full swing, time for barbecuing enjoying your backyard, and really making time to perfect your garden. Investing the time in your garden this time of year helps it to be at its best all summer long. Proper maintenance, irrigation, care, and planning will help your landscape throughout the summertime.

Many times, our clients will come to us asking for ideas on how to easily add color, texture and enhance the landscape to their home. We always recommend investing in pots and planters for your property. Creating custom container gardens is an easy way to spruce up your curb appeal. Summer container gardens are a fun and vibrant season to work with plant materials and flowers.

Summer Container Gardens: An Easy Way to Add Color to Your Home this Summer Season

There is an endless variety of pots and planters, in an array of materials, sizes and shapes. It is easy to choose the best planters for your property, based on your style preference as well as your budget. When it comes to summer container gardens, think bold colors and textures. The plant materials and flowers that will bloom all summer long bring bursts of color this across the northeast.

A popular trend emerging for those looking to spend more money on their planters, is potted palms. It is possible to bring some palm trees to the Northeast! While they will only last for the season, they are a fun and eye-catching way to bring a Caribbean or West Coast feel to the tri-state area during the summertime. These planters will do best pool side, and in the sunshine all summer long.

Curb Appeal is everything! We always tell our clients to invest in their front yards. Clean lines in planting beds, decorative planters and urns, a nice clean even lawn, hanging planters, LED lighting for evening ambiance. Placing your summer container gardens on entry steps, bench or fountain near gardens in the front of the home is an easy way to boost curb appeal. These are all easy investments that attract passerby’s, as well as potential buyers. The front of the home is the first thing someone will see, so take the time to make sure it looks clean, charming and welcoming.

Container gardens are a year round investment, that can be changed seasonally. Scenic offers a custom garden enhancement division that will update, plant, maintain and design your container gardens for you, if a green thumb is not something that comes naturally to you. We are always here to help plan and to guide our clients in the best way possible. Feel free to use us as a resource for all your summer container gardens and landscape maintenance questions.

Westchester Home Magazine – Outstanding Landscaping Feature

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In the new summer issue of Westchester Home Magazine, Scenic was featured as one of the four Outstanding Landscaping Features in the NY area.

Our project that was featured is in Pelham Manor, NY. This backyard has everything, from a pergola covered seating area, custom fireplace, ample seating, outdoor kitchen, pizza oven, multiple televisions, spa, and bar area. This is a dream backyard for entertaining and relaxing in every season. Read the entire interview below, and pick up the Summer Issue today to read the feature and see the other award winning jobs in the Westchester area.

 

NY Outstanding Landscaping Interview Questions

  1. What was the overall scope of this project? What did you start with and what were the client’s must-haves? 

-This client was working with SDR Design for the interior design of their new house. We were brought in to execute the exterior construction and landscape, and assist in blending it seamlessly to the style of the home. When we came onto the project, we were brought in the help fabricate the outdoor living lifestyle, while helping the beautification process of the whole property.

The overall scope was to create a whole new outdoor space in an existing lot, that the entire family of 6 could enjoy all year. They wanted this space to be used as an extension of their home. It started with very well constructed large retaining walls, reworking an existing sports court to create more open space, designating new garden areas and keeping a clean and consistent design throughout. The client’s must haves were ample space for entertaining, dining and relaxing, as well as garden areas to enhance and add colors throughout the seasons. It was important to this family to have bursts of color and pretty views from their back windows to admire while indoors.

Marmiro Stone provided all the marble which came overseas from Turkey.

  1. How long did it take to complete this project?

– This was a year long project due to the complexity and coordination involved. There was very detailed craftsmanship needed with many of the pieces being fabricated right on site. The pre-planning stage takes lots of time and oversight as well, to ensure every detail is handled and planned accordingly. Many of the materials were also coming in from overseas which adds time to the process as well. We were very diligent in planning for every element, from the customized benches and bar features, to the high-end wet laid walls; all of this takes time to meet the client’s expectations and ensure the utmost precision.

  1. What should homeowners consider when putting an entertainment system or TV outdoors?

-It is important to understand that there is a lot of planning involved with audio and speakers for an outdoor space. The organization of the electrical aspect must be very thought out, and having the right specialist on site is crucial. This process involves coordination between masons and electricians during the early planning stages to be done correctly. You will need to consider where to place the equipment so it can remain out of sight and not become an eye sore. Consider your cost and budget as well. For extensive wiring, the price as well as the timeline for the project will increase.

  1. What is all included in this outdoor kitchen?

– This kitchen included a pizza oven, stainless steel Lynx appliances were used for BBQ and fridge. There is a garbage pullout and a cocktail station, large marble spacious counter space with a stainless-steel sink, dishwasher, beer fridge, and ample bar seating. There is a customized under counter shelf space that we included for the pizza oven to be stored while it is not in use. There are also LED lights underneath counter tops, so the family can utilize the kitchen at night as well. There is a separate outdoor TV area over the kitchen as well, that everyone can enjoy from the bar.

  1. It looks like this family likes to entertain. What direction did they give you in terms of that?

-SDR designer had ideas of what they wanted we helped to execute them. This family knew they wanted to create various outdoor living rooms to utilize in every season. From a covered fireplace area to a spacious dining area, to a spa patio space, there is something for everyone to enjoy at all times.

  1. 6. How much seating is there? It feels like a lot along with some “hidden” or built in benches.

-There is plenty of seating throughout this entire project. Around the kitchen bar holds seating for at least eight people, there is a large outdoor dining table nearby that can seat up to ten at once, with movement space purposely planned around table area. The fireplace area has couches and built in benches made of stone. There are large oversized chairs and couches for relaxing seating space. Even the fireplaces hearth is very large to accommodate extra seating with custom bench areas. The lower spa area also has custom bench seating for those sitting around the jacuzzi or watching the outdoor TV in that space.

All the spa equipment was hidden, the maintenance system and control systems are out of sight allowing the spa area to blend seamlessly into the patio space as if it belonged there all along.

7. How many TVs are there?

-Three

  1. How many fire pits or places are there?

-One

  1. How many different areas or terraces are there and what purpose do each serve?

-Kitchen, Dining Room, Fireplace Room, Spa Area, and garden rooms. All of these rooms serve as a space to enjoy and entertain with friends and family.

  1. What is the biggest mistake homeowners tend to make when they embark on large outstanding landscaping projects like this? 

-Not taking the time to plan properly. These clients were very well thought out and involved throughout the process. They made sure to hire and work with a great diligent team. The biggest mistake we come across in this industry is not being proactive – It is important to trust the professionals, hire the right team, and make sure you find specialists you can trust that will keep your best interest in mind.

  1. What are some of your favorite elements of this project?

-The combination of materials and the details found in the craftsmanship and stonework. There are rolling hedges in landscape, with rose gardens that are tucked behind boxwood hedges. Urns throughout the property that hold seasonal colorful arrangements. The beautiful mature landscape we brought onto this property perfectly balances the construction of the home. We made sure the landscape looked as though it belonged on the property all long by bringing in larger pieces, so it did not look brand new.

The clients were great to work with and positive and enjoyed being involved which is always an added reward for us. Collaborating with SDR Design and Marmiro Stone, as a large group of design professionals was beneficial. We were all able to work in a beautiful setting, bringing superior craftsmanship, outstanding landscaping and a wide variety of elements together to bring this project to life.