As winter turns to spring, families across America will start thinking about ways to make their outside time more enjoyable this season. Belgard Hardscapes—a leading provider of interlocking pavers, paving stone and garden wall products—says that a variety of consumer wants and needs is creating demand for a variety of outdoor living-space elements.
“Outdoor spaces in 2014 will be thoughtfully designed for how we use them but will be influenced by contemporary design with modern conveniences for the way we live today," said Fernanda Pedroso, a consumer research expert for Belgard.
Homeowners Seek Contemporary Design
Homeowners are seeking contemporary design, both within and outside the home. They are adding contemporary flair outdoors by mixing materials in their patios, walkways, driveways and garden areas, such as combining pavers with wood, natural stone or metal frames.
Rise of the Outdoor Chef
Outdoor cooking continues to grow in popularity, and it’s not just about the basic grill anymore. Homeowners are customizing their outdoor kitchens with virtually any indoor modern convenience that fits their lifestyle, from built-in gourmet cooking stations and brick ovens to wine coolers and beer taps. Flooring such as concrete pavers are not only easy to clean after outdoor cooking, but they provide the fire resistance needed to stand up to the heat in the kitchen.
Geometric Patterns Grow Underfoot
Reflecting the trend of geometric patterns in home décor, homeowners will incorporate patterns into their outdoor spaces. The varying shapes and colors of concrete pavers allow homeowners to create designs in their outdoor flooring as a décor accent or to create designated social spaces much like an area rug does inside the home.
Gardening Gets a Makeover
The 2014 Garden Trends Report says consumers are not only “decorating” their homes, but their gardens as well. Homeowners are creating visually appealing vegetable and floral garden areas that seamlessly integrate into their social spaces through landscape design of walkways, retaining walls and lighting.
Bigger is (Still) Better
Regardless of the size of a patio or driveway, homeowners are still gravitating to oversized pavers. Oversized pavers can make small areas appear more spacious, and large spaces take on a new look. This trend toward large pavers began in 2012 and continues to grow in appeal as homeowners look to make their outdoor living spaces more contemporary in design and function.
Year-Round Outdoor Living
As homeowners make upgrades to their outdoor living spaces, they’re looking for additions that help them extend their outdoor season. Fire features such as fireplaces, fire pits, and fire tables allow homeowners to enjoy their patios in colder months, and lighting is being incorporated into walkways and stairways to guide the way after dark.
“A fire feature can transform an outdoor space,” said Jackie Paulsen, marketing director for Belgard Hardscapes, whose modular Belgard Elements collection includes pre-built fire features, grill islands and water features that complement patio pavers for an integrated, custom-designed look. “In addition to extending your ability to use your outdoor space after dark and into fall and winter, fire features are a terrific focal point for patio design.”
Spas Gain Appeal as Backyard Water Feature
Americans love their pools, but not quite as much as they enjoy their spas, which offer four-season outdoor usage. Kidney and oval shaped pools are being substituted by rectangular shapes, and water features such as waterfalls, ornamental pools and splash pools are growing in demand for landscapes.
Keeping the Environment in Mind
Homeowners continue to have access to landscaping products that are friendly to the environment. Some homeowners are marrying environmental benefits with aesthetics by using permeable pavers. On patios and pool decks, permeable pavement can feature built-in water spouts that allow for a design element or children’s play area, and on driveways permeable pavers help with drainage and stormwater retention. Drought conditions in some parts of the country have resulted in water restrictions, which have led to greater use of paver products instead of water-intensive grass lawns.