Specialized information on Hardscape Landscape Waterscape Ecoscape

Tuesday
May182010

Custom-Designed Pergolas

Pergolas are a great, inexpensive way to extend your outdoor living space. They not only provide cover from the hot Florida sun, but also serve as an ideal place for flowering vine plants to grow. The term “pergola” was taken from the Latin word “pergula,” meaning a projective eave. Historically, pergolas linked pavilions or extended from a building’s door to an open garden feature such as an isolated terrace or pool. Today, many are freestanding structures providing shelter and shade to a length of walkway or patio area. Modern pergola designs tend to favor wood and aluminum and are thus affordable and gaining popularity amongst hardscape and landscape enthusiasts. Aside from the structure’s material, there are many other things to consider when designing your pergola such as lighting, fans, speakers, adding gas for an outdoor kitchen or fire feature and much much more.

Wood vs. aluminum: There are many things to take into consideration when choosing the material for your new pergola. Aluminum is typically more inexpensive than wood, it’s easy to maintain and pest proof. On the other hand, people choose wood because it’s ability to blend into the natural landscape while maintaining strength and durability.

Lighting: Once you’ve chosen the perfect pergola, it’s time to make it a true outdoor space by adding custom lighting. Try rope lights along the top to add ambience, wall mounted fixtures on the columns for direct lighting or overhead hanging lights to illuminate the entire space.

Fans: Are those Northeast Florida days getting too steamy to enjoy your outdoor space? Mount overhead fans to create constant air circulation. Take it a step further and install fans with lights for nighttime entertaining. You can even include an outdoor misting system for those really hot days!

Speakers: What’s a party without music? Make your pergola a complete outside room by adding all-weather speakers. As with any electrical work, make sure to consult a professional.

Gas hookup: Add a gas hookup to your pergola for a beautiful fire feature such as a fire bowl, fire put or fireplace or include a stunning outdoor kitchen complete with a grill island and wet bar.    

Wednesday
Oct142009

Creating Beautiful Year-Round Outdoor Living Spaces

Most everyone would agree that autumn sparks in us an increased sense of enjoyment in being outdoors. The crisp mornings, vivid sky, cool evenings, are even more pleasurable with an outdoor living space one can retreat to. What better time to be inspired to create a beautiful space that can be enjoyed year-round?

It's easier than you think. Creating a patio environment can be as simple as a pergola extension from the exterior walls of your home. This lattice structure is reminiscent of Italian garden buildings, and can be the perfect solution for an elegant and functional outdoor living space that is easy to build, install and maintain. Available in kits or made custom to correspond with the dimensions of your home, most pergola structures are made from cedar planks, and last for years. The wood, if left untreated will patina over time, or it can be sealed or stained, or painted to match the architectural elements of your facade.

Jacksonville Outdoor Living SpaceThe overhead horizontal beams create a sense of enclosure, although open to the elements. The vertical and horizontal components provide a perfect opportunity for climbing vines of jasmine or jessamine, which are ideal for year-round greenery. Or plant wisteria vines that bloom in the spring, or hang pots of colorful seasonal flowers or lanterns.

A poured concrete base for flooring can be installed with reasonable effort, and can be left bare or covered with an outdoor carpet for a sense of living room comfort. Large colorful or earth-toned pots can house tall live bamboo, trees or shrubs to create a natural 'wall' for more privacy.

Furnishing your new space can be simply and affordably done as well. A round or rectangular table and seating or lounge chairs allow for entertaining, family meals or morning coffee. Add color with table coverings and cushions made of all-weather fabrics. Decorate with lanterns or votives to add ambiance for evening lighting.

Add a water feature such as an outdoor fountain for the musical serenity of moving water. For crisp fall through springtime nights, install a fire pit or chiminea and you have a space that is complete with everything you need for a beautiful year-round outdoor environment that will enhance your enjoyment of every season!

Tuesday
May202008

Hand Crafted Built On-Site Cedar Pergolas

Pergolas add that extra element to your outdoor design. Pergolas are versatile, functional, and attractive. There are many designs to meet your needs. Pergolas can provide comfort and shade to your backyard, bringing the Jacksonville summer temperature down a few degrees to a comfortable level.

You may want to plan for electrical or some in-ground vines such as jasmine for your new pergola posts.   The newest trend is adding misters to your pergola to help on the warmest summer days. 

Your new pergola can be made from the new "no-maintenance" aluminum, plain lumber, or natural cedar.   The benefits of cedar are that cedar is more affordable and is quite attractive.  Maintenance factors to consider include care of the wood and materials used for your pergola.  If you choose cedar, you may want to stain and protect your wood from UV damage.  Treating your wood once a year or so helps prevent damage and prolongs the life of the wood.