As more of us are opting for the “stay-cation” lifestyle, we’re creating relaxing environments in and around our homes. From spa-like bathrooms, to open concept living we’re focusing on relaxation and enjoying our living spaces. One area that has seen tremendous interest is opening our homes to include both indoor and outdoor living spaces and flow. Hardscaping your backyard can add functional living space as well as create the perfect environment to relax, unwind, and spend quality time with family and friends.

Create Beauty and Value To Your Home

Hardscaping can turn your backyard into a beautiful relaxing retreat and your investment can add value to your home when it comes time to sell. The first step to creating your outdoor living space is to design your space and establish traffic patterns. This can be done in a variety of ways, from laying out formal walkways between areas, creating shifts in hardscape materials or planting trees and shrubs to establish borders.

Next, create distinct spaces using hardscape materials to establish specific environments and focal points. For example, an outdoor kitchen can allow you to prepare meals, while family and friends are gathered around the adjacent fire pit. By making outdoor spaces easily accessible to indoor rooms they’re more likely to get used so when designing your space think about traffic patterns and uses.

Creating Natural Flow

When you’re preparing to add outdoor space, think about how it will flow or transition from your indoor environment. For example, if you are building your outdoor kitchen on a patio locating it near your indoor kitchen can facilitate food preparation and ease of access.  Using similar materials, like granite countertops can give your outdoor space a sense of continuity.

If you’re creating an outdoor living space consider carrying your color scheme from indoors using cushions, or outdoor rugs. This can give the appearance of a larger space and create a natural flow from indoors to your outdoor environment. Adding a stone fire pit or water feature can enhance your guest’s outdoor experience and provide a natural transition from daytime relaxation, to nighttime entertaining.

Some Project Ideas for Massachusetts Homeowners

Here in Massachusetts outdoor spaces can be enjoyed from the first warm days of spring until the first snow. Creative use of hardscape can add to your enjoyment and create beautiful environments that can change with the seasons. Here are some ideas for hardscaping.

• Define outdoor spaces with natural stone retaining walls that can serve as perennials planters. Plant gardens so you have year-round color. These natural “walls” can change color with the seasons and you can add colorful accents like pillows, rugs and cushions to create ever changing colorful environments.

•  Use hardscaping to create paths to “hidden” elements in your yard, for example a meandering stone path to a hot tub surrounded by planters full of perennials sea grasses offering an exotic and private experience.

• A natural stone outdoor fireplace can take your outdoor living space from typical to luxurious and create a gathering space the entire family can enjoy!

• Use hardscape to complement existing features of your home, for example if your home features archways leading to the back entry, rather than a simple concrete walkway, create a neutral stone patio to add a timeless design element that complements the existing architecture.

Hardscape can add elegance, luxury, functionality and definition to your outdoor space. It can add valuable living space to your home and create a relaxing, tranquil getaway steps from your backdoor where you can relax and spend quality time with family and friends.