And who knows, maybe that’ll be you this year. And maybe you’ve already started kicking around few thoughts. Or
maybe you’re struggling to come up with some ideas.
Many homeowners like to visit local supply yards to get a sense of styles and what products are available, and look over some design ideas. Most suppliers have a display courtyard with many of their more “popular” products. Paver manufacturers offer catalogues upon catalogues of their product lines, all designed to help sell as many products as possible. And many suppliers will also display some “basic” flagstone designs, all laid out to appeal to the masses.
And many homeowners are able to find something that works for them. I always encourage clients and prospects to look at “live” samples, and a supplier is a great place to get started.
The problem with this technique however, is that because these display areas are set up to appeal to nearly everybody and offend no one, the result is a somewhat chocolate and vanilla selection. Do I like vanilla ice cream? Yes, of course, but what really gets me excited is Peanut Butter Swirl or Pralines and Pecans. And getting back to hardscaping, you’re probably not going to see those designs in a catalogue or display area.
So I wanted to show a couple of patio design samples, designed to be slightly off the beaten path perhaps, but to show you what can be possible with a little bit of thinking outside the box.
We set them in a modified running bond style pattern because the various size bricks just wouldn’t line up cleanly any other way. I love the interplay of the various shades of red, and the mortar stains from the bricks’ previous lives really add some character. Nothing that could have been achieved by buying new bricks right off the pallet.
The solution was to incorporate the plantings into the path. We left just enough space between the large irregular pieces of flagstone to soften the area without sacrificing space, and planted some jasmine to (eventually) cover up the fence.
The moral of this post? Don’t be afraid to be a little different. Nearly everybody wants their patio, their living space, and their yard to be interesting in addition to be functional. But in order to be interesting you need to be a little different. And copying the manufacturer catalogues isn’t going to get you there.
I had a client a few years ago who had a collection of hose spigot handles that he set in the surface of the patio for quite an interesting and unique border around the patio. The sky really is the limit. Those horizontal ledge stones for your garden walls? Try setting them vertical instead. Nearly every garage I’ve ever been in has some old “junk” – bricks, windowframes, garden tools – that can be incorporated into your yard or patio somehow. Give it a shot. Don’t be afraid. We’re certainly not, so if you need a little help, just let us know.