Creating the Ultimate Backyard Patio
About 20 years ago, Shawn Langer started a landscaping business. Teaming up with his wife Crystal, who has a background in interior design and fine arts, their business, Langer Landscapes, has morphed into a company helping bring customers' visions of their ultimate backyard into reality.
While Crystal works with clients to visualize and design plans, Shawn leads the installation process.
"When designing your backyard, you want it to be something you're actually going to use versus something you're just going to look at," says Crystal. "You want to invest in what you'll use. If your family likes the water, do a pool or hot tub; if it's soccer, do a nice field. We've put in batting cages, putting greens, yard game courts, fire pits, and backyard kitchens – anything that pertains to your family."
When designing the ultimate backyard patio setup, there are several areas that need to be considered, according to Crystal.
Separate Your Spaces
"Your patio is an extension of your home and you want to break it up – your kitchen, a dining area, lounge area, fire pit area, and maybe even a more private area with a hammock to relax and read a book. You can set the areas apart with privacy screening or tiered gardens. Pergolas are nice because it lets in light but also gives the feeling of enclosure."
"Focus on your architecture when choosing your style – if you have an old farmhouse, you don't want new pavers; with more modern houses, you're looking at slab products; with your typical suburban house, you have pavers, which offer so many options now.
"I like the patio to be set about 20 feet off the house with plantings in between to soften the look. It allows for a walkway with small gardens. For the walkway, I love the Starry Night Lighting because it illuminates the path."
"There are so many options for outdoor kitchens. You can equip it like your own kitchen with anything that makes you not have to go into the house when you're entertaining: built-in grills, refrigerators, sinks, and storage. Outfit the space with outdoor-ware and pots and pans so it's all ready to go. Think about what you love. Lobster? A built-in lobster boil pot. Clam bakes? A charcoal pit. Pizza? Pizza ovens are huge right now. We do a lot of custom-built wood-fire pizza ovens, and the pizza comes out just like Pepe's."
Recommended Product: Summerset American Muscle Grill. "It lights up and has a rotisserie. You can't get anything better."
"Your seating needs depend on the size of your family and if you entertain a lot. I'd recommend one main table with 8 to 10 seats. And then a couple bistro tables around too. You definitely want shade over the dining table."
"A great backyard space has a custom-built stone fireplace. I like to put these in an intimate seating space with built-in seating around it with underlip lighting to highlight the stonework. That's going to be where everybody hangs out all the time, and it's the place to end a good party."
Planting & Landscaping
"I like to work with native plants that fit a client's style with a 50-50 perennial deciduous mix with an evergreen base built in and then some fun with color. I also like to incorporate edibles like a blueberry hedge or an herb garden, especially if you have the pizza oven."
Jenn McCulloch is the Correspondent for Zip06. Email Jenn at .