The patio is the heart of the family outdoor space. It is the gathering place. It is the link to other back yard activities. It can provide space for some of those activities: fire pit, outdoor dining, hot tubing, grilling, sunning, relaxing. Patios are normally attached to the house near the kitchen, or living room. Some times a patio will be attached at the master bedroom, making it a private patio. Some patios are detached from the house to take advantage of a secluded area or a better view. As with most design situations there are multiple acceptable layouts that will function and provide years of use and enjoyment. There are also incorrect designs that do not perform for the family. Our goal is to design spaces for the needs of each individual. That determines size and layout. We never want you to have to move a chair or table out of your way to get to another space. That patio does not function, much as the builder supplied 10x10 concrete slab that comes as standard equipment on so many new homes. Can we sit down with you to design a patio you can enjoy with your list of activities?
We developed our concrete enhancements out of a need some of our customers had. It started when the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo was renovating the sea lion exhibit and wanted to create a Pacific Ocean beach setting as a back drop for the girls (sea lions). After training at the Rock and Water Creations facility, in California, we under took the project creating the illusion of rocky cliffs. Their concrete staining however, did not provide the colors we wanted for the realism of the finished rock. On to Las Vegas to train at SEMCO Ultimate Surface Effects, which gave us 1050 colors to choose from. While training, we also picked up the use of overlays and soil cement. These are all services we offer to those discriminating clients that want something out of the usual. In fact we do not offer the more common stamped concrete in our line up. See our project gallery for more examples of our work.
The use of walls usually serves a function of retaining soil, changing levels, dividing or seating. Retaining walls are designed to hold back a certain defined load, usually soil. In most cases we design using a heavy 12 inch thick decorative concrete block, made by Versa-Lok, that has design specifications for holding back a certain weight and height of soil. We can both sleep better knowing that failure will not be an option here. We have both seen walls that did not meet minimum standards. If you have one we can help. Walls can also be used to raise a patio up to a higher level or in one instance a putting green. Walls that create a change in elevation are used to divide areas. A two tier patio may have grilling and dining on a level attached to the house, and entertaining and lounging on a lower level. Walls can also be free standing and act as additional seating around a fire pit or simply to define and separate one space from another. Mr. Reagan once told Mr. Gorbachev to "tear down this wall" in 1987. We on the other hand, are wall builders.
What is still the "hottest" hardscape amenity for us? Fire pits, period, and wood is more in demand than gas. Both fuels serve their owners in optimum ways for them. Wood people have the time to kindle a fire and enjoy the aroma of real burning wood. It has real sparks, real smoke and real heat at times. Gas on the other hand, is real fast, real clean, and real quick to extinguish. Both allow you to enjoy the outdoors in a way that you can not in the house, and both can be used 12 months of the year. We do not discriminate and will build either type to your needs.
Outdoor cooking has been popular for centuries. For most of that time, the reason people cooked outdoors was strictly to do with the fact that cooking is a messy business. Certain cooking methods, such as frying and smoking, are especially messy when done indoors. Homes traditionally have a grill or other appliance for this purpose. Recently, homeowners have chosen to partially or completely extend their cooking capabilities to their outdoor living space. The home utilities (gas, electricity, water) can be extended to an outdoor cooking structure, allowing the homeowner to take the mess outside and entertain guests while cooking.