We all know the real estate adage about curb appeal, but sometimes what you can’t see from the curb adds even more appeal to a home – both for the families who live in them and for potential homebuyers. An outdoor living space that is as functional as it is beautiful is a space that works just as well for a quiet evening under the stars as it does for hosting an evening with family and friends. Multifunctional outdoor living spaces are in growing demand – and for good reason.

According to the most recent joint report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP), outdoor remodeling projects are a great way to invest your home improvement dollars because they average an 83% return on investment. In the same survey, hardscaping projects, meaning landscape projects made with masonry like brick and flagstone pavers, were a consistent favorite landscape upgrade.

If you’re still trying to decide what your next big outdoor project needs to be, here are two of our favorite hardscaping trends and some tips to help you decide which is right for your home.


There are two types of seasons: one, the seasons that are perfect for a fire and, two, winter. Gathering around a fire pit or fireplace as a family or with friends is as trendy as it is traditional – it has been something we’ve been doing for thousands of years. More modern traditions, compete with gooey s’mores or a piping cup of cider have turned a night by the fire into an event in itself. In the joint NALP and NAR survey, 83% of homeowners who installed a fire pit reported a greater desire to be home.

To get the most out of your outdoor fire feature, we recommend working with a professional landscape designer to build one which uses gas or propane as a fuel source. Feeding a fuel line to your fire feature makes it easier to use, which means you’ll also get more use from it. Wood burning pits mean pre-planning and storing wood, produce heavier smoke, and require extra measures to ensure the fire has been completely extinguished at the end of the night. Whereas a gas-fueled fire pit is easier to start, typically creates far less smoke, and is often extinguished with the simple turn of a knob.

Your experienced landscape specialist designer can help you avoid safety issues and make sure your fire pit or fireplace meet city and county code regulations. They can also recommend things like built in seating and outdoor lighting to help you get the most out of your new fire feature.


A temperate day with clear skies in the forecast almost demands al fresco dining. What better way to take dining outdoors than with a complete outdoor kitchen? It is an extremely popular luxury upgrade for your outdoor space, especially for grill masters and people who like to entertain. In fact, 100% of Realtors® surveyed who recommended their clients install an outdoor kitchen prior to listing, report it as one of the top considerations at purchase. Installing an outdoor kitchen can be as simple as a built-in grill and couple of stainless steel drawers or it can be an elaborate design that includes sinks, refrigeration, and sweeping prep areas. The right outdoor kitchen for your home comes down to how much your family wants to invest, and which features make the most sense for the amount and type of outdoor cooking you like to do.

Working with a landscape designer to determine what you need and how it fits with your home and outdoor space you have is a must when building an outdoor kitchen. Not only from a safety and permitting perspective, but they can also recommend features and materials you may not have considered, such as outdoor task and seating lighting so you can cook after the sun goes down and spend more time in what will surely become a favorite space. They can also help with incorporating bushes, trees, and flowers in your hardscaping plan to help with everything from increased privacy to repelling bugs.

As more people are working to make the most of their time spent at home we expect to see a larger demand not only for creating these spaces, but for homebuyers in the future. Explore our website for inspiration and ideas from previous projects, or contact our outstanding team of landscape designers. We look forward to helping you make the most of your time at home.