M’s resource guide to create your perfect outdoor space
Boosting the Backyard
BY GUY FIORITA
Photography courtesy of LandCrafters Inc.
According to a survey conducted by the American Society of Landscape Architects, the top three most requested outdoor design elements for 2015 were fire pits, lighting and grills. Other popular choices were pergolas and decks and spa features like hot tubs, saunas and swimming pools.
Gone are the days when all a backyard needed was a picnic table and a Weber grill. Today more people are looking to create outdoor spaces that afford all the comforts and conveniences of the indoors. “Backyard patio spaces have become an essential part of our everyday living — a true extension of our indoor living spaces,” says Carl Merisalo of Century Landscaping. “Today people are looking for an outdoor living area capable of multiple uses. Yes, built-in grills with counter space, fire pits, pergolas and hot tubs are all very popular, but the key is to combine these elements and create subtly distinctive ‘rooms’ for each area.”
Landscape designer David Guthery of LandCrafters says adding a pergola is a great way of creating the outdoor “room” feel because a “ceiling” is often put over an outdoor dining or living space. “But right now more than anything else our clients are asking for fire features, especially fire pits. Unlike an outdoor fireplace, they allow us to gather around. By designing an oversize coping, a fire pit can hold drinks and food or it can be a place to sit and chat. We are social people, and fire pits encourage or reflect this,” he says.
In terms of materials, Merisalo says his clients are looking more and more to natural products even though the weather does play a role in determining the materials used in construction of the space. According to Merisalo, natural stone and clay brick are at the top of everyone’s list. “Natural materials are truly timeless and can be used with any architectural style. The character they give to the space is second to none,” he says.
Photography courtesy of LandCrafters Inc.
Guthery agrees that most of his clients also prefer using natural materials whenever possible. “Since we have the weather we do, material choice is a big deal, he says. Most real stone and brick pavers actually wear better than artificial ones. They do not fade under the summer sun or need to be sealed to prevent fracturing during the winter freezes. Today, people also want real stone and clay bricks for walls, walkways and patios and patterned bluestone paving and irregular and patterned limestone pavers. Natural stone walls are popular again, as they often match materials in the older homes. And bluestone or limestone are often used for a fire pit or counter top for a grill station. One exception to natural materials is in decking, where we almost exclusively use a product called Azek — it’s an artificial material that requires no maintenance other than an occasional washing.”
How easy is it to take the indoors outside in Wisconsin? “Fire pits, for instance, get used a lot in fall, but actually our clients report utilizing at other times, even occasionally in the winter,” says Guthery. “Outdoor kitchens are utilized typically for up to eight months a year. We have one good client who makes pizzas in their outdoor pizza oven every Sunday and wanted it included in their landscape because that was their major family time. We are starting to get
more requests for coverings on pergolas and over outdoor family rooms to shade in the heat, hold some warmth in the cold, and allow use when it is a bit damp. We are an outdoor people, and perhaps the fact that we have winter for four months or so makes us value our outdoor seasons even more. That is clearly reflected in the way we design our outdoor living spaces.”
Outdoor Accents is the premier installer of landscape sprinkler systems. The company designs, installs and maintains sprinkler systems for residential and commercial clients as well as athletic fields and rooftop gardens. Outdoor Accents’ lighting specialists take a unique approach in the creation of your lighting system. They incorporate their client’s vision into a one-of-a-kind artistic yet functional design. By incorporating LED technology, they can offer a more energy efficient lighting system with less maintenance.
PO Box 528, Thiensville
(414) 839-6530 | oaccents.com
Celebrating 60 years of irrigation excellence, Acme Systems is your full-service provider for all your irrigation needs, including design, estimates, professional installation, maintenance and repairs for all residential, commercial, athletic fields, golf courses, green roofs and drip/micro spray systems. The team installs systems to new as well as existing landscapes, while Acme’s experienced service department maintains all types and brands of residential and commercial systems.
6101 N. Flint Road, Glendale
(414) 351-8866 | acmesystems.net
Century Landscaping Co. Inc. offers a complete range of installation services. The experienced crews are capable of installing anything you can imagine — from brick patios and bluestone courtyards to an outdoor kitchen and the soothing babble of a waterfall and pond. Century’s quality and craftsmanship are second to none, while the design team and installation crews will work closely with you to develop and install a landscape that will satisfy your aesthetic and functional needs. Planning and design for new home site development and renovations of existing landscapes are also available. Serving all of southeastern Wisconsin.
N77 W31086 Hartman Court, Hartland
(262) 966-2822 | centurylandscaping.com
Professionals in the art of landscaping, Stano Landscaping Inc. offers an experienced staff of landscape architects, designers and certified professionals who provide excellence in design-build landscape construction. Services include patios, walkways, terraces and drives; retaining walls, steps, fire pits and fireplaces; fences, arbors, trellises and screening structures; and water features, garden pools and sculptures along with full-scope landscaping.
6565 N. Industrial Road, Milwaukee
(414) 358-1800 | stanolandscaping.com
Milwaukee Lawn Sprinkler Corp. is a full-service landscape irrigation contractor. The company provides expert design, construction and maintenance exclusively for residential and commercial systems, serving all of southeastern Wisconsin.
N60 W16180 Kohler Lane | (262) 252-3880
David J. Frank Landscape Contracting Inc. is an award-winning company that provides design-build, maintenance, irrigation services and more. Experienced professionals welcome projects of all sizes, residential or commercial, throughout southeastern Wisconsin.
N120 W21350 Freistadt Road, Germantown
(262) 255-4888 | davidjfrank.com
Beautiful landscapes begin with exceptional design. That’s Ginkgo Leaf Studio’s expertise. The staff designs custom residential and commercial landscapes, from intimate gardens to large estates and businesses. Twenty-six years in both the architecture and horticulture fields have influenced Ginkgo’s design style — landscapes with strong geometric lines, bold flowing curves, innovative architectural elements and unique plant compositions. At Ginkgo Leaf Studio, the team believes exceptional landscape design is creating art through nature’s inspiration.
W63 N672 Washington Ave., Cedarburg
(262) 376-5050 | ginkgoleafstudio.net
LandCrafters of New Berlin and Wauwatosa offers the best value in landscaping, brick and stone masonry, tree planting and all outdoor landscape design and installation for the Milwaukee metropolitan area as well as the surrounding counties of Waukesha, Ozaukee, Washington and Racine. From a small, simple lawn installation in Milwaukee’s downtown to a 5-acre landscape design in Lake Country that includes landscape grading, stone paving, retaining walls, landscape lighting and tree planting, LandCrafters will provide you with unsurpassed landscape design and installation service at every step of the landscaping process.
(Sales Office) 7001 W. Center St., Wauwatosa
(Production & Maintenance Office) 2145 S. 162nd St., New Berlin
(262) 827-1604 | landcrafterslandscaping.com
The knowledgeable team of horticulturists and designers at LAMMSCAPES! will help customers on any level – from DIY projects to full-service landscape design and installation. Year-round care programs include landscape management, seasonal displays and snow removal services. Lamm Gardens offers a variety of plants, garden accessories, educational seminars and workshops. Seasonal events, including school field trips with nature education and a children’s garden area, are fun for all ages. Weddings and floral services are also offered in the beautiful gardens on the property.
2708 Sherman Road, Jackson
(262) 677-3010 | lammscape.com
Servicing everything from gardens, patios, walks, driveways, outdoor fire, pools and hot tubs to walls, fountains and ponds, arbors, decks and fences, lighting, designs and drawings, outbuildings and furniture, Flagstone Landscaping Inc. will create customized outdoor environments utilizing an array of high-end and natural elements. Aiming to perfect your environment, their staff of professionals are intimately involved in each project, from the very first sketch until the final stone is in place.
1840 Lakefield Road, Cedarburg
(262) 377-7627 | flagstonelandscaping.com
Professional, experienced fencing contractor installing all kinds of quality fencing, including residential, commercial and equestrian. We custom design fencing for our customers needs using only the highest quality cedar, vinyl, aluminum, ornamental aluminum or chain link fencing products along with best installation practices. Many products carry a lifetime warranty along with 7 year labor warranty on all installations. Serving all of Southeastern Wisconsin.
6510 Aurora Rd, West Bend
(414) 235-0173 | www.atozqualityfencing.com