Outdoor entertaining is one the greatest manifestations of social living . As the sun goes down, and the fireworks begin, there is nothing that screams “SUMMER” more than a leisurely out-of-doors gathering with friends or family.
For those who remember hotdogs on the Hibachi and sitting under the apple tree on the weaved aluminum lawn chairs, the summer cookout has evolved significantly. No longer pine picnic tables and flimsy paper plates, the backyard barbeque is an expression of your design tastes and personality.
The Hearth Barbeque and Patio Association confirms that gas barbecues have surpassed charcoal ever since 1995 and are now twice as popular. Gas barbecues can be installed permanently on a patio or deck, but which is right for your home? Deck or patio? The answer lies in your landscape.
For your own backyard retreat the general rule is that if the backyard is uneven, a deck is your best choice. It can make the most effective use of the landscape by extending a level platform out into a sloped property. Another option is to have a retaining wall designed to build up and level the property for a tiered deck with a landing, walkway or steps. Serving as an outdoor living area, it also benefits in protecting the foundation from erosion and soil runoff.
If your backyard is level, the choices are endless. Now that manmade, maintenance-free materials are available, there are wood or vinyl, fieldstone, brick, masonry or decorative tile to choose from. Concrete and slate are still the most popular choices for outdoor lining spaces in a level area and a strong salute to the retro. Concrete provides many choices, in color, pattern and selections at a lower cost. Pavers are popular and now come in a variety of colors and shapes. Referred to as hardscaping, concete or other materials can provide interest, variety and rhythm to a landscape.