Extend the outdoor living season with these creative (and cozy) ideas
For many of us, the first day of fall — or even Labor Day — signals the end of the “party outside” season. But it doesn’t have to be! With a little creativity, homeowners can enjoy their decks and patios long after summer is over.
On a typical fall day, when the weather is nice and we grab our sweatshirts, our inclination is to come inside, snuggle up in cozy blankets, sit down with a hot drink and indulge in creature comforts. But who can say that we can’t do all this outside? Rather than say goodbye to patio season, why not find a way to turn our favorite summer hangout into a fall or winter gathering hub?
With a little elbow grease and cunning, it’s easy to bring the Danish idea of hygge to your outdoor space. Hygge is about cultivating a warm atmosphere, spending time with your favorite people, and enjoying the finer things in life. Here are some projects to help bring some hygge to the outdoor spaces of your home.
1. Open a gathering place
No matter the weather, gathering outdoors is infinitely more enjoyable when there’s a flat, mud-free patio to set up tables, chairs and outdoor equipment. For homeowners with some DIY know-how, laying a paver patio is within reach, both in terms of skill level and budget.
The first step in laying out a patio is to take stock of your property: use stakes and a line to define the ideal location, shape and size of a patio. Once the position of the outdoor gathering place has been determined, it is time to select the cobblestones.
The centerpiece of a great outdoor gathering center is beautiful and sturdy exterior flooring. Pavestone Front Patio Stones are made from durable concrete. They feature a contemporary, linear design in a simple, random pattern that gives any outdoor space a sleek, modern vibe.
Once you’ve selected the color and finish that’s right for your space, get to work prepping the floor. Measure the height of the gravel, sand, and cobblestones you plan to use to determine how deep you should dig. The recommendation is 2 to 4 inches of compacted base gravel and 1½ inches of leveling sand. To prevent water from pooling near the foundation, be sure to level the area slightly away from your home: for every 4 to 8 feet, there should be a 1 inch downward slope. Next, spread an even base layer of crushed rock or gravel and compact it. Then use 1½ inch PVC pipe as a guide to place an even layer of sand over the gravel.
Now it’s time to lay the cobblestones on the sand. Avant patio tiles can be laid out in any pattern you wish – straight, interwoven or even diagonally. It is important to start in the center and work outward to ensure that the cut pavers appear balanced along the edges of the patio. Use a rubber mallet to gently tamp each paver so it’s level. Once you’re happy with the layout, sweep fine sand between them to lock the pavers in place.
Following these steps to the letter takes time and effort, but the more carefully you prepare and level the ground, the better chance your outdoor flooring will look good for years to come.
To maintain a new paved patio, sweep the surface occasionally to remove leaves and other debris. Add outdoor lights and a patio heater to enhance the ambiance of the outdoor space, and you’ll be partying outside all the way through the New Year!
2. Set your focus on fire
Now that your exterior flooring is in place, why not add a warm and cozy focal point? A fire pit or fire pit doesn’t just warm up the outdoor space, it helps extend patio season even further. It also gives you a convenient place to roast marshmallows with friends and family, all with hygge in mind.
What does building a fire pit involve and what is the best material to build it from? RumbleStone Building Blocks are suitable for many outdoor projects, including a fire pit or fire pit, and come in a variety of shapes and sizes so you can build the fire feature you have in mind. If you want to gather around a wood stove foyer or comfortably seated in front of a chimney but don’t have a clear vision of what you want it to look like, the Pavestone website is a great resource. It provides several step-by-step plans that show exactly how to put RumbleStone blocks together in the configuration that suits any space.
Before embarking on any fireplace building project, it is important to check with your local government or homeowners association. Some municipalities may restrict the size or fuel type of fire elements on residential properties.
Once you’ve gotten the go-ahead to proceed, choose a location for your fire pit or outdoor fireplace that’s away from the house and any potential fire hazards, such as propane or gas tanks. Next, mark the size and shape of your fixture. A fireplace or hearth can be installed on pavers, as long as they are porous and fire resistant.
RumbleStone Fire Pit Kits are the complete size listed, making it easy to prep the ground ahead of time. Dig at least 8 inches of dirt for a fire pit ring, fill the area with compacted sand and level it before laying the concrete blocks. For fireplaces, tie the blocks together using Quikrete Construction Adhesive, but be sure to wait at least 2 days before lighting your first fire. Once the fire pit has reached its maximum height, add approximately 4 inches of gravel on top of the sand inside the fire pit.
3. Incorporate proper seating
Like we said, hygge is all about comfort – and there’s nothing comfortable about standing outside for hours. An outdoor living space needs seating options so that there is room for anyone looking to extend patio season. Outdoor seating allows people to curl up with a cup of tea around the fire pit or cuddle up with that special someone by an outdoor heater.
Every outdoor seating area is different, and sometimes ready-made outdoor furniture just doesn’t fit the bill or withstand the beatings that rain, wind, UV rays and snow can give it. Using a concrete material for outdoor seating is a smart choice because it stands up to those harsh outdoor elements.
RumbleStone materials aren’t just for creating fire pits, patios, borders and planters; these rustic style blocks provide a natural look and feel and create bespoke brick seating for an outdoor space. Creatives can create their own seating options or come up with plans for bench configurations on the Pavstone website.
The important thing to remember about making concrete seats is that changing or moving it is not very easy to do. For this reason, you’ll need to choose your DIY seat location very carefully, especially if you’ve installed a fire pit or outdoor fireplace. A good rule of thumb is to leave a minimum of 5 feet in front of the fireplace for the seating area, which will keep people warm but not too hot.
It is best to install RumbleStone benches on a level foundation that can support the considerable additional weight of the bricks. A patio built with pavers, for example, can easily support these seats. Project RumbleStone’s building instructions outline step-by-step assembly of their popular designs. When adding new blocks, use construction adhesive between layers to hold them in place.
This content was brought to you by Pavestone. Its facts and opinions are those of BobVila.com.