Warm Up Your Fall Nights and Enhance Your Hardscape with a Fire Pit

With the chilly nights and early nightfall approaching, now is the perfect time to extend the use of your outdoor living space by installing a custom built fire pit. A fire pit adds warmth and character to every hardcape and is great for entertaining outdoors in the chilly months.   Custom built fire pits generally are designed to match the existing outdoor aesthetic and can be added seamlessly to existing hardscapes. Most fire pits are set in gravel or on a natural, hardscape surface as stone, brick or slate. Installing a portable or permanent fire pit on a wood surface is not recommended as embers can fly; causing a major fire hazard.   Photo by Phillip Nobile The majority of fire pits are constructed of natural stone, brick or slate and can be installed as a wood burning fire pit or one that uses propane. Many homeowners love the traditional smell of a wood burning pit, but this is more labor intensive as you need to continually handle the wood to keep the flames alive.   For those that chose the propane option, you are giving up that fall, fire smell but can relax and enjoy the warmth from the fire pit with just the flick of a switch.   With every installation of a fire pit, it is important to know the county or town regulations on installation and if your homeowner’s association or insurance company will allow them. Generally, it is good practice to install a custom built fire pit a minimum of 10 feet away from your home, your neighbor’s home and any existing structure such as a shed. Remember to clear low hanging branches away from where the fire

Benefits of Adding Hardscaping to Your Yard

With this period of cool mornings and warm afternoons, there is still time left to enjoy your yard before we hunker down for the cold winter ahead. A great way to continue to enjoy your yard, as well as create a beautiful space to enjoy your morning cup of Joe, is to add hardscaping elements to your landscape. What is hardscaping? Hardscaping is adding permanent design elements to your landscaping and gardens such as paved walkways, a fire pit, patios, pools, water features and retaining walls. Different materials can be used in creating hardscaping for your yard. The most common materials used in creating a beautiful and lasting hardscape depend on the area you live in. For Northern Virginia, we recommend using:   Pavers – For use in driveways, patios and walkways. It is durable and can withstand the freeze - thaw cycles we go thru in this region. There are many different colors and styles to allow for great and interesting designs. Stone – Strong, natural, regal and long lasting stone such as flagstone and Carderock are recommended for longevity and for an elegant look. Brick – Great for walkways, patios and is used for a classic look. There are several reasons to add hardscape to your yard. Creating a backyard oasis adds value to your home, correcting a landscaping issue or increasing outdoor space for entertaining friends and family. If you have uneven or sloping land throughout your property, adding hardscape such as a retaining wall can even out your yard as well as address any drainage issues you may have. Whether you are looking to increase your outdoor living space, add a patio with an outdoor kitchen or create a place for