Serving the Naperville Community
As winter bears down on the Midwest, spending time outdoors can be pretty unbearable; and yet, it’s nice to get outside for some fresh air on milder days. During even the coldest days, a fire pit can be your ticket to keeping your outdoor living space alive. These wonderful structures built from long-lasting brick allow for one of the most primal of human experiences: gathering around a fire and sharing conversation with loved ones. Brick structures will be around for generations as is intended, so it’s time to warm up your Wheaton, IL brick patio with a traditional fire pit.
Related: Rethinking the Traditional Brick Patio in Wheaton and Naperville IL Areas
Finding the Warmth
The location of your fire pit should be in the least windy part of your patio. In the unfortunate case of a patio that is consistently battered by wind, a privacy wall will do the trick of blocking frosty breezes. You also want to consider how large to make your fire pit space, as best defined by how many people with whom you want to gather. Placing a fire pit directly in the center of a patio might hinder how people move about the space, so slightly off-center in a low-traffic area would be the best bet. Once a location is determined, it’s time to plan the size and the style.
Sinking Into Comfort
Stay out of the cold wind and create a cozy haven by setting the fire pit a few feet lower than the grade of the rest of the patio. This is especially advantageous if the patio sits on a flat area with a downward slope on one side, where you can create a cozy little area that allows gatherings to feel even more warm and intimate.
The Right Presence
Even the most minuscule fire pits can become a focal point of your brick patio. Matching its style to the aesthetic of your home is important and can be achieved by choosing either a round fire pit or a square one. Round fire pits provide a relaxed “campfire” atmosphere, while square fire pits offer a touch of more refined elegance.
Another great addition to your brick patio and the fire pit is the high-backed seat wall. It’s an excellent source of seating and storage. This sturdy masonry feature provides a physical barrier between the fire and the wind. However, it’s important to remain a little versatile in planning permanent seats. Some guests may prefer to stand instead of sit, so it’s a good idea to leave an opening, for example, a half- or quarter-circle around the fire pit, where folks can stand or sit as they wish. Then, it’s important to plan the seats to cover the direction of the wind in order to keep the most amount of warmth in the fire pit as possible.
Your fire pit is simplistic in nature but it can be adorned with various other features to your heart’s desire. Adding built-in landscape lighting to the fire pit itself, or to any permanent seating, can be a wonderful strategy to add ambiance. Hanging string lights around the fire area encourages a more festive atmosphere. A small cocktail bar may be built into the brick structure next to the high-backed seat walls, eliminating the need to go back and forth and keep the drinks coming. The more you customize, the more personal and cherished your fire pit will become.
Related: 2 Outdoor Design Ideas for a Cozy Brick Patio in Naperville and Hinsdale IL Areas
For many homeowners, the backyard is a sacred place of tranquility - one that must be designed and kept in the most peaceful manner. This respect and need for an outdoor living space can be achieved by selecting a few landscape features that bring peace and tranquility to a backyard. You can achieve your dream of a peaceful oasis right in your backyard with a few key design techniques. Here are four landscape design ideas for tranquil landscaping in Hinsdale, IL.
Related: 4 Eco-Friendly Landscape Design Ideas for Naperville IL Homes
A Water Feature
A gorgeous fountain or waterfall is a fantastic addition to any backyard. The gentle sounds of trickling or cascading water can make peaceful white noise that soothes and relaxes. A fountain can be designed in accordance with any architectural style, from rustic to highly ornate and formal, and from historical to ultra-modern. A beautiful Italian-inspired fountain that evokes dreams of Rome and stands proud in shades of white and beige… the quiet elegance of a Japanese fountain that inspires zen and harmony with your environment… or a naturalistic boulder-lined waterfall can evoke feelings of being in a remote mountain hideaway.
A Curated Greenscape
Plants can always bring relaxation, but overgrown plantings and backyards add more stress than they relieve. That’s why it’s important to carefully select plants that soothe your senses and don’t require much upkeep so you can spend more time relaxing than fussing over high-maintenance beauties.
Plants do so much more than showing their natural beauty and providing wonderful scents. Colorful plants add a sense of vivaciousness. Trees and shrubs can be planted to make a tall privacy wall that keeps your backyard feel more like a well-kept secret. Flowers can make a wildly interesting color palette that attracts pollinators like bees and hummingbirds and keeps diversifying plant life. If you enjoy gardening, maintaining the greenscape will help soothe your mind and reassure that everything is in order… and if you don’t, you can outsource it to the pros and just enjoy your time outdoors.
One of the best ways to make a tranquil landscape is to design using minimalist styles. These include clean, wide spaces and long, straight lines. It’s also a movement against needless clutter which gets in the way of enjoyment and efficiency. There’s nothing extra in minimalist design by definition. So, consider how you best experience your outdoor living space. Then, prioritize those ideas, and get rid of any design elements that won’t constantly bring you joy (if you’re going to use it once or twice a year, you can do without, and redirect your resources and space to elements that will bring you joy on a daily basis.
Do you feel most at home in a cozy space surrounded by greenery, and a simple fountain? Does gazing into a fire put you in a meditative state? Do you prefer to sit on a hilltop and soak in the grandeur of sweeping views? The cause for minimalism is simplicity and sometimes simplicity is relaxation!
The right patio pavers can make a difference in your patio, pool deck, or walkways. Subscribing to a tranquil design style can mean choosing large format pavers in neutral colors that blend in with the surroundings; and while this formal style can be appealing to some, others find formality to be stifling and not relaxing. Subscribing to a more rustic design might evoke feelings of nostalgia and a space being well-lived in, with a carefree vibe that invites relaxing in the hammock. Using patio pavers such as bricks on your patio will bring on certain feelings of familiarity and calm. Your choice of patio pavers can be one of the sources of tranquility in your landscape.
Related: 3 Landscaping Tips to Refresh and Rejuvenate a Backyard in Hinsdale IL and Wheaton IL Areas
You’ve already spent so much time making your home look beautiful like the way you imagined it. Yet there exists an entirely different perspective at night that you might not have considered as much as daytime. Lighting your home and front yard at night is absolutely essential to keeping your family safe and secure. There are also many different nighttime lighting strategies that make a home and landscape take on a completely new character once night falls. Here’s why adequate outdoor lighting for your Naperville, IL driveway and front yard is so important.
Related: 4 Outdoor Lighting Ideas to Highlight Water Features and Other Focal Points in Wheaton and Hinsdale IL Areas
Safety: Always a Priority
First and foremost, a properly lit driveway and front yard will ensure that whoever is coming and going after dark is walking or driving safely. The surfaces on which we walk need to always have an adequate brightness to avoid tripping or slipping. Likewise, there should never be any surprises on a driveway and no matter its length, there should always be full lighting at night.
Regardless of other security measures already in place, proper lighting must be present at all entrances to a house and any driveway or walkway entrances so that unwanted visitors will be deterred. Motion sensor lights can be useful in this area as well as in the backyard or side yards.
Using eco-conscious lighting design choices will not only cut down on your energy costs, but it will also create a more pleasing nighttime experience. Traditional light bulbs use far more energy than LED lights and old-school lighting usually meant a single high-watt bulb mounted on the house, driveway, or post - which created overly bright areas and simultaneously, harsh shadows. Lighting systems using LEDs get the same job done with much smaller light sources that use far less energy. They also allow for more creative expression in a landscape. LED lights are perfect for illuminating walkways when mounted low to the ground so that the illumination is concentrated on the path instead of in your eyes.
Some of the landscape features of your front yard deserve attention at night. Whether it’s a beautiful statue, a single magnificent tree, or a series of boxwood shrubs that line a walkway, spotlighting is a way to amplify drama, create a sense of grandeur and add to the home’s sense of welcome. A few simple spotlights might be advantageous additions to a functional yet beautiful entry.
Moonlighting in Trees
Moonlighting is similar to spotlighting though it changes the location of the light source. In this case, a light is placed high in a tree canopy, so that it sends light cascading through the tree’s branches and scattering light on the ground that dances beautifully during a breezy night. It’s an excellent lighting technique for helping to illuminate a driveway by adding indirect light and texture.
Defining Spaces is Everything
Navigating a house you’ve never been to can be difficult, especially if there’s some rugged terrain. Using lighting techniques to guide a visitor’s eye towards the front door by defining spaces is a fantastic way to welcome your guests. Overhead floodlights already do a poor job of illuminating large spaces and cast harsh shadows that can confuse people who don’t see very well at night. Lighting should increase in brightness and frequency as your guests approach the front door, with the intent of minimizing shadows and highlighting any hazards. Using lights to illuminate certain areas more than others provides an important visual texture that not only feels welcome but promotes safety and security throughout your front yard and driveway.
Related: 3 Historical Outdoor Lighting Options to Complement an Antiqued Brick Patio in Naperville IL