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Ask the Expert: Tips and Trends In Outdoor Design

by Ryan Hughes

Enjoyment of the out-of-doors and personal outdoor spaces is central to living in southern Florida and whatever the scope of your real estate or resources options abound for creating the perfect outdoor living area.

We discussed with Ryan Hughes, owner off Ryan Hughes Design/Build, an award-winning exterior builder, designer and landscape professional and a recognized leader in the exterior design field, tips and trends for creating outdoor spaces guaranteed to provide lasting leisure and enjoyment on any budget.

Hughes_Photo_1Personalize the Outdoor Plan
As with any project, planning is key. Whether simple landscaping to infinity pools, outdoor space planning requires examining the reality of the space parameters, desired use and overall outdoor living goals. The personalization of the plan can draw upon personal style and inspiration from the homeowner’s travels or life experiences. Ultimately, the most successful plan for outdoor living must include functionality and options for the desired use whether entertaining, relaxing or just family fun.

Extend The Indoors Out
A factor in outdoor design planning is the extension of a home’s interior design motif to the out of doors. From hardscapes to furnishings, focal points to color stories, exterior design can mirror interior design with styles from contemporary to old world, traditional to casual chic. Changing up the design scheme to create contrast can also provide a ice departure and a unique feel to the outdoors.

Explore The Elements of Nature
In creating an outdoor design, capitalizing on the natural elements that abound is a strategy for success. Whether sun or water, fire or flora, the use of multiple nature-focused elements within an outdoor space can add drama and create greater overall appeal. Stone fountains to infinity swimming pools, fire pots to rock hearths, there are numerous additions that can be made to any outdoor space to emphasize elements in nature.

Hughes_Photo_2Create Outdoor Rooms
Trending in outdoor design is the creation of outdoor rooms. From simply grouping furnishings to the construction of pergolas with columns and full kitchens, the sky can be the limit in outdoor rooms.

Outdoor trends
A growing trend in outdoor design also includes the addition of modern technology from performance fabrics to designer hardscapes. By incorporating the latest in modern achievements, unique materials, trending color ways and textural and landscaping elements, one-of-a-kind outdoor décor are being created. Another popular trend that is being included in outdoor design of every size are fire features. Fire tables, fire places and fire pots of all sizes and styles are easily added to warm up an outdoor space.

Professional Assistance
Many outdoor design projects can be undertaken by the homeowner. For projects beyond the scope of the homeowner, the use of a professional design build firm or landscape architect is recommended. Safety issues involved with outdoor features as well as space planning or knowledge of industry standards can require the expertise a professional can provide.

Hughes_Photo_3Blog Extra: Ask the Expert
For nearly two decades, Ryan Hughes has designed and built imaginative and elegant outdoor living spaces. His focus on outdoor design comes naturally as the son of a recognized Florida landscape design pioneer. With work representing more than $100 million for his clients and projects including custom designed pools, signature landscaping, and original water and fire features, he is an expert in his field. Ryan’s work has earned him multiple industry awards and has been featured in such publications as the “Dream Homes Series” and “Perspectives on Design.

With vast experience in Pool Engineering, Pool Construction and Outdoor Living Space Project Management, Ryan’s technical knowledge is second only to his design vision and sought after creativity. Exploring his expertise can benefit the luxury homeowner to the back-yard do-it-yourselfer.

What inspires your outdoor living designs?

I have been fortunate enough to have traveled the world from an early age. From those travels, I have been able to translate a global perspective and take inspiration from international venues and lifestyles. These cultural experiences and architectural influences have enabled a diversity of styles that is evidenced across our portfolio. These impressions also have become a driving force behind my passion to create the most unique, innovative swimming pools and outdoor living spaces anywhere.

As the principle in a successful design build company in Florida, can you share your company’s design philosophy?
Our design philosophy can be defined as capturing and creating “Artistry of Space.” With this philosophy, our clients’ design vision and our team’s knowledge and expertise come together to create personal outdoor spaces that are inviting, comfortable, safe and long lasting. Our team works to incorporate the classic design principles of proportion and balance and expert space planning within each product to create exteriors that are not only beautiful but also deliver proven functionality.

Hughes_Photo_4What are the most important components when creating an outdoor living space?
Although our history includes the creation of award-winning swimming pools and water-scapes, we realize that pools are just one component in any luxury outdoor living area. My team is knowledgeable in the full scope of outdoor design and the use of elements and features from tranquil pools to dynamic outdoor kitchens; relaxation points to the warmth and sparkle of fire pits. Our outdoor living designs comprise original viewpoints; each with a specific purpose and personal appeal. For any homeowner, their vision needs to be incorporated. That may include water, seating, fire or landscaping elements. The object is to create a space that is a perfect fit for their lifestyle.

How does your design process begin?
Our design process begins with learning about each client’s style preferences and vision for their outdoor living space. We strive to understand the scope of how they want to use the use of the space and the desired feel. We spend a lot of time listening and create cooperative planning model to bring together the desired elements that work within the space and their outdoor living goals.

What styles are trending in outdoor design?
Outdoor living is mirroring interior design as styles can span from old world to contemporary, traditional to casual. We are seeing in our work, however, a growing trend in the addition of modern technology in outdoors including performance fabrics to designer hardscapes. By incorporating the latest in modern technology as well as unique materials, trending color ways and textural and landscaping elements, one-of-a-kind outdoor décor can be created.

Does your process only include the structural and landscaping elements?
We work with each of our clients in whatever manner they require. For some, it may end with the completed hardscapes or landscapes. For others, we pull together the entire outdoor décor design with the addition of outdoor furnishings and accessories. In today’s outdoor living category, there are so many options from outdoor rugs and lighting to outdoor electronics and of course the very popular outdoor kitchen elements. Outdoor décor has come a long way from only a table and four chairs.

How do you keep current on all the new products and technology in outdoor living and outdoor décor?
We are active within industry organizations and attend national and international trade shows to keep current on what is happening in this category. It is an exciting time in outdoor and our firm is proud to be a part of adding the artistry to outdoor living. .

Ryan Hughes is founder/owner of Ryan Hughes Design/Build, Palm Harbor, Fla.

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Youtube Update from Tiny Girl, Big Dream

Acacia_BenchPALM BAY, FL – Canada-based C.R. Plastics is continuing its long-term relationship with Tiny Girl, Big Dream (TGBD), the brainchild of Acacia Woodley. Born without complete arms, Woodley knows what it feels like to be left out and not part of the group. Her unique benches, with materials largely made by C.R. Plastics, display empowering messages designed to put an end to bullying and promote compassion and caring.
“I wanted to create a place where a child can go when being bullied or having a bad day so others will know that child needs a friend and show support by sitting with them on the bench,” said Woodley.

The goodwill ambassador wasted no time in making her dream come true when she partnered with C.R. Plastics, an outdoor furniture manufacturer, and helped design a colorful, Adirondack-style bench that serves as a happy place for all children.
CRPlasticsFrom the Tiny Girl, Big Dream web site: Aside from placing Friendship Kits Acacia has big plans for Tiny Girl. She plans to create a company that reaches across the globe to find positive solutions to the various challenges facing the youth. She envisions a company run for and by kids each working collectively to find real solutions to the problems that kids are facing in today’s fast paced and ever changing world.
Acacia Woodley is continuing her dream of uniting children in friendship with help from C.R. Plastics. Click Here to see her latest heart-warming message on youtube.

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Barlow Tyrie Celebrates 95 Years of Designing and Manufacturing

Moorestown, NJ-based Barlow Tyrie, the world’s oldest manufacturer of teakwood outdoor furnishings, continues to create beautiful designs perfect for today’s outdoor living and entertaining. Varying styles encompass designs in teakwood and shade products, as well as fresh designs in stainless steel and tubular aluminum.

Barlow Tyrie outdoor products are made with one of the most cherished luxuries of today’s lifestyle in mind—to truly relax and unwind. Poolside, on the patio or deck, in the garden or overlooking the dunes, Barlow Tyrie’s dedication to design and function creates a product that will enhance those times, offering good-looking, well-made and, most importantly, comfortable outdoor furnishings.

Equinox Extending Table

Equinox Extending Table

Design Award: Equinox Stainless Steel Extending Table Italian Ceramic Top
High Fired” ceramic top extending table (94” closed to 142” open) which seats ten to fourteen was awarded the “Best Table” design at the 2014 International Casual Furniture and Accessories Show. The Laminam® ceramic top is fully weatherproof, being made from a product originally intended to clad buildings. Table frame is made from durable 316 marine grade stainless steel. Available in Ash or Ivory top color. “High Fired” ceramic is an industry term meaning the porcelain ceramic has been kiln baked to over 2600 degrees Fahrenheit for exceptional rigidity.

Award Winning Monterey Armchair

Award Winning Monterey Armchair

Award Winning Monterey Chair
Designed by Mark Tyrie, the Monterey chair was awarded the “Best Chair” design designation at the 2014 International Casual Furniture and Accessories Show. The chair was inspired by the mid-century modern movement and features a teakwood frame and over 200 feet of all-weather woven cord made from Textilene®/Olefin® fiber making up the seat and back. The cord is woven on a 316 grade stainless steel frame for strength which, is fitted into the chair.

Monterey Dining Table and Chairs

Monterey Dining Table and Chairs

Monterey Ceramic Top Dining table
Designed by Mark Tyrie, the Monterey table is comprised of a “High Fired” ceramic top in “Oxide” color, a powder-coat tubular aluminum sub frame for strength and a teakwood outer frame. The table is 118” long by 39” wide. Smaller sizes will be available.

Titan with Black Powder-Coat Frame
Titan is designed with thick, wide top boards purposely made using teak that has visual imperfections and blemishes, such as knots, to give it a rustic “farmhouse” appeal. Introduced in 2014 as an all teak table, 2015 brings an additional offering with a black powder-coat paint finish on the table frame. This new version is available in a 94.5” length. There is also a 79” matching bench which fits between the table legs and a teak and black aluminum stacking armchair.

Cayman Square Dining Table

Cayman Square Dining Table

Cayman – Tubular Aluminum and “High Fired” Ceramic
This new range of outdoor furniture features fully welded tubular aluminum framing with a durable powder-coat paint finish, beautiful ceramic table tops and Textilene ® chair slings for comfort and exceptionally low maintenance. The sun lounger features a wheel hidden in the back leg for ease of movement. Both the chairs and sun loungers stack.

Dining tables are available in several sizes, 39” x 39”, 39” x 59”, 39” x 79” and a 59” circular model. All feature the hard-wearing “High Fired” porcelain ceramic table tops available in three colors, Ash, Ivory and Storm.

P.T. Barlow Tyrie is located in Indonesia and processes plantation grown, sustained source teak. This is achieved by cutting the timber in the saw mill, drying (kilning) the timber and machining the wood into the hundreds of individual components from which our furnishings are then made.

Barlow Tyrie controls all steps of the manufacturing process. Only the finest grade of teakwood is used. Many of the products are made in the Indonesian plant, including stainless steel and aluminum furnishings, as well as Market umbrellas and shade products.

Barlow Tyrie USA is located in historic Moorestown, New Jersey. All marketing and distribution to the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean basin are managed through this location.

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Ten Tips for Selling Luxury Backyards

by Stacy Nelson

When selling a luxury backyard to a customer the most important point to remember is to sell the lifestyle and not the products. Non-luxury brands are marketed to solve problems, while luxury brands are marketed to invoke a desired emotion. For example, an economy automobile may advertise low fuel efficiency, while a luxury automobile brand will draw awareness to how prestigious the owner will feel while driving it. Selling backyard products is the same way.

Aloha Spa

Aloha Spa

The consumer needs to experience an emotional connection to the idea of how they will feel when they are in their own backyard. They need to visualize their dreams coming true and see how incorporating a luxury backyard will improve their quality of life. A luxury backyard offers years of family memories, backyard birthday parties, holiday gatherings, a tangible place tied to things a buyer is looking forward to and will remember forever.

Here are some of my best tips for emphasizing the luxury of your sale that should help you close the deal!

• Ask questions – If you want to exceed someone’s expectations, which is what luxury is all about, you need to know exactly what those expectations are. How do they plan to use their backyard? Do they envision a quiet, restful getaway or a family-filled playground? What styles and designs do they find most appealing? How does the rest of their home look? All this information allows you to tailor the information you show them and to offer them a vision of a space that is a seamless extension of their home.

Luxury Fiberglass Pool

Luxury Fiberglass Pool

• Ask more questions – You also need to know the details of how they plan to enjoy their new space. Someone who plans basic occasional grilling for family dinners has different kitchen needs and expectations from someone who plans to entertain large and/or formal groups. A young family with small children who plans to use their pool for kids’ parties will want a different pool layout than a retiree who is looking for convenient water exercise. Don’t let them guess at what they want and risk them making an uninformed decision they’ll be unhappy with. Show them options that coincide with their needs and wants.

• Remember the basics – Superior design and impeccable construction add up to quality and quality is key. Customers need to believe that what you’re offering is fundamentally worth the cost because it’s better built than the competition. Product quality and product experience are equally important. This includes the quality of the products you use and your workmanship respectively. Show them pictures of other luxury backyards you have built to gain their trust and reinforce the quality of your work.

Additional_Pool• Buying into the brand – Celebrity and professional associations can emphasize a brand, because again, what you’re offering is a vision driven by emotion. If a homeowner feels excited by comparison to a brand-associated personality, it can motivate them to cement the connection with a purchase. This can include an endorsement from a celebrity, industry professional, or other VIP. If any of the products that you use to transform backyards are affiliated with influential people, you should communicate that to your customer.

• Select premium brands – Availability can devalue a brand by making it too common and too accessible. Be aware of how many dealers in an area are offering a brand, and when you are selecting the products you want to represent. Carefully selecting one or two dealers with a reputation for exquisite work and quality customer relations can yield better results over time for a high-end brand and their local dealers than mass availability. Steer clear of manufacturers that over-saturate a market with unqualified dealers to avoid their negative reputation affecting your company.

Custom pool

Custom pool

• The height of technology is the height of luxury – To compete in a luxury market, a product has to be on the cutting edge of technology. Not only does the novelty have an appeal of its own, but technology can also automate away messy, inconvenient chores like scrubbing a greasy grill or controlling a pool. Homeowners expect their luxury backyard to function properly and easily in addition to being visually stimulating.

• Precision pricing – Luxury goods need to be priced accordingly. Homeowners expect to pay for name and quality, as well as superior workmanship, but beware of letting price exceed product. This is where quality, both in construction and in customer service, can give a builder the edge, as those areas are where value is most evident.

• Image is everything – Have great marketing, exemplary public relations and a great reputation that is carefully attended and defended. One never knows how much research customers will do before a purchase and unaddressed negative reviews online should never be ignored. Just one or two critical comments could be enough to change a customer’s mind. It doesn’t mean that you need to delete everything that isn’t 100% positive. Consumers understand that situations arise, like weather delays and equipment failure. They are more concerned with how you handled those situations so they feel that you are capable and willing to handle anything that impacts their project. This is true for the brands you carry as well. The manufacturers you work with need to be held to the same standards.

• The pool just holds water – People often think a luxury backyard means a custom gunite (concrete) pool, but a luxury backyard can also be created with a fiberglass pool. Surround a fiberglass pool with luxury elements and you can still offer a jaw-dropping space. All the things above ground – water and fire features, structures, furniture, outdoor kitchens – and all the finishing work – glass tile and decking – are what make a backyard space truly luxurious, not the hole that holds the water. Fiberglass pools have come a long way over the years and come in various shapes and sizes that can be outfitted with the same colors and tile work that you would typically find in a gunite pool. Just make sure when you are selecting a fiberglass manufacturer that you choose a company that has a reputation of building a premium product and they need to have a history of honoring any warranty issues that may arise.

• Go the extra mile – offer something the competition doesn’t, be it a Home Pool Essentials course from the National Swimming Pool Association (homeowners learn safety and emergency procedures along with tips for troubleshooting) or a gift bag with pool-related accessories (monogrammed towels, waterproof cell phone cases, waterproof floating speakers, quality pool floats, etc.). Saying thank you in a tangible way ensures you leave the best impression.

Never forget to ask your customer before the job starts if you can document the process with photos and/or video to highlight and market your work. Be sure to send a courtesy link whenever you post any images on social media, so they can leave their comments. Nothing beats photos of a great job with a glowing referral from someone in love with their new backyard!

Luxury comes in every shape, size, style and color, so to learn how you can transform your customer’s backyards from ordinary to extraordinary and to locate products, contact Stacy Nelson from @BackyardMamma at 844-368-4769 or email Nelson has more than a decade of experience in the outdoor living and swimming pool industry and sources luxury products to builders and educates consumers about backyard living design and products.

View Stacy Nelson’s (@BackyardMamma) 2015 Luxury Backyard Trends to see if you are on point for current luxury backyard spaces.

Stacy Nelson e-mail:

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The Courage to NEVER Quit

Tony_CasualMarket2014by Tony Ramos

Three different generations, three completely unique sets of circumstances, three entirely disparate life experiences, and three distinct goals—yet there’s a common thread through which all three are connected. The thread that binds all three is that of burning desire, aspiration, and commitment not to quit in the face of extreme adversity.

“Wild,” based on the book “Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail” (Knopf, 2012) by Cheryl Strayed; “Unbroken,” based on the book “Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption” (Random House, 2010) by Laura Hillenbrand; and “Selma,” based on the 1965 civil-rights marches and protests are three critically acclaimed movies that premiered in December 2014. Strayed; Louis Zamperini (1917–2014), subject of “Unbroken”; and the 1965 civil-rights marchers and protestors are as different as night and day. In some respects, though, their true stories are as similar as peas in a pod.

Cheryl Strayed

Cheryl Strayed

“Wild” is the story of Strayed’s backpacking journey of more than 1,000 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), which took her from the Mojave desert in California to the Bridge of the Gods, which spans the Columbia River between Oregon and Washington. Strayed had no backpacking experience, very little knowledge of the PCT, and a desire to backpack alone, so it’s no wonder that her friends and family told her, prior to her departure for the PCT, that she could always quit at any time.

What they didn’t understand was that Strayed had no intention of quitting, regardless of how difficult her situation became. To Strayed, quitting was simply not an option. It’s true that at times, she did think about quitting. At times, the thought of packing it in and getting off the trail was as tempting to her as some of the unhealthy life choices she had previously made—but she did not quit.

Louis Zamperini

Louis Zamperini

“Unbroken” chronicles the life of Zamperini, from his upbringing in the modest Los Angeles suburb of Torrance, California, to his track-star days at the University of Southern California to his performance in the 5,000-meter distance event in the 1936 Olympics to his military career (and 47 days spent adrift in the Pacific Ocean after a plane crash) to the more than two years he spent in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp, enduring brutal and inhumane treatment at the hands of his captors.

Determined to destroy him, Mutsuhiro (the Bird) Watanabe (1918–2003)—one of the main prison guards at the prison camp—did everything in his power to break Zamperini. Not only was the barbaric prison guard unable to break him, but Zamperini’s will, desire, and determination not to quit, even in the face of extreme hardship, became inspirations for the other prisoners in the camp.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr

The movie “Selma” tells the story of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (1929–1968) and the thousands of protestors and marchers of all races and religions who took up the mantel of securing voting rights for the U.S. black population. The three 1965 marches from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, eventually led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Facing arrest, beatings, tear-gas attacks, and even possible death, the protestors and marchers would not be deterred.

Instead, they faced their enemies with the lyrics of “We Shall Overcome” ringing in their ears. Quitting in the face of extreme adversity would have been easy and well understood. What their adversaries did not realize was that uttering the infamous words, “No más,” spoken many years later by the Panamanian boxer Roberto Durán Samaniego during his 1980 welterweight-title rematch with challenger Ray Charles (Sugar Ray) Leonard, were not part of their vernacular.

To business owners and businesspeople, there are many times when quitting and throwing in the towel not only become compelling ideas, but also seem to be wise choices. More often than not, however, staying the course, competing in the face of adversity, and not giving up during challenging trials and tribulations are better decisions. As Strayed, Zamperini, and the 1965 civil-rights protestors and marchers all exhibited, the key is just to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

As we move into a new year, the vast majority of us will never even come close to experiencing (and having to endure) what Strayed faced on the PCT; what Zamperini encountered in a POW camp; and what the 1965 civil-rights protestors and marchers faced during their five-day, 54-mile march from Selma to Montgomery. We can, however, take inspiration, direction, and encouragement from these three incredible stories, which depict—in full detail—the best of the human spirit: when one sets out to accomplish a goal, when quitting is not an option, and when the famous 1941 words of Winston Churchill (1874–1965), “Never give in—never, never, never, never,” ring true.

Tony Ramos is the founder/publisher of Patio & Hearth Products Report.
He can be reached via e-mail:

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2015 Luxury Backyard Design Trends

by Stacy Nelson (@BackyardMamma)

As 2015 heats up, we continue to see a rising demand to make ordinary backyards extraordinary and luxurious, with homeowners typically favoring two distinct approaches: modern and natural. Modern luxury backyards draw on the established tradition of modern with clean lines, sophisticated but simplistic water features and crisp monochromatic tones, particularly grey, black, beige, and, of course, white. Backyards designed with natural luxury in mind are more organic, incorporating curves, warmer colors in the earth tones range, and natural materials.

waterfallThe Modern Luxury Backyard
Those wishing to incorporate a modern luxury outdoor space will most likely include clean straight lines in their swimming pool design as the focal point of their private oasis. You can increase the luxury factor by adding a knife edge (also known as a vanishing or invisible edge) on one or more sides of the pool, which makes the water appear as if it is even with the top of the pool, creating an attention-grabbing illusionary effect. A quality pool builder can also incorporate gorgeous water features into the catch basin where the pool water overflows. Pool finish colors for the modern luxury backyard range from deep blues to neutral greys and quality glass tile, especially European glass, is a preference among many.

luxury-backyard-naturalThe Natural Luxury Backyard
No natural luxury outdoor space is complete without water, but for a nature lover, the pool should fit seamlessly in the natural world. Again, a builder with knowledge and experience can integrate a pool with curves, emphasizing the shape and space of a yard, while making an organic fit with stones and tiles in the greens and browns of an earth tone palette. Flagstones and Italian marble both add nature-inspired distinctive looks.

waterfaucet2Water Features
In either case, water features are a must, the perfect way to add the tranquil sounds of moving water to one’s relaxation. Rain waterfalls can be incorporated into the pool in an endless variety of ways, from free-form styles to more modern features that give the illusion of a wall of water. Waterfalls also punctuate an outdoor space in a stunning way when used as standalone features that offer an eye-catching focal point. Fountains are another classic, timeless option that never seem to go out of style, versatile enough to be both elegant and playful. Built-in side wall rain curtains can offer soothing water sounds with a subtler understated effect, with European faucet-inspired features offering a particular chic, modern finish.

All this can be wrapped in decking options that are just as vast as those for interiors. There’s classically inspired Italian marble, traditional concrete which has been reinvented and reinvigorated with an array of decorative finishes, flagstones with their naturalistic feel, along with innovative options like composite decking or artificial grass. Those seeking to bring a little order to nature will love travertine pavers, which offer the durability and beauty of marble and flagstone, but the dramatic design flexibility of pavers.

fire-table2Fire Features
Adding the inviting warmth of a fire assures that your spectacular luxury space can be enjoyed anytime of the day or night. Of course, nothing could be more dramatic than coupling fire and water features by, for instance, insetting gas jets in the top of a side wall water feature, but if you’re looking to create the inviting ambience of an evening gathering place, you’ll want to shift attention after dark to a fire bowl or fire table, versatile enough to be modern or naturalistic, simply based on the materials. Then again, why not simply bring the fireplace outdoors for a nighttime focal point that offers that comforting oasis of enjoying a fire in the dark.

floating-light-ballsLighting Options
Of course, if you’re looking to light up the night, consider the impact of novelty lighting. Floating pool lights add a whimsical touch to a night swim, while DMX-controlled lights give you the opportunity to orchestrate your own private light show! LED accent lights can create new focal points and highlights after dark or simply help keep everyone safe, but for lots of late-night get-togethers, consider choosing hanging lanterns or chandeliers. Available in every style, from elegantly simple to ornately romantic to strikingly modern, these lighting selections work best in places people gather to talk and unwind.

And if gathering and entertaining are the inspiration for an updated backyard and space permits, consider a gazebo for lounging shade lovers, a pergola, which can easily have either a fabric or metal panel roof over the kitchen or seating areas, or go all out on a custom space to get the perfect space that will draw your guests together in comfort. Regardless of the choice, be sure to add an outdoor shower, either on its own or as part of a custom build.

shower3Outdoor Showers
With an outdoor shower, just add a kitchen and you’ll never need to go indoors again! No host or hostess wants to lose out on time with guests and with an outdoor cooking area, you can prep and party all at the same time.

kitchen2Outdoor Kitchens
No backyard is complete without a gas grill, but a luxury space can offer so much more – pizza ovens, rotisserie racks, smokers, anything the serious backyard barbecue aficionado could desire! All the standard kitchen amenities like a stainless steel fridge with ice maker, a spacious sink with garbage disposal and stainless steel cabinets make sure that everything is within reach, so entertaining will look and be effortless, and counters in granite, tile, marble, or stack stone, skewing grey or neutral for the modern backyard or toward ivories and earth tones for a natural one, make preparation and cleanup so easy. Meanwhile, keep guests’ glasses full by adding a wine or beverage chiller and to make your personal oasis feel like a real tropical getaway, a swim-up pool bar is a must.

tv3Innovative Technology
But convenience and technology aren’t limited to the kitchen! Outdoor televisions allow you to watch the big game in a much more versatile place than a crowded living room, while projector screens take family movie night to a whole new level. Audio systems for the backyard offer everything that home theater systems do and a quality custom job can make sure speakers are well-positioned and well-hidden. You can even add underwater speakers – and then pull the whole thing together with the seamless effortlessness of an automated remote-controlled system.

furniture-rrLuxury Outdoor Furniture
After all that, it’s time to kick back, relax, and enjoy it all in a comfy seat! Outdoor furniture offers as many options as indoor these days, with classics like cast iron furniture rrfurniture4and wicker and more modern choices like aluminum and teak, with limitless fabric options. Modern palettes favor whites, creams and ivories, while more naturalistic looks tend toward teals, lime greens, or orange hues – or simple splashes of accent colors against the larger earth tone color scheme. If space allows, having formal seating areas clustered together makes a backyard versatile enough to nest4accommodate small, intimate parties or larger informal gatherings, while tucking a stylish European-inspired seating area away in a private or hidden corner also makes a lovely place to get away from it all for a few moments. Then there’s always the ultimate hideaway: nest furniture. Nest furniture, standard or hanging, creates just that, a cozy nest4nest-like nook that offers a calm retreat, the perfect place to curl up with a good book. Hanging furniture is also available in a variety of other forms, turning every seat into a swing. Regardless of the choice, choose wisely and settle in because there’s no better place from which to take in the view and enjoy your newly transformed backyard!

Luxury comes in every shape, size, style and color, so to learn how you can transform your own backyard from ordinary to extraordinary and to locate products and builders, contact Stacy Nelson from @BackyardMamma at 844-368-4769 or email Ms. Nelson has more than a decade of experience in the outdoor living and swimming pool industry and sources luxury products to builders and educates consumers about backyard living design and products.

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Kingsley-Bate Introduces New Products for 2015

The Sonoma collection.

The Sonoma collection.

MANASSAS, VA – Kingsley-Bate has several new additions to its line of outdoor furniture debuting in the spring of 2015.

Kingsley Bate’s Sonoma collection has refined, casual styling with traces of California modern design. Frames are constructed from solid Grade A teak. Attached cushions made with Sunbrella® Rain are specially designed to remain outdoors during rain or shine. Available pieces include a dining armchair, side chair, club chair and ottoman.

The Tuscany collection is made from solid, rustic teak wood. Natural features such as knots, coarse ridges and splits appear naturally in the wood, giving each piece of furniture individual character. A beautiful pewter finish is hand applied to achieve an aged appearance. The collection includes square and rectangular dining tables, backless benches, and occasional tables.

The Miami collection.

The Miami collection.

With modern open-weave styling, Kingsley Bate’s Miami collection is high design. Nearly invisible aluminum frames give structure and form to a sophisticated grid of all-weather wicker. Stocked in Onyx black, available pieces include a sofa, settee, lounge chair, ottoman, chaise, and occasional tables.

The Chatham wicker collection is carefully crafted by hand with a classic, open-weave design. Frames are constructed from rustproof aluminum and only the finest all-weather wicker. Stocked in Classic White, the collection includes dining chairs, sofa, settee, lounge chair, ottoman, and occasional tables.

The Milano collection.

The Milano collection.

Old becomes new again with the chic Milano dining armchair. A formal but classic barrel-back chair is re-imagined with a modern, upholstered sling seating surface, eliminating the need for a cushion. Milano is stocked in two color combinations: Driftwood wicker with Taupe sling or Mocha wicker with Black sling.

Several of Kingsley-Bate’s popular collections will expand to offer new items. Designed by John Caldwell, the Tivoli stainless steel collection will offer a stunning sectional. The sectional is comprised of seven unique seating units and tables that can be arranged in endless configurations – everything from the archetypal “L” shaped sectional to a sleek sofa, or sumptuous circular daybed.

The Sag Harbor collection will expand to include curved sectional units in addition to the right-angled units currently offered. Sag Harbor is hand woven in a premium, extra-large wicker fiber and stocked in Driftwood and Mocha colors.

The Brussels collection.

The Brussels collection.

The Brussels group will expand to include a 42-inch round coffee table. The table is made from reclaimed teak and treated with a gray wash finish for an antique, weathered appearance.

A classic wicker chaise that coordinates with both the Cape Cod and Culebra collections will be offered in three colors: Textured Charcoal, White, and Willow. A handsome bar stool made from premium, Grade-A teak will be added to the Chelsea group. A club chair and ottoman have been added to the Paris collection to complement its existing line of dining chairs and are stocked in a Sea Salt color.

Kingsley-Bate is a privately held company, and is one of the world’s foremost manufacturers of high quality teak, woven and stainless steel exterior furnishings. The company’s products are distributed globally.

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Saber® EZ Temp Meat Thermometer and Edge Grill Heat Up the Market

EZTemp_PhotoRetailers looking to boost their accessory selection can help customers remove the guesswork from grilling. The product is called the SABER® EZ Temp Thermometer, and it measures the doneness levels of any meat in only five seconds,

The one-piece design makes the thermometer simple to use and easy to clean. The auto-off feature shuts down the thermometer after six minutes of no use, extending battery life. EZ Temp comes pre-programmed with 7 meat doneness levels and a user-defined temperature alarm. 

Edge_PhotoEvery SABER grill uses patented infrared technology and is made with the same premium materials and quality construction for a powerful combination of performance, innovation, and affordability.

A prime example of this performance is on the way in the form of The Edge™, a fully assembled two-burner grill that combines elegance, innovation and technology, connecting via Wi-Fi to a mobile device. SABER®’s DADO app sends precise, real-time data on temperatures, doneness and fuel levels directly to mobile devices. The technology assures that customers never run out of fuel again. The unit will be available in May 2015.

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Sunbrella’s Caravan Collection Captures the Beauty of Morocco

Frinier_PhotoGlen Raven recently introduced its Caravan collection of Sunbrella® fabrics, representing the company’s latest collaboration with renowned designer Richard Frinier (pictured, upper left). The fabrics are easy to incorporate into living spaces with modern, transitional, and traditional styles, as well as into residential or hospitality environments.

The Caravan collection is currently available through interior- and exterior-furnishings manufacturers. It includes two new base-cloth constructions (Sahara and Desert) and five decorative and coordinating patterns (Casbah, Bazaar, Berber, Medina, and Nomadic), each presented in authentic color palettes to create distinctive living spaces. Patio & Hearth Products Report recently sat down with Frinier to learn more about the inspiration behind these lovely fabrics.

How did your travels to Morocco lead to your development of the Caravan collection?
Frinier: My first trip to Morocco was in June 1967. I traveled alone, on a motorcycle, from London that summer, and I spent two very amazing weeks in what was, for me, my most exotic and memorable cultural experience and adventure. Tangiers, Casablanca, Fez, Meknès, and Marrakech each had unique architecture and character. The edge of the Sahara and the deserted coastline were scenes from another era.

Caravan from the Richard Frinier collection for Sunbrella®.

Caravan from the Richard Frinier collection for Sunbrella®.

When I ran low on gas, I pulled off the road into a small village. It seemed that all activities stopped, and I was surrounded by curious villagers as if I had just arrived from the future. When I unscrewed my gas cap and gestured that I wanted to buy some gas, a can appeared. They waved and cheered as I revved the engine and rode on my way.
What makes Moroccan designs different from those of other countries, in terms of their outdoor-living applications?
Frinier: In Marrakech, I stayed at the Grand Hotel, across from the Grand Plaza, in the heart of the city. The rooms had no air conditioning; rather, the walls of each room stopped short of the ceiling, where fans circulated the air. Even in June, few went outside, as the daytime temperatures are above 100 degrees. Fabric awnings and umbrellas on rooftop terraces and the water fountains in the courtyards cool many residences in the city, but it is at night that life in the city comes alive. 

What makes the Caravan collection unique?
Frinier: The Caravan collection takes its name from the camel trains that were still crossing the Sahara during my first journey to Morocco. These exotic trade routes and the nomadic life of the Bedouin tribes led to my inspiration to create this collection. My focus, in this collection, was to reinterpret the handloomed textiles woven over the past century by the Beni Ourain tribes of nomadic sheep herders.

Wool from their sheep is left natural. Wool from the black and brown sheep creates a contrast to the predominantly unbleached white fiber. These nomadic tribes (who live on the eastern slopes of the Atlas mountains) weave textiles that are almost primitive in pattern, in contrast to the bold geometrics and bright colors typically woven in Fez.

More samples of Caravan from the Richard Frinier collection for Sunbrella®.

More samples of Caravan from the Richard Frinier collection for Sunbrella®.

What makes the Caravan collection suitable for outdoor home and hospitality use?
Frinier: I believe the textural constructions, ethnic patterns, and tonal colorways are unique and add timeless and authentic styling—for both residential and hospitality environments. The fabrics have a vintage appeal, gently irregular and perfectly imperfect by design. The crafting of the original, handmade Beni Ourain tribal rugs has been passed along for generations; the rugs were popularized by Le Corbusier (Charles-Edouard Jeanneret-Gris, 1887–1965) during the Midcentury Modern architectural movement.

Architects and designers are on the lookout for a touch of the exotic. Accent pillows, ottomans, and upholstery provide the perfect effect to incorporate personality into interior and exterior design environments. 

Why was Glen Raven/Sunbrella the appropriate textile manufacturer for your collaboration on Moroccan-inspired designs?
Frinier: I have been working with Glen Raven’s Sunbrella brand for nearly three decades, and there is no finer weaver of performance fabric than Glen Raven. Aside from the authentic design motifs, textures, and colorways we were able to achieve, the durability, fade resistance, and cleanability of Sunbrella textiles is second to none. The company is simply the best at what it does.
How can these fabrics can be used in outdoor settings?
Frinier: In addition to being used for upholstery, pillows, and poufs, fabrics in the Caravan collection can enhance the outdoor room with drapery, curtains, awnings, and umbrella textiles. Patterns from this collection can be sewn into tablecloths and slipcovers. Sunbrella fabrics are perfect for indoor applications, too, as they make everyday-living items much easier to keep clean.

What plans are there for your Moroccan designs?
Frinier: The Caravan collection is currently being presented to Sunbrella’s customers. Depending on the success of the collection, more colors and additional patterns will follow. As for my interest in Moroccan crafts, I have designed collections for Dedon inspired by my adventures in Morocco, including its now classic Daydream daybed and its Marrakesh collection; both continue to be available to the trade.

In the future, there will always be a place to show my affection and inspiration, reminding me of my travels in Morocco. Being there is such a sensate experience that it really never leaves—so I can say that from time to time, the essence of my travel experiences in Morocco will appear in certain design details, when the spirit moves me or the design calls for such a unique and romantic character.