Update Your Patio

Who hasn’t looked out their window and imagined a backyard oasis? Instead you see a concrete patio that just doesn’t cut it anymore and a grill that looks sad and rusted.
Your kids take friends anywhere but out and even the dog begs to come inside. Oh the tragedy of all that wasted living space…but where to get started?
That’s where professionals like BPI Outdoor Living come in. According to President J.D. Durst, landscape design is one business the sluggish economy hasn’t hurt. “People haven’t moved as often so they’re apt to reinvest in the home they own. By improving the function and aesthetics of any size property – from zero lot line to several acres – owners can significantly enhance its value and enjoyment.”
After years of experience, J.D. has worked with many different clients. Some know exactly what they want while others are less sure. “Our initial meeting is a process of discovery where we take a look at the property and evaluate the client’s wish list. Is their vision feasible in relation to the site? And how much do they want to invest? From there we develop a plan that creates a unique solution to meet that client’s needs, desires and budget.”
Design is the operative word in this equation. J.D. graduated from Purdue with a degree in landscape architecture, so BPI’s projects entail much more than just landscaping. “Each project has a different scale. Elements should fit the home as well as the contours of the land. You can have great ideas but if they are out of proportion or awkwardly situated then the entire project is compromised.”
We’ve all been witness to backyard renovations that look like theme parks; not exactly what most of us envision…
So what tops today’s wish list? J.D. feels that the majority of clients he sees want to enjoy “inside conveniences outside. Outdoor kitchens are very important with refrigerators, trash compactors, stoves, blenders and bars– you name it and we’ve installed it. I’d say that requests for living spaces like this have gone from two out of ten clients to eight out of ten, just over the last decade. “
Then of course there are water and fire features. Do they continue to be as popular? “A water element such as a brook or fountain is not just pretty and easy to enjoy; it also acts as a screen for noise. Whether you’re in a zero lot line community or next to a busy road, moving water can make you feel like you’re in the country. Fire, on the other hand, creates a dramatic gathering and focal point and actually increases the amount of time you’re able to spend outdoors. I can’t even say that fire pits and fireplaces qualify as trends; these are structures that have become classics.”
J.D. notes another critical element that should not be overlooked is lighting. “It extends the yard’s usability and is hugely important for security too. To create ambience we take a multi-faceted approach with uplighting, moonlighting and path lights, all of which add to outdoor comfort and safety.”
What about materials today; how have they changed? “Pavers are the fastest growing trend for patios and driveways. Individual pieces are better able to move with freezing and thawing cycles, so you don’t get the cracks you see in old concrete surfaces. This last winter is a case in point; look at our roads. Pavers are made to move and they’re available in all kinds of sizes and shades. The results can be stunning.”
After imagining the possibilities, I’m ready to get my own backyard going. How long does the process take? After the initial on-site consultation, J.D. says to expect about three weeks to come up with a design and another week to choose materials based on budget and aesthetics. Ordering and installation can range from one week to one month depending on the project’s scale. And the calendar is a factor too. There can be an 8 to 12 week backlog if you wait until the busy spring and summer season.
All the more reason to jump start patio plans now; warm weather is too nice to waste indoors.
J.D. Durst, President
BPI Outdoor Living