There is something to be said about meandering around at uppity cocktail parties, fund-raisers, and other social events where "working the room", so to speak, adds to the rewards to be gained by hosts and their guests. In the same vein, an outdoor room should provide similar latitude for friends and family to circulate while taking in fresh air, enjoying festivities and fostering camaraderie. That being said, no outdoor room is complete without casual seating for the perfect respite and close conversation.
It may be comforting to know that when planning your patio space or outdoor living room that you can say goodbye to storing much of your seasonal furniture in favor of casual seating options that utilize manufactured hardscape materials. Look for products and applications from brand names such as Cambridge, makers of Cambridge Pavingstones with ArmorTec®, Cambridge Wall Systems and sundry patio amenities. These alternatives to conventional store-bought products offer 4-season durability and ready-to-use functionality. For example, you can stay ahead of the curve by surrounding a Cambridge fully-assembled fire table or a stylish pre-packaged fire pit with a custom designed, semi-circular wall with bench seating made of color-coordinated Cambridge Wallstones and wall caps. Cambridge Wallstones, which come in many styles and configurations, can be arranged with courses in a lower profile to also accommodate perimeter patio seating while also defining areas of the patio or outside room.
A “domino wall” is another technique used to create an informal, seating option around perimeters while also giving a unique, airy appearance. To accomplish this graceful design, Cambridge Olde English Wall™ units are placed vertically with spaces left between the wallstones. The stretch of “domino” wall, which can follow a straight, curved or serpentine flow can be capped with Olde English Wall™ units for on-demand seating. The style of wallstone offers the distinctive look of naturally aged stone to blend with historic, vintage and contemporary landscapes. The wall system can be complemented by Olde English™ pavers and outdoor living room components for a truly well-planned and cohesive landscape and patio. The “domino” wall approach and other wall system applications are covered in a Contractor’s Handbook published by Cambridge and available to professional installers from authorized Cambridge distributors or online at cambridgepavers.com.
For a built-in look, recessed benches made of wall units can be notched between Cambridge Columns and placed independently or intermittently along straight sections of a perimeter wall. Built-in bench seating is also particularly pleasing in more private, garden settings. Seat options include Cast Stone Steps, which are available in 48 or 72-inch lengths, Cambridge Cast Stone pieces or Cambridge 6 x 12 Bullnose with 6 x 6 pavers from The RoundTable Collection, The KingsCourt Collection or The Renaissance Collection — each providing subtle style changes.
If sitting around a fire, casual patio dining or gathering at an outside refreshment bar strikes your fancy, look into a Cambridge Outdoor Fireplace, Cambridge Patio Pub & Bistro Table and Bar Module and inquire about Cambridge Pre-cut/Pre-packaged Kits and fully-assembled models, which can cut down installation time and trim down project costs.
Before beginning a project, it is best to see a drawing that illustrates the full spectrum of the venture. Renderings illustrating applications of all Cambridge products in choices of standard Cambridge colors can be prepared by a landscape architect, your contractor, or a Cambridge Distributor who can create the artistic, digital portrayals of your personalized project on-the-spot using proprietary Cambridge DesignScape Visualizer™ software. All that is needed is a digital photo of the area around your home. Within a few minutes, you’ll have professional looking, computer-generated renderings with “before and after” views.
Before you can say “Let the fun begin”, family and friends will be amazed at how, with the help of a hardscape professional, you have turned the great outdoors into a grand experience.
About the writer:
Charles H. Gamarekian is the Chairman/CEO of Cambridge Pavers Inc. He is one of the founders and a current board member of the Interlocking Pavement Institute. Organized in 1993, ICPI is the North American trade association representing the interlocking concrete paver industry and considered by peer associations around the world as the leader in development and dissemination of technical information for design professionals and contractors. Mr. Gamarekian is recognized worldwide as an expert in his field and is a frequent speaker on the proper installation of pavingstones, wallstones and many outdoor living products.