If you get the feeling your backyard oasis could be more attractive, you’re not alone – especially as we continue to spend more time relaxing and entertaining at home. A few smart spruce-ups can do wonders for your home’s curb appeal and comfort level.
“We do many different types of landscaping, but the most popular is the outdoor living area where families can entertain,” says Joe Runde, owner of Runde’s Landscape Contractors in Elgin. “We tend to do more patios and walkways. Creative entrances are very popular.”
When it comes to designing that entertainment space, cozy is most desirable. Many homeowners are going for firepits where family can cuddle up and seating areas where they can gather over drinks and dinner. In particular, Runde finds his clients want three things: a wow factor, low maintenance and results that fit their budget.
For a true wow factor, Runde recommends smoother stone finishes such as Beacon Hill, by Unilock. These interlocking pavers come in three rectangular shapes, and their sharp lines make for a more contemporary look. Their smoothness is visually clean and easy on bare feet.
Low-maintenance products are especially popular, and Runde relies on an installation system that greatly reduces the time and expense of maintaining a patio. The “gator base” installation system uses a 1-inch foam base set directly under the pavers. It’s less labor-intensive than the traditional gravel base, Runde says, and it’s designed to better withstand the freeze/thaw cycle that hits every Midwestern patio come winter.
“It helps control ants and weeds, and it keeps the outside edges looking clean,” Runde says.
There are plenty of add-ons that can make any outdoor space shine – pergolas, pavilions, built-in planters, TV walls – but our budgets often keep us grounded. Runde encourages his clients to do their homework before sitting down with a designer, so they’ll understand what’s possible. His website, rundes.com, is filled with creative ideas.
“My job is to massage your ideas into something that feels pulled-together and relaxing,” he says. ❚
Runde’s Landscape Contractors is located at 9N299 Ill. Rt. 47, in Elgin, (847) 464-5056.