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Design your dream patio with these pro tips.
Now, more than ever, our homes are our havens—where we work, create and relax. And with so much time being spent in our residential spaces, making the decision to bring your dream outdoor kitchen to life has never been easier. From standalone grills with pops of color to built-in outdoor kitchens with cozy dining areas, there are many ways to add personality and functionality to your backyard.
Where should you start first? Begin by evaluating your space and goals with the help of an expert. We recently spoke with outdoor patio designer Candace Nordquist of Candace Nordquist Interiors and builder Robert Greaves of USI about everything from patio trends to must-have grill features. Whether you’re building your outdoor space from scratch or using elements already in place, keep these pro tips in mind as you get started on your backyard retreat!
What inspires you as a designer/builder?
CD: Extending and connecting our living spaces from the interior to the outdoors encourages entertaining and family gathering. It’s good for us all to connect with nature!
RG: To give the customer an outdoor living experience they will love for years to come.
What should someone take into consideration when renovating their outdoor living space?
CD: There is so much to consider! How will you use the space? Then, set priorities and map out zones for each.
RG: First, create a budget for the project. Also, knowing how the space will be used is important.
What are things someone can immediately do to make an outdoor patio space more functional and inviting?
CD: Decorating is probably the easiest way. Adding comfortable furniture, some pillows, accessories and a rug to connect it all.
RG: General maintenance, such as: pressure washing, cleaning, weeding, sealing hard surfaces and planting. Also, adding a fire bowl and furniture, brightly colored accessories, paver blocks—or even a hot tub.
Which outdoor design trends do you feel are making an impact in 2020?
CD: Covered outdoor spaces. They allow for more use year-round, whether it’s keeping you dry from the rain or if you are in need of some shade on a hot day.
Garden-type outdoor rooms. My clients want to be cocooned in nature, especially in urban settings where neighbors may be very close.
Outdoor kitchens with all of the appliances and fixtures you would find in the main house kitchen.
RG: Exposed beams, faux beams and flat roof structures, and also more deck space (using composite surfaces rather than wood). Outdoor spaces that require low maintenance are trending, as well as colored grills for a pop of color. I’m seeing more outdoor kitchen surrounds covered in tile and smooth surfaces to create a clean look. Also, LED lights under countertops, in the roof structure and in the stairs are becoming popular.
What should someone keep in mind when wanting to incorporate color into their outdoor appliances? Which Hestan colors do you feel will be purchased most this summer?
CD: Pops of color can make a big impact. Blues like Prince and Bora Bora can be used on waterfront properties, since they connect to the water. I also think Citra is gorgeous!
RG: I’d recommend that color be used as an accent. It’s also important to choose a color that complements the space.
The grill is the heart of the patio. What do you look for in a grill when you’re adding one to a design project?
CD: Good design, infrared burners and LED lighting! I also like a spring-assisted hood.
RG: Many questions should be asked. Does the client want a built-in grill and outdoor kitchen space, or a standalone grill? How will the grill be used? How many people will they be cooking for? Do they smoke meat, and would they use a rotisserie? Do they need an additional side burner or power burner for high-heat cooking?
What would you say to a client who is choosing between an outdoor kitchen, versus a stand-alone grill—and what impact does each have on an outdoor space?
CD: The outdoor kitchen is an extension of the indoor kitchen and should be planned as such. It’s a space for entertaining, gathering and connecting to the outdoors. Much greater planning is needed, so hire a professional to guide you! A stand-alone grill has less visual impact but may be needed due to space constraints or budget.
RG: An outdoor kitchen adds value to your home and can be seen as a status symbol. Your family and guests can cook with you rather than away from you, and it creates an outdoor experience. A stand-alone grill is a quick addition to the space and doesn’t require a great deal of planning.
Candace Nordquist, CKD, CLIPP