The Greater Outdoors: 3 Ways to Build a Lifestyle Patio by EP Henry

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Enhancing a plain patio can make a good outdoor space great.

Enhancing a plain patio can make a good outdoor space great.

“The Great Outdoors” isn’t just a saying; it’s a way of life. Spending time with family and friends out in the open air is one of life’s best benefits. Designing a patio that entices people to spend time outdoors can be as simple as including a few creature comforts. These are the same relaxing elements found indoors. Here are a few crowd pleasers that families cite as fundamental additions to their patios.

Fire pits and fireplaces

From the very basic bowl fire pit to a breathtaking built-in fireplace, a fire element is always a welcoming feature of an outdoor room. Roasting marshmallows over a fire is one of the simplest pleasures of any camping trip, and recreating that great outdoors experience at home can be as simple as setting up a s’mores station and lighting up a small fire in your fire pit. An outdoor fireplace is a wonderful extension of that feeling. An outdoor living room complete with a fireplace is one of the best ways to add year-round use to a patio. Heating elements like kerosene warmers can also be used to get more nights outside when the cooler weather sets in, but a built-in fireplace is a year-round joy.

Patio sets

Weather-resistant furniture that is comfortable and easily arranged is important for an accessible and inviting patio space. As more homeowners seek to build an extra room out of their patio space, more furniture options have become available. A basic patio set is two lounge chairs and a low table, but upright chairs, hammocks, macrame seats, wicker beach chairs and more are stylish and functional options for today’s outdoor lifestyle. A main tip the experts give to homeowners is to invest in pieces that are comfortable and easily maintained. While some furniture may look stunning, it won’t get used if it isn’t pleasant to sit in.

Outdoor kitchens

An outdoor kitchen is the ultimate “great outdoors” element. A patio becomes a true extension of the home when it has a place to store and prepare foods. Built-in elements like grills, refrigerators and sinks raise the level of entertaining potential. A kitchen designer working with a landscape company can analyze the family’s workflow to plan an outdoor kitchen that will serve its needs. Electricity, counter space, cooking and refrigeration factor into the design of the space.

Open-air kitchens are often free-standing and without walls, providing access to counters from both sides. Wide and easily accessible counter space allows for setting up catering trays and s’more stations for patio parties. A pergola or other shelter can be constructed for the kitchen, but there are plenty of hearty, outdoor cabinetry and counter materials like concrete pavers and wall blocks and tile countertops that are manufactured specifically for outdoor kitchens. Being able to store, prepare, cook and eat meals outside truly is the best way to enjoy the outdoors with family, neighbors and guests.

A plain patio is a good feature in a landscape, but it becomes a home addition when fire, cooking, water and furniture elements are installed. The great outdoors has always been waiting in our own backyards.

About EP Henry®

EP Henry®, the oldest American family-owned and operated manufacturer of unit concrete products in North America, provides the highest quality and broadest product offerings in Hardscaping(™). Based in Woodbury, New Jersey, EP Henry manufactures a wide range of paving stone and retaining wall products, including permeable pavers which are a best management practice (BMP) for stormwater management. EP Henry also offers beautiful patio pavers, outdoor kitchen kits, garden wall solutions and more. For more information on EP Henry Hardscaping products, visit or call 800-44-HENRY (800-444-3679).

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Jennifer Caviness
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Ron Resnikoff
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