Archive for the Exterior Hardscaping Category

Small Yard Design Ideas

small yard design ideaAs we all know outdoor living space is precious, especially in urban settings.  When the amount of space you have is an issue, but the need to enjoy the outdoors is paramount, you must work with what you have to achieve maximum results.  Getting creative with your yard will help you utilize the most of your space and create that outdoor living area where you and your friends and family can enjoy for years to come.  Here are some ways to make that small space appear large and inviting.

Utilize Every Inch

Making the most of your yard means using every available inch.  Now this does not necessarily mean making the entire yard usable, but by having a creative combination of living and viewing space your yard will seem larger.  Use stonework, decks, and pathways to create clearly defined space.  Separation also creates the illusion of more space and will add to the overall aesthetic appeal of the yard.

Get Vertical

Using vertical lines and accents creates the illusion of space.  It also allows you to have potted plants where normally you wouldn’t be able to.  Just be careful when watering them, as wet soil can stain siding.  Plant small shrubs, or trim trees so they complement the space, not consume it.  Accent walls help divide the space as well as provide a side table or potting bed.


Perhaps the best way to make your small yard seem bigger is to utilize perspective.  Constructing a pathway either down the middle of your at an angle, or straight with a vine-covered pergola will create a vanishing point that will make your yard seem to go on forever!

Innovative Deck Designs

One of the more popular home remodeling upgrades being made these days is the addition of a deck.  A deck is often times preferred to a patio because it can be more attractive, take advantage of a view, and/or work with the existing topography of the yard.  Consider using an eco-friendly wood that has been reclaimed or sustainably harvested in order to minimize environmental impact.  Here are a few deck designs to consider:

attached deck


The most basic and common type of deck is the attached deck.  An attached deck is much like a patio, except it is wooden and slightly raised.  Often times it will serve as not only an enjoyable outdoor living space, but as a pathway connecting exterior doors of an L-shaped house.





detached deck



The advantage of a detached deck is that it can be positioned anywhere on the property and take advantage of a sizable yard.  This type of deck allows you to have some privacy and seclusion when creating your outdoor space, and can work well with the exiting topography of your yard.

multilevel deck






If your property has a sloping elevation, a multi-level deck may be your answer.  It can lead gradually down to a grassy or wooded area, putting you right in the middle of the outdoors for maximum enjoyment.



sideyard deck




An often overlooked part of the yard, the side-yard is prone to disarray and neglect.  Especially in urban settings, it’s important to use every part of your home and yard to maximize living space.  Your side-yard can be a nice private off-shoot from a side bedroom or a cozy eating area next to the kitchen.  Don’t neglect this space, make it useful instead, you’re paying for it!


Trends in Deck Design

Deck design has come a long way in recent years.  Now an extension of the indoor living space, decks are built to flow straight from a room in the house to the great outdoors.  Deck construction is expected to grow by 2.4% a year until 2016, peaking at a value of $5.7 billion.  Real wood is still the most popular material, but due to technological advances in materials, composite wood is on the rise.  High design is now becoming affordable for budget minded consumers.

deck with treeThese days deck designers are reaching deep in their back pockets for ideas, including mixing styles and materials on the      same deck!  They are integrating the topography of the existing land into the deck, creating a natural, organic feel.  Because of this we are seeing a partnership with the landscaper.  This partnership helps create a harmonious outdoor space that your family can enjoy for years to come without having to worry about trees blocking your new deck view, but instead integrating them into the design, taking full advantage of their structural value.

As I mentioned before, indoor living is flowing into outdoor living.  Decks are an extension of the home, and people are seeking the same comfort outside as they would have in their living room.  This presents unique challenges as well as exciting results.  Decks these days are bridging the gap between a sunroom and a completely outdoor space with permanent shade structures, luxurious cushion furniture, and built-in kitchen/BBQ areas.

Who doesn’t love to entertain in the privacy and comfort of their own home?  As more and more people move to southern climates with mild nights, the need to use the outdoor space at night increases.  Because of this, lighting has become a fixture in deck installation; the single flood light just doesn’t cut it anymore.  Some designs feature inlaid recessed lighting in the boards, post lights, and lights in the rails.

Tip Top Builders will design and build a custom deck for your home.