An outdoor oasis
Creating a Lake-living atmosphere with outdoor living spaces
When COVID struck our country last year, plans changed for many people. Jetting off to an all-inclusive resort or spending a week at Disney World were no longer options. More than ever, the stay-at-home vacation, or staycation, became the compromise. And with that came changes to their outdoor living spaces.
The emphasis was on making the outdoor space part of everyday life. This included adding outdoor kitchens, edible gardens, structures that provided outdoor privacy and protection from the weather, and products such as fire pits that extended the outdoor living season. A visually-pleasing environment that brought the indoors out became the goal.
Ronnie Gadberry, owner of Heartland Landscape Group and Southwest Stone Supply in Osage Beach, confirmed that the emphasis lately has been on creating a welcoming and useful staycation space.
“A lot of trends haven’t changed, but we do see more emphasis on the backyard and people staying home,” he explained. “Homeowners are making better utilization of the space they have and doing the projects they have been putting off.”
Ronnie’s company is a professional landscape design and build firm that employs those with specialized skills and knowledge to create outdoor landscape environments suited to the way families use their home. Established in 1996, they serve both residential and commercial clients.
“The emphasis is on backyards,” Ronnie said. “Small patios with firepits, radius walls and integrated seating are very popular right now. It seems we are always working on one of these.”
Less yard maintenance has become a need at the Lake, Ronnie explained, as people want to spend more time relaxing and engaging in water activities. Gravel or rock cover in the yard is replacing grass, and water features are enhancing the space.
“Waterfalls and stream beds have become very popular,” Ronnie said. “Bubbler rocks are also being added to add appeal to backyards.”
A bubbler rock, he explained, is a 1,500-pound boulder that is pre-drilled. It is self-contained with a pump and self circulates the water that is stored inside.
“People are looking for unusual and natural stone selections,” Ronnie said. “They want something different than what their neighbors have. And natural steps and stone are replacing older steps and railroad ties that were used for these purposes.”
John Falter specializes in landscape design and sales at Doctor’s Lawn and Landscape in Sunrise Beach. He has seen the same increase in business from those who want to create the perfect outdoor space.
“We’ve seen a significant surge in business from homeowners who want to make changes to their outdoor space,” John said. “They want to improve the appearance with plants that are low maintenance and deer resistant.”
Established in the spring of 2004, Doctor’s Lawn and Landscape provides a variety of services. In addition to new outdoor construction and landscaping, they offer lawn mowing maintenance, fertilization and weed control.
John said people are adding plants, mulch and trees to enhance the appearance of their backyards. Retaining walls, firepits, patios and water features have also been in high demand.
“We are finding people want a spot near the water that includes a patio and firepit, even if the area is small,” he said. “Natural lines with less uniformity has become popular.”
John confirmed that water features are in high demand, including streams and re-circulating pond-less water features that are low maintenance.
Faith House has a degree in architectural design and is the senior designer for Ragan Cabinets in Osage Beach. They specialize in outdoor kitchen cabinets and design to create outdoor kitchen spaces ranging from simplistic to fabulous.
“Because the Lake stayed open during the COVID shutdown, people who had second homes here began transforming them into their primary homes,” Faith explained. “We are exceptionally busy. We have cornered the outdoor kitchens poolside, on the deck and on the dock.”
Ragan Cabinets offers Brown Jordan, Danver and NatureKast brand cabinetry. The NatureKast have proven to be the most popular, and Ragan Cabinets is the only company in the area that specializes in them.
NatureKast offers 100-percent weatherproof cabinetry, panels, trim and more. Made of PVC and resin, they give the appearance of real cypress or teak. They come in a range of colors that are stained, painted or weathered finishes with a variety of door styles. The other manufacturers offer stainless-steel options.
Some of the outdoor kitchens Faith has designed would appeal to the finest of five-star chefs. In addition to the cabinetry and kitchen design, these include ice makers, pizza ovens, beverage fridges, full size refrigerators and more. Faith explained that matching television cabinets are also available which house large screen TV’s.
Although outdoor living spaces have been growing in popularity for years, the restrictions imposed by the coronavirus created an even higher demand for added space and new ideas. Being able to spend time outdoors with family became the escape people were searching for. The backyard has replaced the family yard as the place for families to make memories.