“The outdoor kitchen movement is expanding due to better-quality manufacturers entering the arena,” says Duane Draughon, owner and lead designer at VizX Design Studios, in Lisle, IL. “Every square inch of space can be used for the kitchen area.”
The new modern way to build is by layering different types of materials. In the past for outdoor projects, the same material would be used throughout. Your typical patio is just red brick. Now, designs include different colors and materials. Duane Draughon, the outdoor living designer at VizX Design Studios, explains that “walls could be built out of concrete with a wood bench, while the floor can be a porcelain tile with concrete steppers.”
The right location enhances safety and ambience. “In a commercial setting, I advise owners to keep the fire pit away from high-traffic areas where a passer-by could throw something into it and cause a flare-up,” says Duane Draughon, owner of VizX Design Studios in Chicago. “The best location is a quiet zone where people can sit back and chill.”
“The pinnacle of backyard outdoor living entertainment is to have a swimming pool, but the fastest way to lose value in a home is to install a swimming pool anywhere in the backyard without an overall design vision, because a swimming pool can make or break the value of a home,” he says. Don’t have a vision? Don’t worry! We talked with the pros to find out the latest trends in pool designs-and trust us, they’re worth doing backflips for.
“Outdoor living projects are changing in an interesting way, because past projects would… all be one material throughout,” Draughon says. (Think: A patio area consisting of only red brick pavers.) “Now we’re designing with different materials and colors,” he explains. “The walls could be built out of concrete with a wood bench, while the floor can be a porcelain tile with concrete steppers.”
When VizX Design Studios has clients who want backyard conversation starters, they give them their signature– the line of fire. The Chicago-based outdoor living design firm recently completed an impressive 16-foot-long line of fire bordering a client’s infinity pool. It may not be advisable for families with young kids or curious pets, but if heat is what you’re after, this model will emit much more than a traditional round fire pit.
Ahmed continues to operate his small business as a landscape design/build contractor in Northern California and regularly travels the country hosting workshops, speaking engagements and performing philanthropy with his group of “Sustainable Heroes.” Ahmed enlisted 3D Designer Duane Draughon of VizX Design studios and together they organized and developed Sustainable Heroes, in order to partner with other green industry professionals and support charitable organizations in building outdoor living spaces and gardening projects nationwide.
While a paver patio may add a cool and welcoming look to a backyard, it needs to be maintained. Duane Draughon, co-founder and designer at VizX Design Studios, LLC in Chicago, says home buyers should pay special attention to steps.
With support from Mystic Force Foundation, a nonprofit committed to raising awareness toward childhood cancer, Hassan, owner of Ahmed Hassan Landscape Services and TV personality for the DIY Network, and Draughon, of VizX Design Studios in Chicago, have the goal to raise $50,000 toward the project.