Jun 08 2015

Tabby Concrete, a mixture of shells, water, lime, and concrete mix, is becoming widely popular throughout Southwest Florida.  With a more transitional appearance and affordable price, it is being used on projects of all types and sizes.  The use of Tabby Concrete dates back to the 16th century and likely developed from Spanish architecture.  This material can be seen throughout Georgia and South Carolina although it is primarily oyster shells, whereas Florida is typically mixed shell.  

Tabby Concrete is a great option for both driveways and pool decks!  The light color concrete stays relatively cool on hot days, while the shells provide visual interest.  Unlike traditional tabby, the shells are mixed in throughout the concrete and then sanded to create an even surface.  Photographed above, Tabby Concrete combined with precast borders gives off a fun Florida vibe. 



Tabby Drive                                 Tabby Close Up                       Tabby Drive and Walks



Photographs: Outside Productions, Inc. 

May 18 2015

The mixture of hardscape and turf is a fun trend becoming widely used throughout Southwest Florida.  Stepping stones mixed with turf is a good way to integrate greenery into an otherwise hardscape-heavy area.  The mixture of materials makes the hardscape area seem less vast and helps unite it with the plant material.  There is a great amount of flexibility with this feature: use of various types of pavers, large or small bands of turf, and, when using faux turf, the ability to locate the area anywhere on site (even in shade). Faux turf is a great alternative for homeowners who would like little or no maintenance.  In the image above, this Estuary residence uses the stepping stone and real turf deck as a sunning deck.  Unlike a solid hardscape deck, the combination of turf and stone helps keep microclimate temperatures lower.  

This trend can also be used for driveways and parking! Turf pavers are being used more often not only for commercial but also residential projects.  Allowing for better surface drainage, they are a great option for subtly bringing sustainability into the landscape. The image below shows a project in Old Naples that used all turf pavers for the front drive and guest parking. 

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Apr 28 2015

     A recent survey completed by the American Society of Landscape Architects came back with surprisng results about what is trending in residential landscape architecture.  While designs incorporating native and drought-tolerant plants topped the list, design elements such as fire pits and outdoor grills were not far behind.  Nearly 78% of the survey respondants said that they expect to regularly include fire pits in their designs, while nationwide only 40% expect to design spas for most clients. 

Fire pits, if placed in a key location can not only function as a social gathering spot, but can also provide aesthetic appeal.  When chosen properly, fire pits are safe for families with small children and can be used for everything from warming up on a chilly evening to cooking s'mores with the family.   At Outside Productions, Inc., we have noticed an increase in fire pit design not only on residential, but also on multi-family projects.

To successfully select a fire pit it is important to consider the following factors: 

- Dimensions: typically fire pits are 30"-60" in diameter, but it is important to select the best size for each unique space.  Another important dimension to consider is the height of the fire pit.  Raised fire pits tend to be a safer choice for families with small children or curious pets.  

- Material: fire pits come in many forms.  Prefabricated, stone finished, or even copper finished fire pits can either be purchased from retail stores or custom designed based on client needs.  Choice of material should be based on aethetics, cost, and desired fire pit mobility. 



Pictured above is a raised, 48" square, concrete fire pit.   

For more information on the ASLA trends survey see: http://www.asla.org/NewsReleaseDetails.aspx?id=46048