5 Hardscaping Features for Fall

Modern-day outdoor design is no longer just about a carefully curated arrangement of plants and flowers. It's also about how homeowners can enhance, protect, and enjoy those natural adornments year-round. Where those two aspects meet is known as hardscaping.

Outdoor kitchen by C&M Residential Services

Modern-day outdoor design is no longer just about a carefully curated arrangement of plants and flowers. It's also about how homeowners can enhance, protect, and enjoy those natural adornments year-round. Where those two aspects meet is known as hardscaping. 

Explains one of Georgia's leading exterior design and architecture companies, C&M Residential Services: "Hardscaping elements balance the landscape, anchor the eye, and provide practical [and aesthetic] benefits."

As summer nears its end, we've asked the C&M experts to shed light on the top 5 hardscaping features of the perfect fall, alfresco retreat:

1. Comfort Zone & Outdoor Kitchen

Comfort zone by C&M Residential Services 

The C&M team notes: "When summer ends, tailgate season starts." Enter: the "comfort zone," a partially or fully enclosed structure (think: screened-in patio, deck-top pavilion, pergola, or garage-turned-casita) that draws the outside world in, while keeping the rain and hunger -- out. It's Hugge meets hoedown, a cozy, entertainment-ready space with comfortable seating, wireless connection, television tuned to ESPN, and above all, a fully integrated kitchen to keep the grill hot even as temperatures outside get cold.

C&M notes the top three elements of a proper outdoor kitchen: open layout, fully equipped to eliminate trips back-and-forth to/from the main house, and adequately lit. Consider which areas of the yard have tripping hazards, which places may be security risks, and which landscape features you’d like to emphasize.

How can I be energy efficient? Homeowners can conserve energy (and decrease their monthly bills) by using lighting timers, choosing LED landscape lighting, and being judicious when designing their exterior lighting.

2. A Fire Feature

C&M Residential Services 

The piece de-resistance of the fall comfort zone is the fire pit, identified by Boston Globe as the number one outdoor design element of 2017. Propane, log, or dual-powered, C&M breaks down the many available options and styles:

  • Portable: Simple, low-maintenance, and light-weight option allows you to take the fire pit out when you want to use it, and tuck it away when you don’t. Think: Fire bowls, tables, planters, woks, troughs; chimeneas, gabions, patio heaters, and "hot boxes."

  • Permanent fire pits: Immobile, more expensive units which become integral to your outdoor landscape. These fire pits are often set into the ground of an already existing paver patio, deck, backyard – or built into a retaining wall, terrace, or fence.

  • Above-ground fire pits: General measurement: 12-18 inches high by 3-5 feet across, with a 12-inch thick perimeter. Depending on your budget or blue-print, above-ground pits can be a great D.I.Y. weekend project – or the work of a professional landscape designer.

  • Underground fire pits: Built into the surface of an already existing paver patio, pool deck, grass backyard, pavilion, and on. This is the most cost-prohibitive option. And where money is no question, the fire pit world is your (chargrilled) oyster.

3. Retaining Walls

C&M Residential Services 

A favorite fall hardscaping feature is the retaining wall, desired for its dual role as a functional barrier and eye-catching focal point of any outdoor living space: Here, C&M lists these compelling benefits:

  • Provides structural support to keep the soil in place
  • Prevents sink holes and conceals the unattractive visual from dirt piles from other landscaping and outdoor renovation projects
  • Helps prevent flooding
  • Decreases the amount of yard maintenance necessary
  • Protects waterways from fertilizers, petroleum, and pesticides leaching into sewers from soil
  • Creates a dramatic, high-impact entrance to a home, thus increasing its curb appeal
  • Frames different areas of a backyard into specific units
  • Affords privacy from neighbors
  • For small backyards built into steep hillsides, retaining walls carve out more livable space for entertaining, gardening, sports, and so on

Homeowners can choose from any number of materials to suit their specific budgetary, and stylistic needs, such as:

  • Modular Concrete Blocks: Known as SRW's, or segmented retaining walls. These are high-quality, man-made, pre-cast concrete blocks. Recommended for gravity wall structures of four feet in height or below.
  • Natural Stone: It's hard to contest the beauty and grandeur of natural stone veneers. From bluestone to quartz, fieldstone to flagstone, the options are plenty.
  • Poured Concrete: A uniform concrete slab is poured, dyed, and molded into any desired shape. This option is popular for modern designs; those seeking clean, contemporary lines. Great for high walls.
  • Brick: Create the design of your choice, from classic running board to elaborate herringbone
  • Timber: This is the most common choice for D.I.Y.'ers due to its simple installation.
  • Gabion: Woven cages made of sturdy, galvanized stainless steel. Generally, quite wide, and filled with any sort of recycled organic material: concrete blocks, broken bricks, timber, basalt rocks, and so on.

 4. Pool Remodel 

C&M Residential Services 

 The​ ​ultimate​ ​complement​ ​to​ ​the​ ​fire​ ​feature​ ​of​ ​fall’s​ ​outdoor​ ​landscape​ ​is​ ​a​ ​water​ ​feature,​ ​namely​ ​a pool​ ​customized​ ​for​ ​cooler​ ​weather.​ ​Examples: 

  • A​ ​gorgeous​ ​masonry​ ​deck​ ​laid​ ​with​ ​the​ ​material​ ​of​ ​your​ ​choice:​ ​brick;​ ​natural​ ​slate,​ ​travertine, limestone​ ​and​ ​flagstone;​ ​concrete​ ​pavers;​ ​wood;​ ​and​ ​stamped​ ​concrete.​ ​Then​ ​adorn​ ​said​ ​deck with​ ​easy-to-use​ ​propane​ ​heaters
  • An​ ​elevated​ ​hot​ ​tub​ ​with​ ​a​ ​vanishing​ ​edge​ ​or​ ​perimeter​ ​overflow​ ​cascading​ ​into​ ​the​ ​water​ ​below
  • Gorgeous​ ​glass,​ ​stone​ ​or​ ​ceramic​ ​tile-lined​ ​interior​ ​laid​ ​in​ ​geometric​ ​patterns​ ​and​ ​shapes, projecting​ ​beautiful​ ​reflections​ ​in​ ​the​ ​geothermal​ ​or​ ​solar​ ​heated​ ​water

5. Garden Areas

C&M Residential Services 

The centerpiece of the modern outdoor living space is the home garden. And, just because the temperatures are falling, doesn't mean you can't continue to enjoy fresh food from your own backyard via countless fall and winter produce; such as broccoli to Brussels, spinach to sage, chard and chives.

Plus, the garden is the perfect space to get creative with Pinterest-worthy, upcycled materials, like a mix-match selection of antique, salvaged furniture that already wear the patina of time and age with grace.

With fall quickly upon us, consult the pros at C&M Residential Services to realize your perfect vision of a low-maintenance, highly-rewarding outdoor living oasis.


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C&M Residential Services Inc.
(770) 884-7363

Business overview

C & M Residential Services, Inc. has been providing quality contracting services in Metro Atlanta and all throughout Marietta since 1991. Our services have expanded over the years and now include landscape architecture, design and consulting, landscape installation, full service maintenance, drainage and storm water...

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