An Outdoor Oasis

American Country farm luxury house with porch.Building the perfect outdoor living space – an outdoor oasis, if you will – is an undertaking. So many have a beautiful space but lack the patience and know-how to transform it. Fortunately, we have spoken to a few of the finest purveyors and experts on such matters in Louisville. By considering their advice, attaining that perfect outdoor space – one that is both inviting and fun but also impressive – just might be easier than you think.

Lee Brick & Block.

Lee Brick & Block.

HardScapes

Lee Brick & Block supplies superior concrete block, architectural block, clay brick, cast stone, natural stone, manufactured stone and a wide variety of hardscape products to the Louisville area, and as such, it is as good a place as any to begin. Sam Hoehner is the general manager of the Louisville office: “The first thing I would say to clients is size up the area and the things they have and think, ‘What do I want to do with this space?’” Hoehner says that your goals and vision for the space are paramount. Do you see yourself really entertaining? Or do you have more modest needs, such as a simple place to enjoy with your family?

“We are a material supplier, but we have excellent relationships with installers. There’s a difference between folks who say they are installers and actual capable installers. We want to make sure that our customers are completely satisfied and able to utilize our products correctly and to their fullest extent,” says Hoehner when speaking to the services that Lee Brick & Block can uniquely offer. Hoehner also speaks excitedly of their newest product line, Rosetta: “It’s a very high-end product line, and it’s certainly not meant for every project and every budget, but it gives the client the option of a very natural stone without the expense of natural stone.”

In addition to Rosetta, Lee Brick & Block offers a vast array of hardscape products that can fit any budget, making Hoehner’s store the place to create a solid foundation for your oasis in Louisville.

landscape of floral gardening with pathway and bridge in gardenLandscaping

Another aspect of the perfect outdoor living space is landscaping. Maintaining a manicured lawn and planting some shrubbery is only the beginning, and it can be backbreaking work. That is why we spoke with Jeff Fallenstein of Landscape Solutions to get some insider tips and tricks on what plants to choose as well as some advice on selecting the right contractor. “The majority of the time, when new clients call me, they have not thought through what their plantbase will look like at maturity,” says Fallenstein. “It’s always a good idea to consider this beforehand.”

Reiterating that you should perform your own research ahead of time, Fallenstein recommends rapid growth hybrid poplar due to its being relatively inexpensive as well as skip laurel, leyland cypress, holly and arborvitae if you’re looking for privacy.

Similar to Sam Hoehner from Lee Brick & Block, Fallenstein cautions against hiring just anyone as your contractor: “How long have they been in business? Do they have referrals and images of projects completed? Always ask for a timeline on your project.” These are just a few of Fallenstein’s words of wisdom. “A company that cannot afford to purchase materials for your landscaping should send a red flag. Do expect a credible contractor to ask for a deposit on the project though.  Good-faith down payments show your contractor you are serious about the bid,” advises Fallenstein. This advice is certainly welcome although ultimately unnecessary if you make the decision to employ Landscape Solutions for your project this summer.

Photo courtesy of Carriage House Interiors.

Photo courtesy of Carriage House Interiors.

Outdoor Furniture

Your foundation is laid, and you now have a lovely framework of greenery. Now it’s time to populate this new space with some equally exquisite outdoor furniture. Carriage House Interiors is more than a furniture store, however. In addition to their designer furniture, Carriage House also retains eight interior designers on staff. They provide complimentary interior design services to clients buying through their store.

Something that customers easily forget is that the outdoor living space is meant to be lived in. The furniture you fill it with has to be comfortable, so it is important to spend significant time finding pieces that are just right. Be selective and actually sit on the furniture to test it out. That way, you will ensure that it’s what you’re looking for. Another recommendation is to be certain to find all-weather outdoor furniture pieces. The money saved on furniture replacement and maintenance over time can add up to a small fortune. Be sure to look for furniture made with wicker, cedar, metal or teak. You’ll also want to add ample storage to your outdoor space. Some types of furniture double as a place for storage such as ottomans and benches.

Meredith Gregory, one of the designers at Carriage House, recommends the new Tommy Bahama outdoor furniture line: “While the brand denotes a high-end lifestyle, the furniture is low maintenance. The all-weather fabrics require almost no effort and can be left outside year round. The Tommy Bahama line is meant to be a natural extension of indoor living and provide a second living room that looks just as nice as indoor furniture.”

With Carriage House on your side, it’ll be easy to find the perfect balance of fashion and function that your dream outdoor living space requires.

Photo courtesy of The Bath & Outdoor Store.

Photo courtesy of The Bath & Outdoor Store.

Hot tubs and saunas

A dream oasis is not complete without some extra bells and whistles, and The Bath & Outdoor Store, formerly Covenant Industries, offers the pièce de résistance: hot tubs and saunas. Larry Riddell is the president of The Bath & Outdoor Store and details how exactly they have come to the forefront of the field in Louisville: “Primarily, we sell bathtubs. We manufactured those from scratch for the last 20 years, but we recently got out of that and now order the tubs from Tennessee. We do, however, custom-plumb the tubs as that is something that is beyond most clients.” Indeed, that is the trickiest part of owning and maintaining outdoor water fixtures.

The Bath & Outdoor Store carries high-end hot tub and sauna products. “The Caldera and Hot Springs brands are some of the best in the world,” explains Riddell. “We offer infrared as well as traditional rock saunas. Commercial as well as residential.” Suffice it to say, Riddell is well-versed and has seen it all. Consequently, his employees are just as fastidiously trained, and if you utilize the services of The Bath & Outdoor Store, your outdoor living space will have all the fixtures to make it a true oasis.

Creating that oasis may be challenging, but it is a wonderful place to enjoy with friends and family members. Listen to the advice given here or conduct some research of your own. Whatever you do, use every ounce of creativity you possess, and you will soon make your dreams of idle summer afternoons a reality. VT