Tag Archives: Outdoor Dining

Outdoor Kitchen – Allentown PA

outdoor kitchen
outdoor kitchen, pavilion, paver patio

The term ‘outdoor living’ is thrown around by people to describe all sorts of exterior projects. An outdoor kitchen in Allentown Landscape company projects can be a key ingredient. I visited a project that may be the ultimate in outdoor living and entertaining. I walked out the back door into a roof covered deck space with an extensive outdoor kitchen on one side and a full bar on another side. From the deck I walked down to a patio with a fireplace and seating walls. This was a truly on of a kind outdoor living space that seemed to have all the possible bells and whistles.

I was first stuck by the quality of the construction materials and the design details. The decking is an exotic Brazilian hardwood called Ipe. Ipe is used to wrap all the framing for the roof and any trim pieces. The bar sheathing is Ipe installed horizontally on the walls. The stainless steel cable railings are sharp details that make a complimentary contrast to the dark woods. The ceiling is vaulted with a tongue and groove pine. The deck appears to be built on a natural stone foundation. Stone is carried up to four feet above the deck floor making a privacy wall on one side. The bar roof area has a standing seem copper roof, and all of the gutters and downspouts are copper. This mix of quality materials made a classic, contemporary design feel and look.

The outdoor kitchen is extensive including a natural gas  grill, a single side burner, storage cabinets, a refrigerator and a warming drawer. The countertop is a polished bluestone that blends beautifully with the natural stone facings on the side and back wall. On the opposite side of the deck, a bar includes a full sink, icemaker, food refrigerator, beverage refrigerator, utility drawers and cabinets. The bar countertop is a buffed stainless steel surface that ties into the stainless steel footrest. The flat screen outdoor television is in full viewing from the bar.

This space is designed for all season use day and night. Being covered, it is protected from the elements. Commercial grade heaters in the ceilings made the space very comfortable even at 40 degrees or less. Ceiling fans help keep the summer air moving to cool the space. Extensive lighting design brightens the entire space. The ceiling holds recessed lighting and pendant lights hang over the bar. Perhaps the most innovative lighting is the LED strip lights under all of the counter edges. These lights illuminate the faces of the kitchen and the bar, and cast soft light into the surrounding areas. Some LED lighting can be rather cold and white, but these were the warm yellow variety and cast a soft mood into the surrounding materials.

A custom natural stone fireplace is oriented adjacent to the deck, oriented to be experienced throughout the outdoor spaces. Natural stone seatwalls on either side help to ground the fireplace while providing some casual seating. A water feature has cooper channels built into the exterior deck walls that pour into a gravel basin with a soothing background sound.

Even though this project was recently completed, the large trees that were installed make it feel like it has been there for a while. Up lighting on the tress make for a dramatic effect and reflect light into the surrounding landscape so it can be appreciated in the evening. Path lights and wall lights complete the landscape lighting and extend uses into the evenings.

I’ve visited a number of great outdoor living projects, but this one takes the term ‘outdoor living’ to the extreme. It seems to have every bell and whistle a family could want. The material choices are exquisite quality, the design details are unique, and the craftsmanship is top notch.

A review of the Mid-Atlantic Hardscape Trade Show MAHTS 2014 – Sponsored by EP Henry

Outdoor Kitchen & Patio with EP Henry Pavers,
Outdoor Kitchen & Patio with EP Henry Pavers,

EP Henry Incorporated sponsored the Mid-Atlantic Hardscape Trade Show (MAHTS) in Atlantic City, NJ from February 11-13. The trade show offers a wide range of educational seminars tailored to hardscape installation crews, landscape designers and landscape company managers. Approximately fifty vendors attend and set up trade show booths to promote their products.

Much of the show is a marketing platform for EP Henry products. EP Henry paver and wall system products were some of the earliest available in the industry. Though an early innovator, EP Henry products have not kept up in aesthetic appeal when compared to other producers such as CST, Techo-Bloc or Unilock. It seems they have realized this in the last few years and made some positive advancement in both the colors and the styles of the product. In wall systems they have added the 3-length Coventry wall which allows for a variety of block sizes and a much more dynamic character. The 3 piece modular, the Cobblestone & the Bristol Stone are paver systems with an end product that has a character at the higher aesthetic and quality end for paver installations. EP Henry still produces the Coventry paver lines, which for many people look unattractive and outdated. Overall, I see EP Henry moving in good directions. It is not my first choice, but if a client asks for the product I have and will continue to use it.

The vendor line up at the show is limited overall. Focus Industries was there with a display of landscape lighting products. I’ve known these guys for a few years and like the products. Focus Lighting has a wide range of budget oriented LED landscape lighting products. The ratio of quality to price is outstanding and I especially like the Small Ledge LED light (SL-42). Ray Murray Incorporated was there with outdoor kitchen product displays. I have worked with them on FireMagic and Twin Eagles brand orders in the past. The Twin Eagles is an outstanding grill with a very positive price to quality ratio. The company was started by an innovator who helped develop some of the better known company products over the years and recently started his own venture. All products are made in the USA. Aquarius Irrigation was at the show presenting a wide range of products for water features. The aqua bloc system is always a show stopper for an efficient approach to building pond less water features in the landscape.

The education seminars range in quality. Installation oriented seminars tend to get moderate reviews from the field installation teams who attend. I received my International Concrete Paver Institute (ICPI) certification at the MAHTS show during two day long seminars several years ago. Those courses were taught by an especially well qualified concrete paver installation professional and I learned a good deal. This year I focused on internet marketing seminars. They were also taught by an extremely well qualified professional who understood the topic in specific relation to the landscape industry.

Overall, I recommend the MAHTS show for any landscape contractor in the Pennsylvania & New Jersey regions. It is rather inexpensive overall and well worth every penny in my experience. The show is an opportunity to stay current with landscape industry products, knowledge and other professionals in our industry.