Hamptons landscapes have changed throughout the years. Twenty years ago, the design and build process for landscapes featured certain types of coping or tiles within a gunite pool. Outdoor sitting areas were large and opulent; as opposed to destination areas that are now popular, attractive, and functional.
A recent article in HGTV Gardens
noted, "Once upon a time
homeowners would plop on a screened-in porch or deck and call it a day. But today's outdoor spaces have become a tricked-out extension of the indoors, decked out with functional kitchens, fireplaces, barbecue pits and flat screen TVs."
A pergola can add style and grace, while enhancing an existing outdoor setting. (Photo: Pembrooke Fine Landscapes)
Here are Pembrooke Fine Landscapes' top five landscaping must-haves:
1. Pergolas, pergolas, pergolas!
This has been the year of the pergola. They are one of the best ways to transform an outdoor space. A pool house can be overstated and an enclosed structure may take on a life of its own. A pergola, however, can add style and grace, while enhancing an existing outdoor setting. Benefits include extending the living space, adding lighting, incorporating patio furniture for a separate and distinct area, and creating a new view of the landscape.
2. Adding a spa to your gunite pool.
The classic Hamptons luxury gunite swimming pool may include a spacious bluestone patio, it may have a gorgeous pool house, and it may even sit within view of the tennis courts. Until you've incorporated a spa that overflows into your pool, you haven't updated your backyard oasis. Many are surprised to learn that you can add a spa and blend the patio, pool, and landscape seamlessly. Of course, building the pool and spa at the same time saves time and money; however homeowners are always thrilled to learn that it isn't too late.
The Hamptons poolside kitchens rival the finest indoor kitchens in the world. (Photo: Pembrooke Fine Landscapes)
3. Outdoor kitchens.
BBQ, refrigerator, ice maker, hot and cold running water, marble counter top ... the essentials of the outdoor kitchen. The Hamptons poolside kitchens rival the finest indoor kitchens in the world. Viking, Wolf, and DCS dominate the landscape with highly functional and beautiful appliances.
4. Replacing your vinyl pool with a luxury gunite pool.
Homes that are "tear downs" and pools that are tear downs have become the way to capitalize on valuable land. We have participated in complete and total transformations of dozens of backyards. A simple vinyl pool can be removed and carted away within hours. Starting with a clean slate allows the landscape designer to partner with the homeowner. A limitless amount of options present themselves and the imagination takes over.
Until you've incorporated a spa that overflows into your pool, you haven't updated your backyard oasis. (Photo: Pembrooke Fine Landscapes)
5. Poolside fireplaces.
The fire pit is flawed. Ask anyone who sits downwind for more than a few minutes. And if the wind shifts, everyone gets the experience of being smoked out. An outdoor fireplace controls the flow of smoke and often creates the focal point for a new area to socialize and relax. Adding an outdoor fireplace to your landscape brings a new element of luxury and practicality while making the best use of your property.
Of course, there is no reason to stop at the top five. The Hamptons is a frontrunner in trends in interior and exterior design. The blending of the indoor and the outdoor creates a Zen-like retreat or a gathering space that so many desire.
Chris Hall is a partner at Pembrooke Fine Landscapes. He has been a luxury gunite pool and landscape consultant for over thirty years and shares his observations and advice each month on Hamptons.com. www.pembrookefinelandscapes.com