Interior comforts and modern design extend outdoors with this season’s outdoor living trends
By EMILY GORMAN FANCY
With the warmer temps of spring and summer on the horizon, we inch closer to longer days sitting on porches and decks or poolside, enjoying the coastal views. Indeed, entertaining friends and family outside is synonymous with the Cape Fear region.
Outdoor living spaces can turn your backyard into your favorite getaway while extending the indoor living area, and the ultimate value of your home. From poolscapes to furnishings to outdoor pizza ovens, these local businesses can help you create your ideal retreat in your own backyard.
Thinking about developing a new outdoor living area, but want to test drive some ideas before you commit? Markraft Cabinets recently created an outdoor living display complete with grill options, counter space and cabinetry, an outdoor TV, and a pergola. This model allows customers to better envision possibilities for their backyard or patios. Clients can walk through the outdoor living display, touching and feeling the products up close.
The display allows you to think through the little details, such as the positioning of pergolas and other fixtures for maximum natural light. “Markraft’s display was designed to showcase the versatility of the products and the myriad options available,” says Rachel Jindra, a Markraft designer.
Markraft’s outdoor living space offers a clean, crisp design with multiple door and finish styles to choose from, all of which are built to withstand the elements. Among the many options available at Markraft are a DCS grill and a ceramic egg grill.
Additionally, Markraft carries NatureKast, a product line featuring 100-percent weather-proof cabinetry made of PVC and heavy resin, a combination of materials built to withstand the elements. The Dekton quartz countertops promise to be more durable than the traditional indoor variety.
“NatureKast allows us to partner with some of the top grill manufacturers to get cabinets made especially for a certain type of grill,” Jindra says. “Markraft offers a quality product that is going to hold up for throughout every season.”
With Wilmington’s temperate climate, residents can relax and entertain outdoors many months of the year, making backyard living spaces a sought-after feature. Markraft has seen a strong local interest in outdoor fireplaces, outdoor pizza ovens, grilling stations, and outdoor bar areas. “Customers are really looking for ways to enjoy their outdoor spaces with ease, and since we spend the majority of our time in our kitchens, being able to bring that type of living outdoors is a win-win,” Jindra adds. 910-793-0202, Markraft.com
Low Country Landscaping
During the fall and winter of 2018, Low Country Landscaping developed a new outdoor oasis for homeowners Steve and Valerie Butler in Leland’s Waterford development. Low Country owner Scott Hinson describes the Butlers’ previous backyard as an underused space not offering a comfortable environment. The Butlers envisioned a new outdoor retreat that they could use year-round.
Throughout the Butlers’ new outdoor transformation, Low Country’s attention to detail helped create a true backyard haven. As the centerpiece of their new backyard retreat, Caribbean Pools built a rectangular pool that is heated for year-round use. Surrounding the pool is an outdoor deck and patio with full masonry steps all around it. The pool incorporates an innovative fire and water feature with an eight-foot fire bar and three small waterfalls. Additionally, the pool includes a tanning ledge thirteen inches under the waterline that is perfect for basking in the sun while remaining somewhat submerged.
Adjacent to the back of the house, Low Country created a beautiful upper deck with stadium seating and ivory travertine that complements the pool. This split-face travertine extends to the outdoor fireplace and kitchen, creating a cohesive design and flow amongst the entire outdoor area. The kitchen features a seven-burner grill and refrigerator. With the push of a button, the custom pergola rotates sideways, creating a roof sheltering from rain and the elements, allowing the homeowners to watch TV, relax, or entertain in their space regardless of the weather.
Hinson emphasizes that the right amount and type of outdoor lighting is essential to the homeowners’ ability to enjoy their new backyard spaces. With people working longer hours, their main opportunity to use their outdoor spaces during the work week is at night. “The right landscape lighting provides wonderful ambient glow,” he adds.
“With landscaping decisions, everything needs to flow well together,” Hinson says, “We work within the framework of the natural surroundings and select landscaping that blooms in every season of the year.”
Low Country Landscaping has been serving Wilmington, Wrightsville Beach, Figure Eight, and Bald Head Island since 2000. They serve the Charleston areas as well. When asked what he enjoys the most about his job, Hinson immediately responds that his favorite part is working with clients and helping them achieve their goals. “We strive to give them a custom project created just for them,” he explains, “When folks really use their space, it opens up a whole new living space for them.” 910-200-1489, lowcountrylandscaping.com
Leisure World Casual Furniture
“Incorporating more modern looks is a trend that has become more popular in Wilmington,” says Trey Folcher, owner of Leisure World Casual Furniture. The modern style of outdoor furniture involves what Folcher calls a more “linear” look and a blend of materials, such as wicker and teak, wicker and aluminum, and teak and aluminum.
Modern sectionals often have low backs and are made for lounging. “When you look outside your back window, the low back of the modern furniture doesn’t obstruct your view,” Folcher explains, “The lounge style allows people to sit back and relax with a bottle of wine.”
“The trend toward modern-style home furnishings has always been popular in larger cosmopolitan areas such as Miami, Atlanta, and New York, and now with the prevalence of HGTV shows and online communities like Houzz, the trend has spread to coastal areas,” Folcher says, “Additionally, as more people move to the Cape Fear coast from larger cities, they bring other influences to their home design decisions.” Another reason for the prevalence of the modern trend is the younger generation trying to distance themselves from the more traditional, Southern style that is often associated with the coastal design milieu.
Leisure World offers sectionals in every material imaginable, including poly lumber and teek. Folcher emphasizes that Leisure World’s products are meant to last indefinitely if they are well maintained. “With the popularity of sectionals now, there is quite a breadth of options to choose from,” he says.
Folcher notes that sectionals help clients maximize their space by expanding the perimeter of their living spaces. “They create more open space in the middle for people to add coffee tables, ottomans, or fire pits,” he adds.
With more than 30 years in the outdoor home furnishing industry, Folcher enjoys the opportunity to watch trends change over the years, as well as witnessing his clients make use of their new spaces. “For someone who’s been in the business for so long, it is nice to see different looks, as it gives variety,” he explains, “Some clients come in knowing the look they want and some have more of an open palate, and we work accordingly.” 910-392-7748, leisureworldcasual.com