Your own personal access road
Back in the old country, “driveways” were simple, private roads leading from the trade routes to a castle’s entrances for staff and guests. These roads were maintained solely by the castle residents and usually consisted of a utilitarian single lane made with nothing more than grass, gravel or (in more wealthy fortifications) stone.
As the Olympic Summer Games 2016 continue, we’ve seen some exciting finishes and more gold medals for aquatic phenom Michael Phelps and the rest of the amazing US swimming team. We’ve also seen a strange, but natural occurrence: an Olympic diving pool turned green! The green color was caused by a proliferation of tiny but harmless algae. But that green hue got us thinking: What else is there besides your basic blue for a pool?
The 2016 Rio Olympics are in full swing. We love to watch the Games’ thrilling events and see the amazing achievements of our US team. But being stone experts, the Olympic Games also reminds us of something else we love - Greek architecture! The ancient culture’s mark can be seen not only in our government buildings but also in our home and Hardscape designs.
Think of your outdoor room as a blank canvas. Your outdoor room is an extension of the house, but it is also an expression of you. Just as your indoor decor choices inside reflect your unique style, your outdoor spaces deserve the same careful curation and dedication. Choosing the right colors of paving stones is a step in the right direction.
All the world’s a stage
Hollywood and Broadway people know the secret of a scene-stealer is all in the lighting. The impact lies in how everything is illuminated. In his 2002 book Stage Lighting Revealed, lighting designer Glen Cunningham tell us, “An effective lighting design is like a beautiful painting.” He goes on to explain how a lighting designer uses light and all its colors to bring the viewer to “an emotional state he or she would not achieve at that moment without your art.”
A walk in the New England woods will undoubtedly reveal remnants of a fieldstone wall, standing strong amongst trees and forest brush. Those woods were probably cleared for farmland hundreds of years ago. Piles of unearthed stones were typically stacked in a low wall along property lines. Fieldstone walls are a tradition going back centuries, most notably found in England and Ireland. They aren’t as common today, but not all is lost. There are different ways to build a fieldstone wall on your land.
Realtors stress the importance of “curb appeal” when selling a house. First impressions count. Landscaping is an obvious concern, but your home’s Hardscape likely covers more ground and attracts the eye more than your greenery does. Many times a homeowner will overlook the impact of the home’s driveway. Driveways can cover the largest part of a property’s land but they tend to be neglected as a major consideration in curb appeal. Improving the driveway adds beauty and function to your property.
Having a great outdoor space gives you more opportunities to spend time with family and friends. A themed party on the patio can vanquish our work-a-day blues and turn an unassuming weeknight into a fun-filled event. Wine-tasting parties are especially popular to have outdoors. There’s nothing like a summer night combined with a beautifully chilled glass of wine to give you an “attitude adjustment.”
Leonardo DaVinci said “Water is the driving force in nature.” Because our bodies are mostly water, it’s in our nature to live near bodies of water. Most of the Earth’s population lives within a few kilometers of a lake, river or sea. According to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 39% (123.3 million people) of Americans lived in counties that contained one of the country’s shorelines, which is 6x more people than live in the corresponding counties more inland. The US National Institutes of Health noted in a 2011 study that only 10% of humans live more than 10km away from a freshwater source.
One of the major stumbling blocks to spending more time outdoors is the dreaded mosquito and the itchy bite it leaves behind. Thankfully in our region these little pests don’t usually come with big problems like they do on other continents. Still, when we are plagued by bugs we tend to spend less time outside.
As outdoor grilling enthusiasts, we all have our go-to marinade recipe for the best chicken in the neighborhood. Recipes for a good marinade are like gold, because they make a simple grilling event into a showplace dinner. The marinade does most of the work. After a few hours or a day of soaking, the hardest part is done. All there is left to do is grill.
“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson
This Saturday, June 25, 2016, the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) is encouraging all of us to slow down and reconnect with Mother Nature by camping out. Here’s some information from the NWF’s website: http://www.nwf.org/Great-American-Campout.aspx
June 20th at sundown begins the new season. June 21 is the first full day of summer (September 20th will be the last). Many hot days await us in the coming months. Since we’re usually indoors through most winter and spring weeks, we want to maximize our time outside. When temperatures soar into the 80-90 degree Fahrenheit range (~27-32 Celsius), it is tempting to stay inside.
Sunday, June 18, 2016 is Father’s Day. We’ve all done the funny hats and grilling accessories thing. In fact, we posted our own gift ideas list last year. That stuff is fun. But there are only so many gag gifts and gadgets one dad needs. This year, skip the grilling gear and give Dad an experience to remember. This isn’t just a good idea; It’s science!
On Tuesday, June 14, 2016, we will celebrate Flag Day, a national holiday meant to show our love and respect for the flag under which are united these 50 States of America. For many citizens, Flag Day is a reminder to retire any Old Glory that has seen better days. Ripped, worn, soiled or tattered flags have served their country well and deserve a respectful retirement.
When Summer comes, getting outside more often is like re-learning a language. It may take a few stuttering steps to get into a routine that includes more time outside, but once you get into the swing of things you’ll remember how much you loved it.