Designing A Hardscape For Year-Round Outdoor Living

Though not every hardscape element can be used year-round in Indiana, a great design includes transitional and season-specific elements that cater to the climate.

We’ve pulled together a few design ideas for a hardscape fit for year-round outdoor living.


Multi-Seasonal Outdoor Kitchen

Regardless of the season, food and drink are the centers of celebration. During the winter months, dreams of an outdoor barbeque may seem out of reach. Creating a multi-season outdoor kitchen allows you to cater to the climate and serve your crowd.



Heated by a wood-burning stove, this outdoor kitchen could trap enough heat to make year-round cooking comfortable. The use of natural materials makes it durable enough to withstand the elements while keeping guests warm.

This pergola-style kitchen offer shade in the summer and warmth in the winter. Adding retractable walls made of fabric or glass would allow the fireplace to do an even better job of warming up the space. In a traditional open-air pergola, ceiling-mounted or standing heating elements can make for a cold-weather cabana.


Fire Elements

A hardscape design without a fire element is severely limited in its use. Whether you choose a pit or a place, make sure it’s lit.



Traditional outdoor fireplaces are timeless additions to any hardscape. Well-designed outdoor fireplaces with use elements to radiate heat outward rather than losing it through the chimney.

Because heat only comes from a central opening, fireplaces are more ideal for intimate groups of 1-5 people arranged in a semi-circle. Many homeowners choose a fireplace over a fire pit because of their structural soundness, ambiance, and intimacy.



Fire pits provide 360 degrees of seating options making them ideal for large groups. When indoors becomes stuffy and crowded during winter gatherings, a fire pit allows guests to get some fresh air and conversation separate from the group.


Hot Tub

In Indiana, where most pools are closed for six months of the year, hot tubs provide new ways to enjoy your hardscape year-round. From the comfort of a hot tub you can watch winter birds, breathe fresh air, and even enjoy a snowfall.



A hot tub deck can make the design feel more organic and serendipitous than some above ground tubs. Heated pavers can make the trek to and from the house pleasant rather than painful.



Lights, Lights, Lights

The transition from long summer days to early winter nights can make anyone bummed. Without adequate lighting, enjoying your hardscape in the winter can become dangerous. Lighting up your hardscape will make it easier to use year-round.



Outdoor lighting doesn’t have to be obtrusive. Lining stairs, railings, pergolas, pools, and plants with lighting can make for an ambiance that both highlights and protects. The color of the light you use can also play a role in the tone your hardscape lighting sets.