City Lifestyle

Want to start a publication?

Learn More

Featured Article


Outdoor relaxation is accessible for all

Outdoor living is all the rage. Families are eschewing screened porches and concrete slabs for upscale outdoor areas that serve as extensions of their living space. The mission of bringing more of life outside has driven Willaman Designs owner Kevin Willaman for his entire career. “All projects have three basic components: time, space and budget,” says Kevin. “I want people to understand that there’s a lot we can achieve, no matter the limits on any of those three.”

Here we spotlight three of Kevin’s projects that demonstrate how outdoor living can be achieved in a variety of ways.

The owner of this Lake Township property wanted a unified outdoor space that served all three rear exits of her home. Kevin created this linear design using stamped granite and a detailed granite border. It met the owner’s functional objectives and connected the outdoor space to the home’s driveway. The color of the granite coordinates with the colors of the house, keeping with Kevin’s philosophy about making outdoor spaces an extension of the home.

In this project, the patio already existed, but the owner wanted to bring definition to the area and create a courtyard effect. Kevin added columns to enhance the flow from the house to the outdoor space and used Unilock® walls with custom limestone caps to create a perimeter border that doubles as seating. Perhaps the most dramatic feature doesn’t show up in the picture; dimmable LED lights built in underneath the caps and columns provide soothing light after dark. “No project is the same,” says Kevin. “Here, because of the existing patio, we did a lot of engineering on site to create a uniform look.”

Believe it or not, this used to be just a dead space situated between a house and a dock on the Portage Lakes. Now, it’s transformed into this relaxing oasis. Concrete pavers form the base. An outdoor bar is included near the house. LED lights are also used here to provide illumination and add personality at night. “We took what was essentially unused space and created an inviting a stage for gatherings,” says Kevin.

Kevin Willaman has been an outdoor living specialist for 25 years and has owned Uniontown-based Willaman Designs since 1999. Over the years, he’s seen more families pivot from outdoor decks to patios and hardscapes. “Patios offer more privacy, plus you’re not boxed in and they are easier to maintain than wooden decking,” says Kevin. He has a mix of materials available in his palette to achieve the unique objectives of each space, including those from the venerable, locally based institution Belden Brick.