John Martinelli Photography

By Elaine Sisko, Reynolds Landscaping

John Martinelli Photography

Open expansive coastal views, cool summer breezes and relief from the mainland daily grind are key elements that attract homeowners and renters to LBI each year. The ability to move seamlessly between indoor and outdoor living and extend time spent recreating in the open seaside air is a delight to all experiencing life on this barrier island. However, with an increasing demand for larger homes built on standard sized residential lots, and the need to comply with local ordinances, creating private intimate outdoor living spaces can be complex.

Mark Reynolds of Reynolds Landscaping/Mark Reynolds Project Management Incorporated has several recommendations to meet these challenges in ways that are aesthetic, functional, and effective.

Pergolas can be used to create shade and privacy on Island proper-ties. Rectangular, square, L-shaped, or serpentine – a pergola can be designed and built as a stand-alone focal point, attached to the home to extend the boundaries of indoor-outdoor living, used to create a covered bridge connecting separate outdoor rooms or incorporated over sitting walls and outdoor kitchens.

Consideration must be given to the size and scale of the pergola to ensure a proper fit in the outdoor environment. Minimum property dimensions are essential for the structure to function correctly and pass township zoning requirements for outdoor accessory structures. “This can present quite an obstacle,” maintains Mark Reynolds, “especially for homes recessed deep into a property or on ocean-front lots where building allowances provide for little usable backyard living space.” In cases where a pergola is not recommended, an ornamental screen or custom fence can create privacy without compromising aesthetics or reducing livability.

John Martinelli Photography

Incorporated into the side of a raised deck or designed to surround a hot tub enclosure, screening devices provide privacy without creating confinement or inhibiting air circulation. They can be designed to complement the architectural details of the residence or match the materials of other structures in the landscape. Like-wise, custom design-built fencing, while delineating the boundaries of the property, can also serve the same purpose – creating both privacy and an aesthetic accent in the outdoor environment. When combined with a complementing entry trellis, the results can create a showpiece in the landscape and a beacon to draw guests to al fresco entertaining.

From long-lasting cedar and Cambarra woods to vinyl products, naturally aged patinas to painted finishes, the appearance and style of a privacy structure can range from rustic to contemporary based upon personal preferences. However, to maintain aesthetic integrity, Mark Reynolds advises the built structure should complement the architecture and design of the residence and adjoining outdoor accessories. If a vinyl product is desired, make certain to invest in high-quality materials – any increase in cost will more than make up for itself in durability and long-term appearance.

Brian Swank photo

Wood products as well have their own set of considerations. Painted or treated finishes can complement architectural accents or maintain original wood patinas, however, they require regular upkeep to preserve their original luster. Allowing wood to age naturally requires little maintenance, although the product will change color with age. Pros and cons exist for all product options and must be considered before reaching a final decision on materials.

Mark Reynolds believes privacy without compromise to functionality and livability can be achieved even in the smallest of outdoor spaces. Through creative design solutions, thoughtful planning, and by thinking beyond the box to find innovative solutions, aesthetics and functionality can be successfully combined to create the perfect private island getaway.

For ideas and inspiration for your upcoming pergola, privacy screen or outdoor structure please visit the Photo Gallery of the Reynolds Landscaping website, To schedule a meeting to discuss your upcoming outdoor project, new home construction or existing home renovation, contact Mark Reynolds at 609-597-6099 or

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