Although Labor Day signifies the fast-approaching end of summer, it doesn’t mean people have to stop enjoying the outdoors. Even as the days grow shorter and the temperatures cool, families can still gather for late summer cookouts, alfresco dining and relaxation. As outdoor living surges in popularity, diverse design options and the usage and availability of quality materials such as stone are increasing as well. Almost any outdoor furnishing imaginable can now be designed with a rich and attractive stone application. Homeowners can benefit from these “stone innovations” by using their outdoor living spaces well into the fall months. Backyard tailgating with stone-infused outdoor kitchens Fall is synonymous with football. Weekends are filled with images of the gridiron as players battle for position on the field. Tailgating is a time-honored tradition that helps fans prepare for the game. The pre-game party isn’t limited to stadium parking lots—people can fire up the grill and create the same fun-filled atmosphere at home. Modern outdoor bars and kitchens include stone features like granite countertops, islands and other applications that surround grills, refrigerators and other kitchen amenities. Granite has a well-earned reputation of being nearly indestructible. Granite tabletops and counters provide a gorgeous backdrop to outdoor décor. The stone is highly resistant to heat, and yet radiates a sense of warmth. It doesn’t stain, scratch, or warp and can maintain its beauty and luster for years. There’s just something about a luxurious slab of granite atop a kitchen counter that conveys panache and class. Socializing around stone fire pits Many campers like to converse, tell stories or roast marshmallows when they’re out in the wilderness. Now, homeowners can take “gathering around the fire” to a new level by bringing the traditional camping experiences to their backyards with stone fire pits. The most popular type of stone for fire pits surrounds is limestone although slate and granite are also viable options. They are available in-ground, on the ground and in bowls. They are also an economical way to enhance outdoor living spaces. As people gather around the warmth and crackling sounds of the flames, they can take pleasure in their stunning stone fire pit while spending time with friends and family. Relaxing in front of stone fireplaces After long days at work, everyone deserves the wonderful ambience of comfort and warmth that a relaxing evening in front of a stone fireplace provides, especially on a cool evening. Fireplaces can set the tone of a backyard. They range from simple designs that complement a small deck to intricate masterpieces that tower over other parts of the yard. Coupled with furnishings such as comfortable couches and chairs, they can transform a patio into a den or family room—particularly with covered outdoor spaces. Many fireplace installers use heat-resistant stone for the structure and stone veneers to create dramatic looks. The end result is an eye-catching fireplace suitable for unwinding from the stresses of the day. The “dog days” of summer may be passing by, but there is always time to appreciate all that nature has to offer. Outdoor living provides the perfect setting for gatherings, socializing and relaxing—experiences each person can value in any season.