More and more people are sinking money into their backyards these days.  The ‘staycation’ trend has helped fuel this demand.  No longer are people content with a Weber and a couple of plastic chairs.  Today’s backyards have TV’s, heaters, sinks and more.

The best unintended advantage is it keeps the kids home and in your backyard.  What teenager wouldn’t want to hang out in one of these?

Outdoor Living Rooms

The idea is to bring the inside out; a TV on the wall, a heater to extend the season, and a pergola to provide shade and structure.  Light it up, add a couch and you’re there.

Outdoor Kitchens

This is just an extension of the living room concept: big grills, ice makers and a sink are essentials.  Then you can add pizza ovens, drawers, rotisseries, and side burners for the whole enchilada.

Structures/Shades

These can be incorporated into the Kitchen and living room concepts or as a standalone feature: think Yoga pavilion, painting studio, or lounging area with a sofa bed.  The shades can be worked into the pergolas or as a large sail.  It all depends of the style of the individual property owner.

Fire

Large fireplaces were all the rage for a while but more subtle and complementary features are now in vogue.  A small council circle feel out sells the formal fireplace now.  Portable fire pits also work.  You just want to make sure you design enough space to provide seating.  One interesting trend is the movement towards gas over wood.  It’s cleaner and easier and doesn’t ‘stink up the place’.  But that’s why some like the wood so it’s a personal choice.

Water

However you do it, from large scale ponds to small bubbling rocks; water needs to be included.  The ambiance from the sound and movement is priceless.

Lighting & Decorating

Then after you’ve done all of this you don’t light it; seriously?  Why not light up the landscape so it’s more functional while you are using it.   The other benefit is your windows are no longer black rectangles at night.  Instead, you can see all of that wonderful landscaping while you are home at night.

And the best part is you can scale it to fit any site and any budget.  You don’t need the cooks kitchen but a few small additions will go a long way to improving your backyard experience.