With so many summer plans on hold and a continued need for social distancing, now is a perfect time to plan an outdoor renovation. Today’s backyards are often multi-purpose spaces designed for relaxing, entertaining, and spending time with family. Does your outdoor space meet your current needs? Or is it underutilized, neglected, or dated? If you don’t love what you see, consider the following to transform your backyard from blasé to beautiful.
A well-designed pool area can create a resort-like oasis right in your backyard. Intriguing options like a gradual-slope beach entry, free-form shapes, or natural “saltwater” fills can add to the resort vibe. While free form pools have a unique appeal, many homeowners still opt for a traditional rectangular shape to ease an automatic cover. For the interior pool shell, consider deeper colors, such as midnight blue, for a great look. When designing the pool deck, consider surfaces, such as Copper Canyon, that don’t get as hot and can help avoid burned feet on sizzling summer days.
Expanding your Living Space
Whether you’re renovating a deck or patio area or building from scratch, you’ll want to make sure the design blends well with your home. Many backyards are being designed as a transitional space, blurring the line between the outside and the inside. Sliding glass walls and larger windows create a physical and visual connection, helping to pull the outdoors. Extend usability by carving off space for a covered “room,” which can help you escape the sun and/or rain while still enjoying the outdoors. Covered pavilions, gazebos, or trellises can all be outfitted with fans to add some relief. To keep bugs at bay, consider adding motorized or retractable screens, and add screening below the decking.
There are many options available for homeowners who want to transform their outdoor space into a fabulous entertaining area. Pool houses function as more than just a changing area nowadays. Designed with a more open layout, they also can serve as a party or entertaining space. Adding a TV that can be seen from the pool area or an audio system controlled with your smartphone can enhance the party atmosphere. If you have a passion for cooking, consider incorporating an outdoor kitchen with all the conveniences of your indoor one or even special features, such as pizza ovens, warming drawers, beer taps, or built-in chillers. However, it’s highly recommended that outdoor kitchens have some type of covering to help protect your appliances and surfaces from the elements.
Lastly, landscaping is an important factor in transforming your backyard into a serene retreat. Planting flowers that will bloom at various times throughout the season and into the fall will provide color and interest in your garden. For the winter season, a good basis of evergreens will keep your yard from looking sparse. Fountains, ponds, laminar jets, and other water features are a beautiful addition to any backyard and offer more than just visual appeal. An active water feature not only creates a relaxing and soothing sound but can help block unwanted noise. And, of course, consider adding a cozy fireplace or fire pit for those cool evening gatherings!
Every weekend with a customized backyard retreat, it can feel like a “staycation” with family and a few friends gathered around. If you wish to create a more inspiring outdoor space, an experienced design-build professional can help turn your dream backyard into a reality.
Tim Burch is a Vice President and Owner of BOWA, an award-winning design and construction firm specializing in renovations ranging from master suites and kitchens to whole-house remodels and equestrian facilities. For more information, visit bowa.com or call 540-687-6771. Have topics you would like covered, email me at AskBOWA@bowa.com.