Building Your Backyard Oasis
Growing up in the 70s backyard barbeque block parties and spending all day and evening in your backyard was the thing to do. Groups of friends and neighbors would migrate from home to home weekly Almost everyone had a swimming pool, everyone brought something their wives cooked. Everyone knew their neighbors, we all got along. We mowed our own laws, we cleaned our own pools. Life moved a little slower back then. Believe it or not there was a time before cable television, iPhones, iPads, x-box’s and hanging out at Starbucks on your laptop. The humble backyard was once thought of as a concrete landing pad for a barbeque and a tranquil patch of grass where the kids could run freely and busy themselves playing all day while the parents had a family or neighborhood barbeque and adult time.
Fast forward 3 decades. Oh how times have changed, backyards are beginning to reflect one’s dedication to the environment again. Today’s backyard is now expected to serve as a playground, waterpark, gourmet kitchen for the family chef, dining facility, and the much needed meditative retreat. The sounds of flowing water and the warmth of the sun.
A beautiful backyard is of little value if guests have no place to sit. I have noticed a resurgence in cushioned plush backyard patio furnishings, lounges, even floating armada’s. Light blue’s and red’s and oranges have become popular colors. Many backyard oasis I’ve run into possess reclaimed wood and eco-friendly pieces such as coffee tables, side tables and planter boxes full of fresh homegrown vegetables. I think HGTV has been influential for many homeowners in this aspect. Repurposed and reclaimed items transformed to their new purpose.
What would a backyard oasis be without the ever popular grill or outdoor kitchen. Everyone these days is somewhat of a barbeque enthusiast and the backyard typically reflects that primary purpose. No well-dressed backyard can go without the perfect barbeque grill. Many homeowners are switching to pellet grills, these typically heat up faster than typical charcoal gas and wood grills. Many homeowners that build an outdoor kitchen don’t stop at the gas grill, many accessories come along with it, Gas side burners, mood Lighting, electrical outlets, wine and beer chillers, sinks with running water, (hot and cold) warming trays, storage drawers, refrigerators, and lots of counter space for prep work, a recent popular choice for counters has been polished concrete.
I attribute this desire for outdoor kitchens to homeowners desires to create a complete outdoor living experience a place where they can cook, eat, play, relax, read, watch tv or movies, or the game, and soak in the spa, a major extension of their home.
One can-not simply complete their backyard oasis without Shade, structures, and bar top counters, a place for everyone to get together and hang out a place for family and friends to sit and relax with drinks after a barbeque or swim party. Spring and summer make up the prime season for backyard enjoyment. These seasons also bring high temperatures, lots of sun and potential for sunburn.
Many homeowners are investing in elaborate equipment to bring shade to their oasis. Not only to beat the heat but also to add to the design element of the house and backyard. Some choose a simple but elaborate umbrella, cantilever umbrellas are a popular favorite to remove the pole from line of site between guests. Shade sails are another trending popular choice among backyards. These premade canvas covers can be tensioned between structures such as trees and home walls and fences. My favorite shade structure is the Pergola. A shade structure that offers more than just shade, it offers style and aesthetics. Modern pergolas are not even wood anymore, they are Aluma-wood, aluminum that looks like real wood but fairs better in the outdoor elements and is less maintenance and upkeep does not require annual staining and waterproofing. The most elaborate of all shade structures is to build out the roof of your house into a covered patio. A shingled structure running the entire length of the house adds shade and value to your home.
Last but certainly not least we come to lighting, the element that makes things pop, the ahhhhhhhhh factor. LED lighting gives homeowners unlimited abilities with color and ambiance of which most LED lights are now “smart” lights and can be controlled from smart devices such as your smart phone or home automation device. Dimmable and programmable these are a favorite among homeowners with pre-programmed automation “dusk” settings. Many homeowners are also adding gas and electric space heaters to their backyard to be able to enjoy year round when the temperatures start to drop.
The bottom line is homeowners are putting an awful lot of time and money into creating the perfect backyard oasis, so it’s no surprise that they are willing to go great lengths to get as much bang for their buck and utilize as much space as possible at the same time increasing the value and appeal of their backyard.
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