By Cassaundra Brooks
Let’s tackle that unruly or bland backyard and transform it into a lively, user-friendly place for you and your family—or the next family who’ll reward your efforts by meeting or exceeding your asking price! Creating a luxury yard that maximizes space and functionality and maintains balance doesn’t always require a huge budget—just knowledge of the needs and general interests of families. You’d be surprised at the versatility your yard possesses. With a little planning and work, it could be that extra room for your house that you’ve always wanted!
A spa is a luxurious, space-efficient way to relax with family or friends year-round. The six-seater Gulf Coast Spa LX 8000 (approximately $10,200) fits well into the average-sized backyard. The Better Homes and Gardens Westhaven canopy ($148 at WalMart) provides the much-needed shade and protection from the hot Arizona sun.
The bistro table with chairs benefits from the canopy’s shade ($100), and are well-positioned for viewing children playing in the pool or chatting with your spa-loving companions. A synthetic lawn is a great way to get the look of grass and conserve water during the blistering heat of the Arizona summer ($8 per square foot at Echelon).
This custom-made pool by DreamScapes Custom Pools and Spas fits this smaller yard like a glove and is suitable for a relaxing dip, a splashfest with your kids, swimming laps, or entertaining a small group of friends. Its streamlined rectangular shape maximizes available space. It’s gas-heated, uses an in-floor cleaning system and saltwater chlorination, and sports a pebble-sheen interior and hand-painted tiles from Italy. This size pool starts in the high $20,000s; the tiles cost anywhere from $16 to $20 apiece. A basketball sleeve and volleyball sleeves make even better use of the space and make for fun athletic activities regardless of season.
These wok-pot fountains are aesthetically pleasing and ecologically conservative as they circulate the water already in use. The columns are made with real stacked stone. The fountain and columns run about $1,100 each. They are available through DreamScapes. River rocks add the final touch.
Rather than spending a fortune and a headache on planting full-grown trees to create a natural privacy screen from the two-storey neighbors, invest in the baby version, like these Italian Cypress trees from Home Depot.
A combo of faux Saltillo tile and acrylic lace was custom created by DreamScapes to match the existing patio. These river rocks, available at Home Depot, are relatively inexpensive and not only provide an aesthetic finishing touch but solve the problem of cracks between the newly laid and existing patios.
A Baja step is ideal for small children and for enjoying the refreshing water without submerging oneself under water. The umbrellas, available at JC Penny, are a solid investment at $170 each, providing shade and protecting your skin from the sun.
A convenient way to find fitting furniture is to check out amazon.com, which is where these Strathwood chaise lounges ($189.99 each) and Strathwood Talbot hardwood double sun lounger ($540) were located. The eggshell Strathwood Talbot double sun lounger cushion is $280; the single chaise lounge cushions by Delahey are from WalMart ($49.99 each). Striped chaise lounge towel covers are $25 apiece, protecting the cushions from fading and providing useful pockets for storing sunscreen and poolside snacks. Fun, striped cushions from Kohl’s complete the look and the comfort.
What backyard would be complete without a barbecue? This three-burner gas grill by Uniflame is a complete yet compact necessity for entertaining friends and family with a proper backyard barbecue feast. $399 at WalMart
This fun, attractive putting green, ideal for all members of the family, utilizes the “dead” space at the side of the house. A custom putting green from Echelon runs $11 per square foot.
Echelon Synthetic Lawns and Putting Greens: (602) 615-0328 or echelongreens.com
DreamScapes Custom Pools and Spas: (623) 587-7665 or dreamscapecustompools.com
Home Depot: homedepot.com
Gulf Coast Spas: gulfcoastspas.com
JC Penny: jcpenny.com