The summer season is in full swing for pool parties and backyard BBQs in the greater Washington, DC area. Today’s backyards are multi-purpose spaces that are great for relaxing, entertaining, and spending time with the whole family. On a warm evening there is nothing better than dining al fresco on your own deck or patio with good company and great food! Do you feel that your backyard space is underutilized, neglected, or dated? If you don’t love what you see when you go outdoors, read on to find out how to transform your backyard from blasé to beautiful.
A well-designed pool area can create a resort-like oasis in your own backyard. Consider adding a beach entry, which doesn’t involve actual sand, but rather a gradual slope to the entrance of the pool. In addition to giving the pool area a cool Caribbean vibe, it can also make the pool more accessible to young children, the elderly, and those with disabilities. Natural “saltwater” or saline solution filled pools are increasing in popularity. This is a chlorine-free solution that uses minimal chemicals, and is much easier on the eyes, hair, and skin. Although free form pools have their own unique appeal, many homeowners are opting to have a rectangular shaped pool for the ease of an automatic cover. Deeper colors, such as midnight blue, are trending for the interior pool shell. When designing the pool deck, choose a more welcoming surface such as Copper Canyon, a type of stone that doesn’t get as hot, helping to 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 with the rest of your home’s exterior. Many backyards are being designed as a transitional space, blurring the line between the outside and the inside. A house with larger windows can also help pull the outdoors in, creating a connection with the natural world. Incorporate structures that will help you escape the sun but still enjoy the outdoors, such as covered trellises, pergolas, or gazebos with fans. If you still want to be able to enjoy open space but also be protected from bugs and the elements, consider an exterior porch with a retractable screen. For the ultimate convenience, install a motorized screen that will roll down for your comfort at the touch of a button.
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 guest house 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 that can be controlled with your smart phone can enhance the party atmosphere. If you have a passion for cooking and find yourself frequently eating outside in the warmer months, consider incorporating an outdoor kitchen. While many fully equipped outdoor kitchens can rival indoor ones, it’s highly recommended these kitchens have some type of covering to help protect them from the elements. A custom outdoor bar adds additional seating and more dining space for guests.
Lastly, landscaping is an important factor in completing the space and transforming your backyard into a serene retreat. Planting flowers that will bloom at different 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. In addition to looking beautiful, a well landscaped backyard can also offer more privacy, especially if you have a narrower yard. Fountains, ponds, laminar jets, and other water features are a beautiful addition to any backyard. Many homeowners choose fountains and other active water features for more than just their visual appeal. An active water feature not only creates a relaxing and soothing sound, but can help block the sound of traffic and other unwanted noise. With your very own backyard sanctuary, you may just choose to have a “stay-cation” next year instead of a vacation. If you wish to create a more inspiring outdoor space, a design-build remodeling expert or an experienced landscape designer can help turn your dream backyard into a reality.