Entertaining at home

“If ever I go looking for my heart's desire again, I won't look any further than my own backyard, because if it isn't there, I never really lost it to begin with."

Dorothy, after her trip to the Land of Oz

Anyone who has spent a glorious morning, afternoon or evening, surrounded by the lush green and quiet solitude of a well-designed backyard understands the profound wisdom that Dorothy shared with Glinda the good witch in “The Wizard of Oz.” While many take their “own backyard” for granted, home designers are seeing a renewed interest in making this part of the home even more inviting. The design trend experts at Acme Brick have some ideas on how this can be accomplished.

Before embarking on the creation of an epic backyard, it is important for the homeowner to decide on how this space will be used. For example, are there children in the family who need some entertainment space of their own? Is the weather of the area conducive to outside dining and entertaining for most of the year? Is gardening on this list of backyard amenities? How big is the space? 

The answers to these questions, and others, will help set priorities and direction for a stunning backyard. This space will not only enhance the quality of life for the current residents but increase the value of the home if it is sold.

Grab up Toto and take a fascinating journey to your own backyard! There are hundreds of great design ideas for transforming a backyard into an oasis, but here are 15 tips to get the creative juices flowing:

#1 Folding or Pivot Windows and Doors Bring the Outside, In

A breathtaking visit to the backyard starts with a seamless transition from inside to outside. “Folding doors and windows provide more flexibility and convenience so you can enjoy outdoor living at its finest,” said Lisa Keye of Acme Brick. “The bi-fold panels fold neatly and store indoors or outdoors to create the opening width you desire.”

#2 Fire Features Are Hotter Than Ever   

According to several design articlesFire pits can adapt to any space, so whether you have a small or spacious backyard, you can easily install this outdoor feature in your yard. They are also a great way to create a warm and cozy feel in your outdoor space. For small backyard ideas, source tabletop fire pits because they feature smart space-saving design.” Homeowners and builders can get a look at some of the most popular fire features at the Acme Brick Tile & Stone showrooms.

#3 Outdoors Kitchens Make Dining Al Fresco Meravigliosa!

During the late spring, summer and even fall in some areas, outdoor kitchens are one of the most popular additions to the backyard. One designer noted, “With an outdoor kitchen, entertaining friends will feel effortless since you can prepare and cook the food right in front of them instead of having to leave them outside. A built-in island grill is the heart of an outdoor kitchen.” Most Acme Brick showrooms carry all the elements of a fully equipped outdoor kitchenaccess doors, cabinets, and of course the materials for the kitchen enclosure.

#4 Outdoor Bars and Entertainment Nooks

As with outdoor kitchens, an outdoor bar and entertainment area is a great way to spend a warm afternoon or night outside. “Whether this entertainment area is around a pool or a part of the patio, the traditional look of brick enhances the relaxed feeling of an outside entertainment space,” said Keye of Acme Brick.

#5 Don’t Forget the Kids

Everyone can enjoy the backyard, including the little ones. With a little landscape planning and judicious placement of plants and other vegetation, kids’ playground sets and playhouses can be added to the backyard without the usual clutter. They will WANT to stay outside rather than in front of a computer screen!

#6 Water Features: The Sound of Serenity

Everyone needs to relax, now and Zen, and the soothing sound of running water from a fountain or other water feature can help make this a reality. Adding a water feature, surrounded by plants are the makings of pure bliss and this is a very popular trend.

#7 A Backyard with Good Taste, That Also Tastes Good

Nothing adds more to a meal that is cooked outside (or inside) than herbs, vegetables and fruit that are grown in the backyard. An edible garden can be a great conversation starter and a delicious addition to dinner. Just make sure someone in the family has a green thumb!

#8 Good Fences Make Good Neighbors 

Those wooden fences, with vertical boards are so 1960s. Contemporary backyards are sporting cool fences that incorporate natural elements - brick or stone “posts” with rough-hewn wooden limbs or railroad ties, which run horizontally. Leaving a small space between the wood enhances the openness of the yard.

#9 Lights, Camera, Action 

There are few things more fun than having a movie screen in the backyard. This can be accomplished by incorporating a simple white cement wall on a yard element and bringing out the video projector. By day, it’s a decorative wall and by night a functional (and fun) outdoor movie screen.

#10 Wash Away the Day with an Outdoor Shower

More and more home designers are getting requests from clients for outdoor showers. It’s all a part of the “back to nature” trend. It’s also extremely refreshing. Just make sure it’s placed in a secluded spot of the yard and there are some fresh towels nearby.

Other Simple Ideas To Transform Your Outdoor Space:

#11 Yard Art and Oversized Sculptures

This can be simple or complex and priced accordingly. Either way, it can enhance the mood of the yard.

#12 Multi-Levels with Brick Stairs and Pavers

Backyards with different slopes can be transformed by building multiple levels, connected by brick stairs. Brick pavers can also be used for high-traffic areas.

#13 Multiple Potted Plants

Flowers, ferns, herbs and vegetables in pots, placed throughout the backyard, offer another dash of color and they can be brought inside when it gets colder.

#14 A Patio with a Pergola

Pergolas have been popular since Cleopatra was “queen of denial” and these simple structures offer a little shade in the summer months. Brick pavers can be added for a more finished look.

#15 A Plant Potting Station

A simple structure to house pots, trowels, small shovels and other gardening minutiae can be utilitarian and a conversation starter for the backyard of a gardener.  

Using one or all of these ideas can help transform a dull backyard to one that even Dorothy and Toto would love! Forget about the “Yellow Brick Road”; just click here for directions to an epic backyard.