Does your outdoor space meet your current needs?

Middleburg Eccentric

Today’s backyards are often multi-purpose spaces designed for relaxing, entertaining, and spending time with the whole 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.

Poolside Paradise A well-designed pool area can create a resort-like oasis right in your own backyard. Intriguing options like a gradual-sloped beach entry, free-form shapes and 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 for the ease of an automatic cover. For the interior pool shell, consider deeper colors, such as midnight blue, for a great look. And, when designing the pool deck, consider surfaces, such as Copper Canyon, that don’t get as hot and can help 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 well with the rest of 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 in. 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 be sure to add screening below the decking as well.

Outdoor Entertaining 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 that can be controlled with your smart phone 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. It’s highly recommended, however, that outdoors kitchens have some type of covering to help protect your appliances and surfaces from the elements.

Lush Landscaping 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!

With a truly customized backyard retreat, you just may find yourself enjoying a peaceful afternoon poolside or entertaining family and friends more often. 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 of BOWA, an award-winning design and construction firm specializing in renovations ranging from master suites and kitchens to whole-house remodels. A Northern Virginia native and third-generation builder, Tim enjoys calling on his 30 years of design build experience to solve clients’ home-related challenges. He is the Construction Advisor for The Mosby Heritage Area Association and sits on the Board of Building Appeals for Fauquier County. Prior to joining BOWA, Tim was the Lead Project Manager of Construction for the Emmy Award winning construction reality television show, Extreme Makeover Home Edition on ABC Television. For more information on Tim and the BOWA team, visit or call 540-687-6771.