Pool & Spa Outdoor Blog

Category: Backyard Design

Backyard Design

6 Ways to Update Your Poolscape

Ideas for Updating Your Pool Area

Making some changes in and around your swimming pool can greatly enhance the beauty and enjoyment of your poolscape. From renovating your pool to adding a few simple features, we put together a list of ways to update your pool area this summer. Take a look at the following options and get ready to give your poolscape a whole new look.

1. Update the Pool Interior

Pool with Blue Vinyl Liner InteriorA new interior can dramatically change the look of your swimming pool. Just because summer is here doesn’t mean it’s too late to refinish your swimming pool. Resurfacing a concrete pool generally takes seven to 14 days to complete, so you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy your newly finished pool. If you have a vinyl-liner pool, the process is even quicker: once you decide on a new liner pattern, the old and new pool liners can be swapped out in as little as one to three days. Today’s vinyl liners include more sophisticated colors and designs, including patterns that give the look and feel of glass tiles. Many vinyl liner manufacturers offer a wide array of designs and patterns to fit any backyard theme or setting.

Taking the time to update your pool’s interior not only enhances its aesthetic appeal but can also extend its life, especially if you upgrade to a higher quality finish. For instance, aggregate finishes, which contain small river pebbles, glass beads, or quartz crystals, provide a harder and more durable pool surface than a traditional plaster (or marcite) finish and can last up to twice as long (aggregate finishes typically last 15 to 20 years compared to 10 to 15 years for plaster).

If your pool is in perfectly good shape, but you still want to update its look consider adding a simple tile border at the waterline. Glass and ceramic tiles add sparkle, light and panache to your pool. They come in an array of colors, shapes, and sizes and can be arranged in any design or pattern to fit your style needs.

Photo courtesy of Loop-Loc, Ltd.

2. Resurface the Pool Deck

Renovated Pool with Grey Concrete DeckYour pool deck plays an important part in the overall enjoyment of your pool area: it’s where you lounge in the sun between laps, relax with a good book, enjoy a refreshing snack, and entertain family and friends.

If your pool deck is in need of repair, tends to get hot from the sun, is stained, or simply doesn’t provide the look you desire, then resurfacing the area may be wise decision.

There are many options for pool deck surfaces, including concrete, stone, exposed aggregate, pavers, and even rubber flooring. While your budget and design preferences play a big role in the deck material you choose, it’s important to consider comfort and safety.

Above: Anthony & Sylvan Pools installed a new slate pattern concrete deck and paver coping to help give this pool a more modern look. See what it looked like before the renovation >>

White Coral Stone Tile Pool DeckStamped or colored concrete, inter-locking pavers, and exposed aggregate are all affordable resurfacing options, but be sure to select a lighter color as these materials absorb sunlight and can get hot very quickly. If you have a higher budget, you may want to consider natural stone decking. Natural stones such as coral and travertine are great for pool decks because they stay cool and are slip resistant.

View more photos of coral stone pool decks >>

Photo courtesy of Coral Stone USA

3. Install Pool and Landscape Lighting

Pool with aqua blue LED in-pool lightingOutdoor Lighting can dramatically improve both the look and safety of your pool area at night. For the best results, install a combination of pool and landscaping lighting. Fiber optic or LED pool lighting will illuminate your pool from within, making it a mesmerizing nighttime focal point, while landscape lighting will light up the area around the pool, making it easier and safer for you and your guests to navigate once the sun goes down.

A variety of landscape lighting techniques can help you achieve a certain look or mood for your poolscape at night. For instance, footlights placed along the perimeter of the pool will add a soft glow to the surrounding hardscape and provide the perfect amount of lighting for late night swimming. (This will also reveal any wet spots to prevent slips and falls.)

For a bit of drama, install uplights in nearby trees and shrubbery to add depth and texture or place a light fixture high in a tree and aim the light down through the branches and leaves to create a subtle moonlight effect. Torch lights are ideal for imparting a tropical ambiance; place several torch lights throughout the backyard to guide guests to the pool and dining area.

Above: This elegant poolscape becomes even more enticing at night thanks to the brilliant aqua blue LED pool lighting. Strategically placed landscape lights and fire features provide further illumination for evening entertaining.

Photo courtesy of Pentair Aquatic Systems

4. Add a Water Feature

Pool with Sheetfall Water FeatureA water feature will boost your poolscape’s allure by adding visual and acoustic delight. The sight and sound of moving water is known to have a calming effect and it can also help cover up background noise from a busy street or neighbors, making your backyard a more pleasant retreat.

A variety of water features are available to fit any style pool or outdoor space. For instance, tiered patio fountains, wall fountains, and sheetfalls (pictured at left) provide an elegant accent for formal poolscapes while planter fountains are a great complement to backyards with a Mediterranean or Japanese Garden theme. A rock waterfall is ideal if you have a tropical or lagoon-style pool. Rock waterfalls can be made with real or artificial rock to seamlessly blend with your surrounding landscape and create the look and feel of an exotic oasis.

View more relaxing spa retreats and water features from Anthony & Sylvan Pools >>

5. Plant Some New Blooms

Pool with plants around landscapeAdding plants around your pool is one of the simplest ways to breathe new life into your poolscape design. Plants will add color, interest, and shade to the pool area and establish a natural transition between the pool and its surrounding hardscape.

When landscaping around your pool, it’s important to choose plants according to their maintenance, hardiness, growing requirements, and function. For instance, some plants may not tolerate the extended exposure to sunlight and harsh swimming pool chemicals while others will litter your pool with leaves or cause damage because of their extensive root system.

Photo courtesy of Barrington Pools, Inc., a Master Pools Guild Builder;
Photography by Megan Kelly Photography

Pool with Tropical Trees and ShrubsShrubs and trees, such as Croton, Salvia, Colorado spruce, Bar Harbor juniper, and Mexican blue palm, are great for adding privacy and structure to the poolscape and require little maintenance.

Ornamental grasses are also popular poolside plants and bring tons of color and unique texture to the area. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors and can be planted in beds or along the border of the pool. Some great varieties include Zebra grass, fountaingrass, and blue fescue.

Decorative pots and planters also work well by the pool. Use them to display beautiful flowering plants, like bearded irises, cannas, and hydrangeas. Include a mix of leaf shapes, textures and colors to create an attractive, lush, and pleasant design.

Photo courtesy of Pacific Sun Pool & Spa, an Aquatech Builder

6. Add (or Replace) Poolside Furniture

Circular outdoor furniture set by the poolNew outdoor furniture can alter the look of your poolscape as well as set the tone for how you’ll enjoy the space. Today there are more choices than ever when it comes to furnishing your pool area thanks to a range of durable materials, weatherproof fabrics, and stylish designs.

One of the latest trends in outdoor furniture includes modular deep seating furniture sets that can be grouped together or arranged separately throughout the yard to create multiple seating areas. If you already have poolside furniture, you can create a new look or theme simply by re-arranging the pieces, switching out the cushions and pillows, and adding an outdoor rug.  

A line of chaise loungers next to swimming pool

When selecting and arranging furniture for your poolscape, think of how you intend to use the space. A line of lounge chairs is perfect for tanning or relaxing with friends while a dining table or conversation set is more appropriate if you do a lot of outdoor entertaining.

It’s also a good idea to invest in a patio umbrella, canopy or other shade product to keep the area cool and comfortable all day long.

Photos courtesy of Source Outdoor

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Top 10 Outdoor Living Trends >>
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What Makes a Coral Stone Deck Beautiful? Coralina!

HOW Coral stone decking adds beauty to your swimming pool and backyard

Coral Stone coralina decking poolPool builders, landscape architects, and interior decorators around the country are starting to utilize a building material that their counterparts in the Caribbean and Florida already use to create a number of exquisite indoor and outdoor spaces: coralina.

Coralina, also known as coral stone, coralina fossil stone, and keystone, consists of coral and shell fossils, coral, sand, as well as limestone. This unique product is strengthened by nature to withstand a variety of weather extremes, saltwater, pool chemicals, heavy foot traffic, and the occasional mishap with a falling object—making it ideal for pool decking and coping. Virtually non-slip, coralina also absorbs only a minimum of heat and is easily maintained.

“Coralina can transform any outdoor setting into a comfortable and safe environment that swimmers will enjoy no matter how hot and slick it gets,” says Jorge Larrauri, president of Coral Stone USA.

This durable yet beautiful material provides a tropical elegance to all types of settings and is ideal for constructing everything from grand staircases, columns, and indoor flooring to magnificent fountains and pool decking.

“Coral stone, a material that takes thousands of years to develop, is finding its way into today’s contemporary designs,” says Larrauri. “More and more, professionals are discovering that this product adds a refinement to a variety of home interior and exterior styles.”

Harvested from top quarries in the tropics—especially from the high quality ones found in the Dominican Republic—coralina products have a distinctive splendor that appears during processing. One-of-a-kind fossil patterns are revealed, giving the coral stone a fabulous texture that varies from product to product. Depending on what type of surface is desired, a homeowner can choose smooth finishes with a fine grain to more open textures that showcase the encased fossils.

See more beautiful photos of coral stone pool decks >>

Coral Stone coralina stone decking poolAvailable is a wide range of stunning colors from red and gold to white coral, coralina’s richness consistently passes the test of time, rarely losing any of its brilliance and beauty. “When you enhance your pool's deck with keystone stone, you don't just get stylish pool coping along with a cool deck, you also obtain sophistication, added security, and superior quality,” states Larrauri.

In addition to being luxuriantly beautiful, coralina is also easy to install. It requires very little modification once it is cut for a project; in fact, skilled craftsmen are readily able to position the stone in a desired pattern for any number of outdoor projects besides pool decking and coping, including fences, walkways, steppingstones, planters, and other garden accents where an island ambiance is wanted.

By finishing with a quality sealant, the material can handle all types of harsh weather conditions—and survive to be enjoyed during the warm swimming season! “Normally, those homes in warm, sunny states gravitate to coralina’s alluring elegance,” explains Larrauri. “But homeowners from other types of climates are discovering the material’s durability and exquisite good looks, and it is becoming the product of choice for homes everywhere.

To see more photos and videos of coral stone decks, check out Coral Stone USA>>


Photos courtesy of CoralStoneUSA.com

Modern Landscaping Style

Photos of Modern Style Landscaping - Modern Landscape Design

Modern landscape design
combines colors, lighting, textures and abstract patterns to create an outdoor living space that will exemplify nature’s beauty while complementing contemporary architectural designs. Today’s modern landscaping style is clean, bold and dramatic; a minimalist design. 

Photo courtesy of Platinum Poolcare, Ltd.; Photography by Outvision Photography

Modern Landscape Design - Plant Selection

Plant Selection for Modern Landscape DesignWhen selecting plants for modern landscape design consider plants that will add texture to the surroundings. Fountain grass is one such plant. Its sprouting leaves resemble cascading water from a fountain and add softness to the landscape. Plants with very fine features, such as Creeping Boobialla, Butterfly Iris or Fine Gold Leaf Stonecrop, are important parts of the landscape. Placed either as a single element or into odd numbered groups, they can add light and dark contrast. When fine textured plants are placed where the rising or setting sun can accent them, it can create a very unique effect. This same effect can be achieved by the use of outdoor lighting as well.

Photo courtesy of CLC Landscape Design; Photo by Richard R. Cording

Modern Landscape Design – Plant Arrangement

Plant Arrangement for Modern Style Landscape DesignIt is very important in modern landscape design to avoid arranging plants on a grid or in straight lines. They may look great at the start of the season, but as plants age, die out or become damaged by weather it is very difficult to replace them with single plants that are perfectly matched in size. This can cause a major disruption to the aesthetic element of the landscape design. It is more favorable to use a natural approach when arranging plants, spacing them randomly.

Photo courtesy of Creative Master Pools

Modern Landscape Design - Ground Cover Plants

Plants for Ground Cover in Modern Style LandscapingUsing plants that are curved or have an irregular shape will add character to any landscaped area. To avoid empty or “dead” areas, place foliage or ground-hugging plants around trees. Make sure that the plants will remain low to the ground so that they will accentuate the area and not overwhelm the other greenery. When groundcover is used properly, it can be a dynamic feature in any modern landscape design. Creeping Fig or Alpine succulents can add a wide variety of color as well as texture to the ground area.

Photo courtesy of CLC Landscape Design; Photo by Richard R. Cording

Modern Landscape Design - Container Plants

Modern Landscape Design with Container PlantsMany areas in your backyard may be covered by cement or pavement so there is less soil to work with. This type of landscape offers a great opportunity to explore with container plants. Generally, containers are over-sized and add an architectural element to the landscape design. As a general rule, containers are chosen because of their unique geometric shape. Bowls, boxes, or cylinders can always be fitted perfectly with complimentary greenery. Usually, the pot’s shape will be in stark contrast with the shape of the plant. For instance, instead of placing the cylindrical Italian Cypress in a cylinder, it will be aesthetically pleasing when placed in a box. When selecting various pots to place greenery and plants in, choose those with the most artistic expression. The glaze, color, or patterns can all add something to the artistic design of a modern landscape.

Photo courtesy of Pacific Paradise Pools

About the author: Mark Simpson is a landscape design contractor and the owner of East Coast Landscape Design, in Bathesda, Md. Mark has many years of experience in landscape design and enjoys bringing backyards to life.

Top 10 Outdoor Living Trends

Every year the American Society of Landscape Architects surveys residential landscape professionals to rank the relative popularity of a wide variety of design features to be included in outdoor living spaces. This year, lighting, firepits, and areas for sitting and dining were expected to be the most sought-after enhancements for outdoor spaces.

Check out the list below to find out what else topped the list for 2011, and get ideas for your backyard for 2012.

Kichler Outdoor Landscape Lighting

Outdoor lighting (rated as popular for 2011 by 96.2% of the respondents) allows you to enjoy your backyard both day and night and creates an inviting atmosphere.

Landscape lights along pathways and walkways make it easy for you and your guest to reach sitting areas safely.

Outdoor lighting fixtures provide ambiance and adequate lighting for entertaining on your patio or deck at night.

Photo courtesy of Kichler Lighting

Fire pits/Fireplaces (94.2%)
Lexington Firepit from Brookstone

Outdoor firepits and fireplaces create the perfect nighttime gathering spot to relax, eat and drink, and share stories. They also let you enjoy your outdoor living space throughout fall and early winter.

Portable firepits come in a range of styles and materials, including wrought-iron, stainless steel, and copper to match any backyard.

Built-in firepits and fireplaces can be finished in stone or brick and add a custom look to your outdoor space.

      Photo courtesy of Brookstone

      Seating/Dining Areas (94.1%)
      Pride Family Brands Electra Cushioned Outdoor Dining Set

      Having various places for people to sit and socialize extends your living space to the outdoors.

      Outdoor dining options range from small Bistro sets for two people to large patio dining tables that seat up to 12.

      A simple wooden bench offers the perfect place to catch up with an old friend.

      Cushioned chairs and a few side tables encourage group conversation.

          Photo courtesy of Pride Family Brands

          Grills (93.8%)
          Performer Grill by Weber

          The grill is a backyard staple. There’s nothing like a summer barbecue with family and friends.

          From freestanding carts to complete grilling islands, there’s a grill to fit every lifestyle and budget.

          Fuel options include propane, natural gas, electric, and charcoal.

              2011 Weber-Stephen Products LLC. Used with Permission.

              Installed seating (89.5%)
              Master Pools Builder Gib-San Pools

              You can never have enough places to sit when entertaining outdoors.

              Incorporating retaining walls, ledges, benches, and steps in your backyard design adds both style and function.

                  Photo courtesy of Master Pools Builder: Gib-San Pools, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

                  Weatherized Outdoor Furniture (83.6%)
                  Palm Springs Rattan Kokomo Sectional

                  The latest outdoor furniture designs bring the comfort of your indoor living room to your backyard patio.

                  Durable materials, including wood, wicker, aluminum, wrought-iron, and plastic, ensure your outdoor furniture lasts for years.

                  Weatherproof fabrics add color and comfort.

                      Photo courtesy of Palm Springs Rattan & Garden Classics.
                      Photography by Chris Baber.

                      Space for Cooking & Entertaining
                      Weber Black Grill Station

                      Just like your indoor kitchen, having ample counter space (74.2%) and utility storage (61.3%) makes entertaining so much easier.

                      Stow cooking gear in cabinets and add a few bar stools around a counter top so that you can prep food and spend time with your guests.

                          2011 Weber-Stephen Products LLC.
                          Used with Permission.

                          Outdoor Entertainment
                          SunBrite Weatherproof Outdoor TV

                          With an outdoor stereo system (58.3%), wireless internet connection (46.35), and weatherproof TV (45.4%), no one will be thinking of going back indoors.

                              Photo courtesy of SunBriteTV.

                              Kitchen Conveniences
                              Photo courtesy of Cimarron Circle Construction Co.; Outdoor Kitchen Designed by Prideux Design; Photography by Balfour Walker

                              Having everything, including the kitchen sink (54.7%), eliminates the hassle of running in and out of the house.

                              Plus, an outdoor refrigerator (50.2%) not only keeps drinks cold but ensures proper handling of food.

                                  Aquatech, a National Society of Pool-Building & Retailing Professionals;
                                   Photo courtesy of Cimarron Circle Construction Co.; Designed by Prideux Design; Photography by Balfour Walker.

                                  Outdoor Heaters (44.4%)

                                  Outdoor Pergola Foegley Landscape, Inc.

                                  Outdoor heaters keep your patio or deck warm and toasty long after the summer has ended.

                                  Table top heaters take up minimal space and can be moved from one area to another. Freestanding units provide heat to large areas.

Outdoor Holiday & Winter Decor Ideas

Festive Ways to Decorate Your Yard for the Holidays

Deborah Silver & Co.

Take your backyard winter landscape from drab to fab by adding festive touches that celebrate the winter holiday season.

We’ve put together some easy and creative ideas for decorating your backyard with seasonal flair—after all, you can still enjoy the view of your backyard in the winter.

Photo courtesy of Deborah Silver & Co.|Detroit Garden Works

Trim Trees and Shrubs

Deborah Silver & Co. String white or colored lights around trees and shrubs to add a bit of glitz and glamour or create a warm glow by placing white, green, red, or winter blue spotlights under bushes.

Add Old-World charm by hanging battery- or solar-powered lanterns on tree branches at varying heights.

Decorate trees with plastic/outdoor ornaments or place holiday-hued gazing globes at the foot of trees for color and sparkle.

Tie bows of red ribbon around tree trunks and branches or wrap ribbon around box-shaped bushes to make them look like presents.

Attract birds by creating bird seed ornaments:

    1. Gather pine cones that are fairly open and tie a string or thin ribbon around the base of each pine cone.
    2. Spread peanut butter inside the pine cones and around the edges.
    3. Roll pine cone around on a plate of birdseed until the peanut butter is covered with seeds.
    4. Use the string to the attach the pine cones to tree branches.

      Deck the Patio & Fence
      Foegley Landscape, Inc.
      Drape garland made out of hardy evergreens like cedar, cypress, and euonymus over patio doors and deck/fence posts. Add berries, pine cones, and twigs for texture and color.

      Outline the perimeter of your patio or fence with festive pathway markers such as snowflakes, candy canes, stars, or giant Christmas bulbs.

      Photo courtesy of Foegley Landscape, Inc.

      Deborah Silver & Co. Make outdoor furniture part of your display by arranging string lights or garland over the backs of chairs and down the center of the table.

      Brighten a barren patio with colorful winter containers. Use boughs of evergreens (such as red or yellowtwig dogwood, pine, and fir), poinsettias, winterberry holly, reindeer moss, fruit, hydrangea blooms, and dried eucalyptus. And of course don’t forget to add twinkle lights!<

                Adorn Outdoor Structures

                Foegley Landscape, Inc. Wrap the poles and beams of an arbor, pergola, or gazebo with twinkling lights to create a dazzling winter wonderland once the snow arrives.

                Hang glittery snowflake decorations (sold at craft stores) or large Christmas balls from pergola beams or gazebo railings at varying lengths for interest and ambiance.
                Add holiday spirit to an outdoor shed or pool house by hanging a wreath or swag on the door, filling window boxes with boughs of evergreens, pinecones, and berries, and adding lights to the roof. You can even add a wooden sign by the door that says “Santa’s Workshop.”

                Turn your gazebo into a gift-giving showpiece by placing a decorated Christmas tree in the center.

                Bring the indoors out by placing a wreath above an outdoor fireplace or hanging stockings made of outdoor fabric from the mantel.
                Photo courtesy of Foegley Landscape, Inc.

Homeowners Design a Perfect Backyard Retreat


Johnston pool hot tub backyard
Homeowners Duane and Lisa Johnston of Anmore, British Columbia, Canada, wanted to create a backyard haven to enjoy with their two children. They designed, planned, and completed much of the work themselves, along with the help of a great team of people. The result? Not only did they get a summer oasis where their family can enjoy daily dips in the pool, but also a hot tub and outdoor kitchen they can use year-round.


We spoke with homeowner Lisa Johnston to learn how their amazing backyard project was completed.



Why did you want a pool, hot tub, and outdoor kitchen?


Since purchasing our home in February 2005, it was always our dream that 5 or 6 years down the road, when the children were older, we’d look into putting in an inground pool. Because our home sits on an acre, we’re fortunate to be able to incorporate a pool/spa/entertaining area while still having plenty of open lawn where the children can run and play. We look forward to our boys using this space as a hub where they can hang out with their friends as they get older. My husband and I also love entertaining.

Johnston pool deck jets bar
What materials were used for this project?


The concrete decking surrounding the pool was part of the original plan. We knew we wanted something plain (not too busy), and that the concrete had to come right to the edge of the pool in a cantilevered style. The outdoor kitchen countertop is granite, and the outside stone is West Coast ledger stone. The inside of the kitchen and backsplash is finished with slate tiles. 

What was your budget for this project?


The total planned budget was $150,000, and we went about $10,000 over. The costs were $50,000 for the pool, $50,000 for the outdoor kitchen, $30,000 for the concrete decking, $25,000 for landscaping, and $5,000 for the hot tub.


How long did the project take?

The entire project took about 9 months. The pool/hot tub were completed and ready for use by the end of June 2011.

Johnston pool constructionLead us through the planning/construction process.

Duane and I had a vision of what we wanted for the backyard and planned out the design. John Port at Parkview Landscaping, Ltd., truly captured our vision, added to it, and made the final look better than we could have imagined.  

The pool was dug in October 2010 and left to settle over the winter. There were a number of issues with the original pool contractor, so in February 2011 he was let go. Duane then took on much of the labor himself and hired separate contractors to assist in finishing the pool. Pedron Contracting, Ltd. poured the concrete for the pool bottom and surrounding deck. We marked out a diamond pattern in the decking and hired a company to cut it.

Johnston pool deck lounge area
Duane prepped the inside of the pool after the concrete was poured and installed all the plumbing and equipment in the pool house as well. He also taped the joints, hung the pool liner, and installed pool lights, valves, drain covers, an auto-fill, diving board, and even the deck jets, which are fun water features that shoot arcs of water over the pool.


Bentley Power Solutions completed the bonding of the pool and all electrical for the pool, equipment room, hot tub, outdoor kitchen, and outdoor lighting. Arjay Mechanical installed the gas lines for the pool, outdoor heater, barbecue, and built-in firepit. 

How was the fire feature installed?

The firepit was purchased as a unit; it has lava rocks on the bottom, ceramic logs, and is gas fed (so we can turn it on/off with a single switch). We advised our landscaper of the preferred placement, hired the gas fitter to bring a line to it, and had the landscaper design the retaining wall around it. It’s a great feature to use at night.


Johnston grill outdoor kitchen poolWhat’s included in your outdoor kitchen?

We purchased all the appliances first, and then contracted Dreamline Construction to construct the kitchen around them. The kitchen has a microwave, double gas burner, gas grill/smoker/rotisserie, deep fryer, beverage station, mini-fridge and ice maker, sink, dishwasher, overhead gas heater, and plenty of storage and counter space complete with a 55-inch weatherproof TV.


We already had a popcorn and slurpee machine, but added a hot dog hut to complete the ensemble. These three items, along with the deep fryer, were by far the favorites amongst not only our children, but all our guests throughout the summer. We used them on a daily basis. Having the raised bar area and bar stools makes this a great place to hang out and converse
with the cook.
Johnston outdoor kitchen overlooking pool

How often do you use the pool and other features?


We swam in the pool almost every day during the summer. The pool is now closed for the winter, but we’ll continue to use the hot tub year-round. The hot tub is separate from the pool so we’re able to keep it heated with the cover on, removing it only when in use. It’s also close proximity to the house, which we’ll appreciate during chilly whether.


The outdoor kitchen is completely shaded by the balcony above, so we can be cooking outdoors rain or shine. We plan to use the kitchen year-round.


John Port of Parkview Landscaping, Ltd., designed and completed the landscaping based on the Johnstons’ vision.

Pedron Contracting, Ltd., poured the pool bottom and concrete decking.

Bentley Power Solutions installed all the electrical.

Arjay Mechanical installed all gas lines.

Midland Appliances Ltd., supplied appliances for the kitchen.

The pool liner was purchased through Ideal Distributors in Surrey, BC. Two of their employees, Karsten Petersen and Sara Stanbury helped Duane gather the miscellaneous supplies necessary for him to hook up the pool and the deck jets. Ideal also supplied the salt and chemicals for start-up of the pool.

Easy Ways to Decorate Your Yard for Fall

Southern Living Magazine

Decorating your yard for fall is a great way to celebrate the natural beauty of the season and welcome the upcoming holidays. It can also be a fun family activity where you spend a crisp autumn afternoon sipping hot apple cider, playing in the leaves, and decorating the yard together.

Pumpkins, hay bales, and corn stalks are all you’ll need to turn your backyard into a delightful fall scene—and create the perfect background for taking pictures of the kids. Find inspiration below for ways to add these festive items to your yard.

Photo copyright Southern Living

- Nothing symbolizes the fall season more than pumpkins. These versatile veggies can be added to your fall landscape in a variety of ways.

    • - Place pumpkins of varying shapes and sizes in a series of rows in a designated area of your yard to create your own pumpkin patch.
    • - Paint or carve out letters on individual pumpkins and arrange them on steps or walkways to display messages such as “Welcome” or “Happy Fall.”
    • - Create charming pumpkin planters for your fall flowers by cutting a large opening on the top of the pumpkin and hollowing it out; then drill a drainage hole in the bottom of the pumpkin, fill it with potting soil, and add your favorite fall blossoms.

    • Scarecrows - Scarecrows are a fun addition to any fall setting. You can buy one from a local craft store or nursery, or make your own with a few simple items:

      1. 1. Grab an old pair of jeans and a plaid shirt and secure the ends of the legs and sleeves with rubber bands.
      2. 2. Attach the shirt to the jeans with safety pins and then stuff the clothing with newspaper or straw to form the body.
      3. 3. Stuff garden gloves and a pair of shoes with hay to make the hands and feet; use a pumpkin or pillow case filled with straw for the scarecrow’s head.
      4. 4. Finally, use markers or paint to create a face.

      5. Be as creative as you want. You can make your scarecrow resemble a family member, friendly neighbor, or even a famous celebrity for an amusing showpiece!

        Corn Stalks - Use dried cornstalks to add a rustic touch to your fall landscape.

          • - Tie a few tall corn stalks together with twine, raffia, or a decorative fall-colored ribbon and attach bundles around trees and gazebo posts or along your fence.
          • - Dress up an arbor or trellis by covering the structure in corn stalks and adding seasonal accents like Indian corn, acorns, and small gourds.
          Hay Bales – Available at home improvement stores or your local nursery, hay bales provide the perfect base for an attractive fall arrangement.

            • - Stack a couple hay bales in the corner of your patio, deck, or yard and set pumpkins, potted flowers, and other festive items on the different levels to make a charming display—and a great spot for pictures.
            • - You can also use hay bales as seating for outdoor fall gatherings or Halloween parties. Set a couple large, square hay bales in a row to make a simple bench or use several hay bales to form a couch:
              1. 1. Create the base of the couch by making two rows of three to four hay bales (the more hay bales, the wider the couch).
              2. 2. Stack another three to four hay bales on top of the back row to form the back of the couch.
              3. 3. Stack two additional hay bales on either side of the couch to form armrests.
              4. 4. Then cover the couch with burlap, canvas, or old sheets for a casual, yet chic spot to relax with family and friends.

              5. (Note: Keep hay bales away from your fireplace, firepit, or heater. Make sure you use dry hay as wet hay generates heat and can start a fire.)

Festive Fall Landscape Ideas

Southern Living Magazine

The brightly colored leaves, crisp weather, and festive atmosphere mean fall has arrived. The changing of the season marks the perfect time to update the look of your outdoor living space.

Whether you live in a region that experiences the lovely transition between summer and winter or an area that boasts summer-like weather practically year-round, you can easily transform your backyard into a dazzling autumn display using the warm colors and natural beauty of the season. Try some of these simple and inexpensive ideas to decorate your backyard landscape for the fall.

Photo copyright Southern Living

Seasonal Flowers
- An array of autumnal blooms can bring the rich, vibrant colors of the season to your yard.

    • - Chrysanthemums, or “mums,” are the classic fall flower, but Montbretia, Hypericum, Helenium, Aster, Roses, and even Sunflowers are ready available in the fall. All of these blooms boast the stunning warm hues of season, from golden yellows and fiery oranges to deep lavenders and crimson reds. (Check with your local horticultural extension about the best fall plants for your area.)
    • - Plant fall flowers directly in your garden or display them in pretty planters for an easy update. Container gardening makes it easy to move the plants in and out of the sun, depending on how they hold up in your climate. They are also great for adding color and interest to decks, patios, and walkways.

    • Autumn Wreaths - Take advantage of the natural beauty in your yard by using the colorful leaves to create decorative wreaths and swags to hang on your fence, deck, arbor, or outdoor fireplace. To make a wreath:

      • - Purchase a basic wreath form from your local craft store.
      • - Attach a group of leaves with ends facing clockwise to the base with hot glue or a U-shaped floral pin (available at craft stores).
      • - Keep adding the leaves in the same direction, slightly overlapping each grouping to conceal the pins/glue. Once you’ve made it around the base, repeat the process working counterclockwise to cover the entire base.
      • - For a decorative touch, you can embellish the wreath with pine cones, dried corn, berries, or other seasonal items.

      • (Note: If using the wreath inside your home, bake the leaves in an oven for 45 minutes at 200 degree F to kill any insects or eggs.)

        Fall-Themed Accessories - You can completely change the look of your patio or deck for fall simply by updating your outdoor furniture and accessories:

        • - Use outdoor cushions and pillows in the season’s warm tones, such as burgundy, gold, chocolate, orange, and red.
        • - Add a welcome mat or outdoor rug with the colors and images of fall such as leaves, pumpkins, trees, or acorns.
        • - Arrange twigs, small gourds, berries, pine cones, and other fall materials on your outdoor table to create a festive centerpiece. 
        Festive Lighting – The right outdoor light fixtures can create the perfect autumn ambience around your landscape.

        • - Establish the rustic feel of the harvest season with wrought-iron lantern-style light fixtures, such as wall sconces, deck posts, and chandeliers.
        • - Suspend several round, orange-colored paper lanterns from pergola beams or tree branches for an elegant accent that resembles to quintessential symbol of the season: pumpkins!
        • - Adorn deck rails, gazebo posts, or trees with strings of orange and yellow lights for seasonal sparkle.
        • - You can also strewn party lights with fall-themed covers, such as pumpkins, leaves, or acorns, along your fence for simple decoration.

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