Scottsdale Living Magazine Summer 2012, Backyard Living

Sandy Beaches, Resort-Inspired Pool Spaces Transform One’s Backyard

There’s No Place Like Home: Sandy beaches, resort-inspired pool spaces and more transform one’s backyard

All sweating aside, it’s never easy to stay cooped up indoors all summer despite how luxurious the air conditioning feels in contrast to the blistering 100-plus-degree temperatures outside.

Consider adding a built-in trampoline; Photo: French Accent LandscapingAs families are looking for more alternatives to stay active while staying cool in the heat of summertime, many are turning to their own backyards. Rather than getting a case of cabin fever, Valley residents are investing in the backyard of their dreams, perfect enough to call paradise.

Rising trends of staycations, or vacationing at home, are resulting in families learning to embrace the warmer temps and creating landscapes of peaceful escapes and kid-friendly retreats.Peaceful water features accent the surrounding landscape; Photo: French Accent Landscaping

“Homeowners’ mindsets are shifting,” says Christophe Martelly, president of French Accent Landscaping. “They are adapting their landscape to suit their lifestyle. They wish to experience their yard purely as a place for enjoyment, and what better way to do that than in your own backyard?”

When creating a space that everyone will love, start by recognizing exactly what is needed and how your family will be spending their time outdoors. Thinking beyond simple water features and blooming cacti, Martelly has incorporated several solutions for families searching to stay active while keeping cool.Add a poolside beach for both relaxation and play; Photo: French Accent Landscaping

“For families with small children, beaches near the pool are a great way for hours of safe fun. For active kids and teenagers, we now install in-ground trampolines, mini-tennis courts and badminton spaces. As for the adults, yoga pads and spaces for exercising are more commonly seen.”

Christophe Martelly, president of French Accent Landscaping, on his yoga pad.For something the entire family can enjoy, Martelly noted that many local residents are incorporating plenty of seating in the shade, as well as herb gardens, fire pits, misters and resort-inspired pool spaces. Additionally, Stephen Ramey, chief operating officer of Today’s Patio, says, “A lot of our customers look to create specific use areas in their backyards. They like having an area for dining and entertaining, and another area for casual conversations,” adding that, “people want to feel like they are in their living room even when they are outside.”

Artificial grass serves as a maintenance-free accenting element; Photo: French Accent LandscapingLooking at your property as an opportunity and an investment rather than a challenge will take the chore out of yard work. Even then, there are plenty of options to incorporate low maintenance plants and accenting features in your yard.

“Artificial grass is a dominant trend in Arizona landscaping,” Martelly says. “It’s pet-friendly, kid-friendly and chore-friendly. Perfect in in-formal and formal landscapes, artificial grass not only reduces our water-use footprint, but requires no mowing and little upkeep.”

Another popular trend in Valley yards, according to Martelly, is the use of LED landscape lights.

“LED lighting fixtures use less power, last up to 10 times longer than traditional lights and remain cool to the touch, thus, safer when used around children.” Incorporate both ground level lighting and spotlights for a space that can be enjoyed even after dusk.

As no Arizona home would be complete without some sort of water feature, it’s important to remember that safety is always key. Pool fences are great for children of all ages and should always be utilized. Additionally, many families have been looking toward the alternative of splash fountains and misters with which to keep cool. Martelly advises that, with any water feature, installation of re-circulation is a must.

“Controlled at a flip of the switch, re-circulating streams avoid the many hazards of pooling water.”

As local homeowners are altering their yards to reflect their wants and needs of staying cool while remaining active, Martelly sums up the recent evolution, saying, “Homeowners want to unwind outside with dinner, congregate with family and friends and experience their yards purely as a place for enjoyment.”

For more information about transforming your own backyard:

Today’s Patio
15500 N. Greenway Hayden Loop, Scottsdale
(480) 367-9700

French Accent Landscaping
36879 N. 38th St., Cave Creek
(602) 482-8211

Scottsdale Living Magazine Summer 2012

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