Backyard Paradise - Scottsdale Living Magazine Fall 2011

Transform Your Backyard Into A Paradise

Backyard Paradiso: Transform your backyard and entertain your guests outdoors.


Any patio can be turned into luxurious space given the right attention. But as you’re looking over your backyard, and possibly underwhelmed by its charm, try focusing on these three areas to create a fresh experience for you and your guests.

Relaxing Scents

There is nothing like the right amount of green and color to transform a desolate space into an inviting garden. Jay Harper, co-owner of Harper’s Nursery, says when looking at your little plot of paradise, think about bringing in plants that harmonize your senses of sight and smell.

“Jasmine and gardenias are fragrant,” Harper says. “Rosemary and lavender also smell good when touched. One thing to consider when entertaining at night, white flowers show up better than dark colors. White hibiscus are wonderful around a patio.”

When tackling the landscaping question, Harper suggests asking yourself what you like, whether it’s xeriscaping with low-water plants or creating a lush, green area. Another question to ask yourself if what fits with your lifestyle.

“Take into account future uses for your yard,” Harper says. “Perhaps you will want a pool later or have plans for children play areas.”

Two common mistakes to avoid are purchasing plants that will grow too big for the location or placing them in the wrong sun exposure. To prevent unsatisfactory results or dying plants, Harper says, “The best investment is to have a landscape architect or designer do a plan for you, whether you intend to do the project yourself or have it done for you. It will prevent you from having to do landscape in stages and won’t look like it was piecemealed together.”


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Photos: Kristine Deininger

Water Elements

If you think your pool needs a little refurbishing, Tim Maas, chief design consultant for Backyards Unlimited and Pool Jewelz, says to focus on the basics.

“The pool interior, deck and pool line tile are the standard ingredients of a pool,” Mass says. “If any one of these is shot, start there. Many people will not consider these low cost improvements, but it’s important to take care of these before adding water features, fire effects, boulder-scaping and lighting.”

If the inventory of your pool is looking good, then try dressing it up by adding accessories. Maas says the most popular elements are “glass tile interiors for pool, spa and fire features combined in one element.”

Other pool features include adding slides to pools and swim-up bars leading to gazebo and outdoor kitchens. “The new pool designs include 360-degree perimeter overflows where it appears you step right from the edge of deck into water without a cantilever edge,” Maas says.

For decks, Maas suggests natural stone such as travertine and Marbella. It will cost a little more but save you future maintenance problems.

As you plan to redo your deck, pool and outside entertainment area, Maas has a few tips when working with licensed contractors: “Get a few bids … remember the contractor and homeowner are entering into a marriage of sorts. You and the contractor should be able to talk things out. The last thing you want is for both parties looking for a divorce before the project is complete. This always adds to additional costs, so choose wisely.”


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Photos: Backyards Unlimited

Furnishing Touches

Creating a place to sit and breathe in the fresh air on your patio is easily done with the right furniture pieces. For a cozy and comfortable, Nancy Djariri, owner/designer of Sunset Patio, says, “Cabana styles are fabulous with full swags or valences and inviting deep seating pieces that say you must lounge here.”

If you’re going for elegance, she suggests finding pieces that fit your space. In determining what furniture works best, Djariri says to consider total space, views, color schemes and décor themes.

Some furniture faux pas include choosing too much furniture, improperly placing it or adding old and new pieces together without cohesion. Djariri says you can correct your mistakes by looking through outdoor magazines to get ideas.

However, if you’re still spatially and décor-challenged, call a designer.

“When you walk through your house into your backyard, the key is to make the backyard an extension of your home, so it is inviting and comfortable,” says Djariri. “Everybody can achieve outdoor resort style living on any budget by putting a little time and thought into it.”


Photo: Sunset Patio Photo: Sunset Patio Photo: Sunset Patio Photo: Sunset Patio
Photos: Sunset Patio

For more information about transforming your own backyard, the following companies can help you out:

Harper’s Nursery
2529 N. Hayden Road
(480) 946-3481
harpersnurseries.com

Backyards Unlimited and Pool Jewelz
19120 N. Pima Road
(480) 941-4663
mybackyardsunlimited.com

Sunset Patio
15020 N. Hayden Rd
(480) 203-2711
sunsetpatios.com


Scottsdale Living Magazine Fall 2011