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Backyard patio, outdoor kitchen, sitting and dining areas, pergola with whimsical light and a lawn

With some of the best weather in the country, Los Angeles offers prime conditions for outdoor living. That’s exactly what one Yardzen client, Davida B., had in mind when she came to Yardzen. “We want a backyard we can sit in and enjoy, watch the kids play, and host BBQs with friends and family,” she says. Their West LA yard had potential, but it was underutilized. “We have this nice space but we don’t currently use it because it’s not functional,” she explains. So, Davida and her family hired Yardzen to design their space and Yardzen Pro Network contractors, MG Construction & Decks, to build their design.

Backyard dining area next to lawn grass

The “before” of the backyard

The Vision

Going into the Yardzen design process, the client had a pretty specific plan in mind. First and foremost, they’d extend the existing stone patio to link to the fire pit zone, and replace the fire pit itself with a new and improved outdoor kitchen. The existing dining zone, centered on the living room doors, would shift from to this new kitchen zone, creating a cooking and entertaining hub.

With dining relocated, the central patio would transition to a more casual lounge space, while the existing outdoor kitchen, across the yard, could be scrapped and replaced by a hot tub. The middle lawn would remain an easily-viewed play space for the kids.

One additional priority was the lawn, which was time- and resource-intensive and had become weathered and brown. In its place, the client requested artificial grass, which holds up very well to the Los Angeles heat and creates an easy-to-maintain play space for the kids. (Read more in our Guide to Grass Alternatives.)

Backyard patio, entertaining areas with pergola, and an outdoor kitchen next to a lawn

The Design

Working together, Yardzen and the client developed a design that achieved the client’s wish of breathing life back into their yard. As envisioned, the stone patio extended, forming an L-shape that accommodated a new kitchen and dining area, while also creating a nice space for existing guest room doors to open onto.

In a key break from the client’s roadmap, the designer placed the hot tub next to the cooking and dining area, rather than across the yard. Keeping the tub close to the active epicenter of the design made it more socially connected, increased its likelihood of use, and allowed for a larger uninterrupted play space for the kids.

A pergola above and curb-height deck below accentuates the hot tub area as a separate zone, yet the pergola’s broad opening to the lawn maintains a strong sense of connection to the surrounding yard.

Backyard patio with lounge couches and dining area next to a lawn

The completed backyard by MG Construction & Decks!

The Build

With final designs in hand, Yardzen’s team connected the client with Pro Network contractors MG Construction & Decks to install their new landscape. Yardzen’s vetted network of contractors, our Pro Network, consists of exceptional talent in the landscape construction field. Every contractor in our network is licensed, bonded, and insured, and has a public record of excellent work.

As with many construction projects, MG Construction & Decks worked with Davida and her family on last-mile design changes in the field— this is to be expected with any construction project, and it is one the many reasons why we have such high stands for our Pro Network. After walking the site and reviewing the design, the client and contractor developed a few key design adjustments.

  • First and foremost, MG Construction & Decks replaced the stone patio with TimberTech decking. The client was never wild about their existing stone, but had shied away from decking for fear of staining and fading color. Fortunately, TimberTech is remarkably stain, scratch, and fade resistant, even when confronted with rambunctious children and California sunshine.  It’s also much more weather and moisture resistant than wood, making it a viable choice for an in-ground deck, which was necessary to accommodate the fixed elevations of the client’s living and guest room doors.

  • Next, MG and the client relocated the pergola from the hot tub to the central patio. In its new home above the living room doors, the pergola could mount directly to the house, leaving only two structural posts below. This maximized free-flowing circulation while establishing the new lounge zone beneath the pergola as a distinct space. The added shade was a great perk, too. With no ceiling above, the hot tub could be wrapped in handsome deck stairs. With this single adjustment, the design could hide the above-ground tub, provide informal seating facing the lawn and kitchen, and materially link the hot tub to the broader patio.

Outdoor kitchen next to a dining area
  • The kitchen itself retained it’s designed L-shape, but welcomed the raised hot tub decking along the back of the counter, establishing a strong link and social opportunity for bathers to share a drink with folks who’d rather stay dry.

Backyard patio, sitting and dining areas with whimsical lights next to a lawn

The Result

Today, the client’s dream landscape is a reality— you can catch them enjoying life outside with family and friends, doing what they hoped to do in their yard.

Credit the success of their project to a strong initial vision, a flexible and collaborative outlook, and expert stewardship from Yardzen’s build partners, MG Decks.

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