Column: Essentials of elegant backyard spaces


Commentary by Randy Sorrell and Bill Bernard

With more than a quarter century of experience, we’ve been able to identify a list of what we believe are the four essential elements of highly effective outdoor living spaces: shade, privacy, style and low maintenance. These are the four elements that invariably become topics of discussion during the design phase of every successful outdoor living project. 


Shade can be achieved by various methods and to varying degrees. The most successful projects often employ a combination of approaches that work together to create a space where the quantity, character and quality of light varies throughout the day and seasons.


Not only do good fences make good neighbors, but (much like shade structures) utilizing multiple styles, methods and configurations of “fences” often make for the most enjoyable spaces. Privacy can be achieved in the form of landscaping, a pergola, a grill station, a fire feature, or even a series of decorative steel panels.  Sometimes, the privacy you’re creating is from various living spaces within your own backyard.


With the advent of new materials, product manufacturers have propelled the design capabilities of items such as furniture and fabrics. Being fashionable is at the forefront of many of our clients’ minds and we can now offer options that are comfortable and stylish without compromising durability.

Low maintenance

We want to ensure that our clients spend more time enjoying their outdoor living spaces than tending to them. Material selections, plant selections and even design-feature layouts can all help achieve a low-maintenance space.

Stay home, be moved