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This backyard was remodeled into the ultimate outdoor entertaining and hang out spot. Join Scott Cohen of The Green Scene, a Northridge, California landscape design and construction company, for an inside look at all of the outrageous features that make this yard the place to be.

Homeowner Needs

The owners of this yard wanted to upgrade their outdoor living space to better accommodate entertaining large groups. "One of the main goals was to create a space with lots of opportunities for family fun," says garden artisan Scott Cohen, "The owners wanted people to hang out in their yard rather than hanging out in someone else's yard." Other needs included accommodating the family's three large dogs as well as incorporating the owner's love of wine into the design.

Design Challenges

When Scott Cohen and his team at The Green Scene took on this project, the backyard had an existing swimming pool that was in disrepair. The rest of the yard was mainly a large, undefined space. Cohen's first concern was dividing the space up into distinct outdoor rooms that could be used for different purposes - one for dining, one for cooking, one for relaxing and so forth. Another challenge on this property was tying the old with the new. Instead of completely replacing the pool and decking Cohen needed to find ways to visually connect it with the new features he planned to add.

Design Solutions

The Green Scene turned this backyard into entertaining central by employing design tricks, such as elevation changes, material transitions and overhead structures, which give the feeling of having distinct areas. A large ramada was built that covers the outdoor living room and kitchen, making the space feel very similar to an indoor great room. The living area lends itself to relaxing with a large outdoor fireplace, oversized patio furniture and a weather-resistant television. While the fully-loaded kitchen, with every appliance imaginable, lends itself to entertaining and socializing. As Cohen says, "With an outdoor kitchen like this, where else would you want to be?"

Other areas of the yard intended to be places to hang out and have fun include an artificial turf putting green and a basketball court. Artificial turf was selected for the green because it would hold up better under the wear and tear of the family dogs. A deep-well hydro-therapy spa that sits 6-8 was also added to the existing pool.

In order to tie the existing pool and concrete decking with the new parts of the yard Cohen carried the brick pool coping over into the outdoor kitchen and on the outdoor fireplace. Brick bands and borders were also used in areas with new paving. Additionally the existing concrete was stained and etched to look like natural stone (watch a video showing the finished paving remodel).

The Final Touches

Cohen loves incorporating his client's personalities and passions into his designs. In this case, he knew that the homeowners loved wine, so he developed a wine connoisseur theme for their backyard. He designed an outdoor shower that incorporated 450 wine bottles in the walls and an old wine barrel as the water spout. Additionally, wine bottles were melted down and cast into the surface of the outdoor kitchen's bar top. At night fiber optic lights shine through the glass bottles creating a unique effect.

Scott Cohen operates The Green Scene, a landscape design and construction firm in Northridge, CA. He has made numerous appearances on HGTV, spoken at industry events and written books.

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