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How To Turn Your Backyard Into An Entertainer's Paradise

Before - The Highland House

When we first got our hands on this beauty, we realized the potential of the outdoor space almost immediately. But the previous owners had segmented the backyard into a bunch of small spaces that felt cramped and to be totally honest, there was WAY too much of the land dedicated to driveway - on the front and back of the house.

First thing we did was to take down the fence that made the pool feel dark and cramped. It wasn't inviting and there was no great entrance from any point in the home. Opening that up really helped open the entire yard and create flow and sight lines from one end of this property to the other.

Opening up all the fencing created one large space for any given activity to feel connected in the backyard, allowing for ample entertaining areas! Keeping in mind the weather in Santa Barbara, (consistent 70s throughout the year) indoor-outdoor living was our #1 priority. We added a fire pit area for roasting marshmallows and after-dinner drinks, and to top it off, an herb garden for convenient backyard grocery shopping. Near the pool we added a long stretch of grass to break up the hardscape surfaces, which adds a great spot for kids to play. On the other end of the backyard, a space for bocce ball or horse shoes, which we doubled as a potential outdoor dining area for larger parties, with bistro lighting for added ambiance.

Now with that being said, a complete overhaul of your backyard sometimes isn't realistic given budget or space restrictions. Here are some tips for small ways to update and freshen up your backyard:

1. Lay down fresh grass. It really can brighten your backyard up and make it feel brand new (although, here in CA we do try to limit our grassy areas because of the drought!)

2. Invest in updated, coordinated outdoor furniture. If you're on a budget Wayfair and Target have some great, affordable options!

3. Buy some games! Giant Jenga can be found on or look into getting a corn hole set - you can even customize these with your favorite sports teams (we personally have a Patriots set for Football Sunday fun!)

4. Bistro Lights, Bistro Lights, Bistro Lights! We can never get enough of these. They create such a warm, inviting environment and add just the right amount of ambient lighting for dinner - you'll feel like you're dining al fresco in Europe!

5. Add a fire pit. If you have the space, this is a great spot to gather after dinner to relax and catch up with friends or family.

Follow us on @hearthhomesinteriors to see more outdoor entertaining inspiration!


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