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You know that you want to get more use out of your backyard, but what exactly does that look like for you? Homeowners have nearly endless options for customizing their space, but one issue we often see is that they dream too small. We hear from our customers time and again that they had no idea how much they’d end up using in their backyard after adding a pergola, fire pit, or other social feature.

It’s amazing how quickly an outdoor space can transform from a rarely used place to the best social spot in the neighborhood with the thoughtful construction of a social space. Today, we’re sharing some tips to help you think big for your backyard project so that you get the most out of your upgrade. We’re also sharing some guidance to help you plan for the future so that you save money on your project in the long run.


How many times have you looked out at your yard and wished that you had a better place for your kids or grandkids to play? When you look into the vast sea of grass, what possibilities do you see? Can you envision your friends and relatives joining you for a summer barbecue, or watching the fireworks on the 4th of July? Do you see your loved ones gathered around a fire pit on a crisp fall evening?

The layout for your space should accommodate how you see yourself using your yard now and in the future. Will you primarily host cozy, intimate gatherings, or large get-togethers with your entire extended family? Outdoor fireplaces have enclosed backs, which limits the number of seats around the feature. The result is an enclosed, intimate gathering space for small groups. Fire pits, on the other hand, accommodate seating around the entire perimeter. They create an inviting, social space for a crowd. Both features provide warmth and heat on a cool evening, but the way you use them is entirely different.

Building your dream backyard is about creating experiences and memories, but not all structures will accommodate your vision. Don’t think too small when creating your ideal outdoor space!

You may love the way that an outdoor fireplace looks, but prefer the memories that you can create while roasting marshmallows around a fire pit with your kids or grandkids. If you want a space where you can gather and visit with your loved ones, a fire pit may be the best choice. However, if you desire a quiet space where you can unwind and reflect in solitude, a fireplace might be the perfect outdoor element.


Adding beautiful features to your yard will completely change how you use your outdoor space, sometimes in ways that you may not expect. Get the most out of your project by taking the time to explore all of your options and develop a clear plan. Many of our customers are young families who intend to spend several years working toward building their dream space. Having a vision for how the entire yard will evolve helps them make smart decisions from the start so that they execute their vision seamlessly.

One issue we’ve encountered is homeowners who get ahead of themselves and begin work on their yard before finalizing their ultimate layout. For example, some homeowners pour a concrete pad large enough to accommodate a pergola, kitchen, and fire pit, thinking that it will save them money to pour it all at once. However, they forget to add essential utilities, such as water and gas lines.

If you’re planning to add an outdoor kitchen or fire pit, even if it’s five or more years down the road, plumb for it now. If you don’t, you’ll probably have to tear out concrete when you’re ready to add an outdoor sink or connect your grill to a gas line.

Recently, Green Okie’s Team worked with a homeowner who had a grand vision that included a fire pit, an outdoor kitchen, and a bar-height island. Together, they did a lot of planning to create the ideal layout before pouring any concrete. Because of extensive preparation, Green Okie knew exactly where to build the kitchen, pergola, and fire pit. Using this design, Green Okie’s team was able to “rough in” the water and gas utilities before the crew poured the concrete. The entire area was ready to accommodate all of our client’s backyard elements for a quick, easy installation.


Even if you’re not ready to start construction on your dream backyard yet, come and plan with us. We love vision crafting with homeowners, and putting in the work upfront makes it easy to execute on your vision whenever you’re ready.

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