Space To Play
August, 2016 - Issue #142

This Valencia yard is big on entertainment, if not huge in square footage. "But by Valencia standards, we have a large yard," says the homeowner. "We have a lot of space to entertain, enough room for a pool, areas to lay out, throw a ball. It's really a family-friendly party yard," she says of her English-styled space.

Pools that Remind us of Swimming Holes
Surrounded by soft, natural grass, the space has a more gentle, organic feel than most pool areas. "We wanted it to feel more like a swimming hole, to keep as much 'yard' as possible," says the homeowner. "The kids can run without slipping; they just jump right in!" The natural feel is carried through color choices, too. "It's black and white, a neutral pairing in my mind. That lets us add any color accents we like." The pool tiles are concrete and handmade glass, similar to the tile you'd find in the kitchen.

Special Reminders of Favorite Places
Framed by welcoming teak lounges is a statue, "Winged Victory." "The original is at the Louvre in Paris. We love Paris and travel quite a bit," says the homeowner.

With three kids ages 12 and younger and an expansive family tree, the area sees its fair share of excitement - but you won't find theme-park waterslides or SCV's Tuscan themes here. "We wanted to have the yard match the interior of our home, which is why we went with more of an English-style pool. It's definitely unique, especially surrounded by grass and not a lot of hardscape," says the homeowner.

Rustic Dining in the Shade
A simple pine table and benches topped with sheepskin take harbor from the SCV sun under a shade tree. Colorful serveware, bold golden blooms and a distressed chandelier cultivate a sense of organic whimsy in the outdoor dining area. Says the homeowner: "We wanted it to be in the shade so that it's comfortable while we're eating or working on our laptops while the kids are swimming. We use it for all kinds of things. The custom benches make it easy for the kids to pop in and out."

All-weather Al Fresco Space
The homeowners dine fireside under bistro lights when it's cold; it's also the top spot for treating a friend to coffee and conversation. We love how the yard's brick hardscape echoes the fireplace's design, too!

Bold Striped Towels on Display
An injection of happy color is usefully displayed on the mounted towel rack. The linens can be easily swapped to coordinate with the season or special event.

Private Rambling Spaces
An English garden path - with bushes, roses and plenty of shade - allows easy access from the front to the back of the house.

Outdoor Dining with DIY
The homeowners custom built the outdoor "island," pictured here at the end of the built-in barbecue, themselves. The portable prep piece is often used for extra serving space - and as a lemonade stand.

Coordinating Concrete
The custom-built barbecue top is concrete, poured to match the concrete coping around the pool.

Simple Outdoor Serving
Enjoy your guests more by creating a simple "serve yourself" space with spill-and-bug-proof beverage containers. Make your own by using a drill press or drill to poke a hole in the lid of upcycled bottles.
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