Photo by Michael Woodall / Pool by Red Rock Pools & Spas
Photo by Michael Woodall / Pool by Red Rock Pools & Spas Photo by Michael Woodall / Pool by Red Rock Pools & Spas

Recently, I was invited to a friend’s end-of-the-summer pool party. She and her husband had moved into this house a little more than a year ago, and I asked her what she loved most about it.

Her eyes lit up. “Hands down, the backyard. It’s my haven. I practically lived out here all summer. In fact, it’s one of the biggest reasons we bought this house.”

The house is designed in such a way that it opens up the entire back wall to the yard to create a flowing indoor/outdoor meld. It’s airy, bright and quite lovely. The yard is spacious, with a nicely designed outdoor kitchen/dining area and landscaping on two levels, which was lined with large stones and interspersed with tall, shady trees. She went on to describe all the ways in which she and her husband enjoy the backyard and pool, and I could see how much it meant to them.

What my friend was saying isn’t surprising. For quite some time, we’ve reported on the growing importance homeowners are placing on outdoor living amenities. In fact, the latest Home Design Trends Survey by the American Institute of Architects revealed that well-designed outdoor spaces tops the list for the most desired home feature, with 62 percent of the votes.

The industry is keen to capture this exploding market. Many pool retailers wisely have broadened their inventory to offer more of what was once considered peripheral products, such as outdoor furniture, barbecues, fire pits and the like. Pool builders are called on to design outdoor kitchens and pleasing waterfeatures more often than ever before. And the landscaping desires of the homeowner have increased the need for pool builders and landscape architects to work together, or expand their professional skills in these areas.

To address that growth, we added a new column to Pool & Spa News earlier this year called Backyard Style. In it, we showcase ideas or identify trends pertaining to outdoor living that will help your business. To further that effort, I’m pleased to introduce you to Backyard Living, a new e-newsletter designed to bring you the latest news, trends, products and how-to’s to keep you at the top of your backyard game.

This inaugural issue includes a few how-to’s. There’s a new Backyard Style column on selecting the right fire feature, a story on the use of trellises and arbors in backyard design, and a feature on pool fencing design considerations. In addition, we have curated a few highly relevant stories – one on the brewing battle for contractors between Amazon Home Services and Angie's List; another affecting California's landscapers as they continue to deal with the massive drought; and a wonderful infographic from the Department of Energy on how smart landscaping can lower energy use. Lastly, there’s Backyard Spotlight, a place where you can tout your best backyard efforts and how you were able to not just meet, but exceed, the homeowner’s expectations. This issue’s project, by renowned landscape lighting architect Jan Moyer, is a perfect study on incorporating beautiful lighting to landscape design.

We’re so excited to expand our reach. But we can’t do it alone. We need your input! What would you like to see us cover in this e-newsletter? How has your business changed to accommodate this growing market? In what areas are you experiencing success? Please leave your comments below, or feel free to email me directly at

In the meantime, enjoy our new Backyard!