Backyard Spotlight: Sage Outdoor Designs

What used to be an understated, grassy front yard now is a modern and sophisticated outdoor beach retreat. Simple lines and light colors serve as a backdrop for the space that features all the modern amenities often reserved for the backyard: built-in flat screen TV with retractable cover, fire feature, water element, multiple seating areas, even heat. A sleek fence and stylish door provide enough coverage to make the street-facing yard private for the entire family to enjoy.

More often than not, TVs are found in the backyard. But with this home's location off the coast of San Diego, glares from the sun made it more applicable to an area facing north, which in this case, was the front yard. When not in use, a retractable cover hides the TV from sight. Above, built-in heating provides warmth during the cool morning and evening breeze.

Three individual glass-enclosed flames offer ambiance and provide a balance of modernism while drawing on a natural element to create a serene escape.

Like many landscape designers, Kate Wiseman showcases her work on Houzz, where those searching for inspiration or someone to hire for their project can view work completed by her firm, Sage Outdoor Designs. Of all the questions she is asked by Houzz users about this project, the most popular is regarding the hardscape material. "It's integral colored concrete. That's all," she says with a laugh.

"This is a deceptive little water feature," says Kate Wiseman. "It doesn't look as hard to build as it actually is." To get the water to fall evenly from all five spouts is a physical challenge, she explains. To overcome this issue, she collaborated with the general contractor and they both came up with the idea to build a reservoir behind the spouts so that it would fill up with water first and then spill out all of the spouts simultaneously.

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