A Dream Backyard Comes to Life

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This updated outdoor living area offers a stunning invitation to unwind, kick back and enjoy the moment.

Story by Ann Butenas   |   Photography by Matthew Anderson

Even though summer is in the rearview mirror and winter is right around the corner, this is a picture perfect setting for a relaxing evening under the stars as the tides of autumn usher in.

The combination of a backyard pool, an outdoor kitchen and accompanying fireplace, along with some gorgeous landscape design is the perfect way to accent a home with additional space to entertain, relax and unwind. However, it took a bit of ingenuity and some sweat equity to get this place into such glowing shape.

When the owners of this Leawood residence, Emily and Jose Paquette, decided to spruce up their backyard, they turned to the experts at Lawn & Landscape Solutions. Owner and President Sean Baxter was thrilled to work with such an enthusiastic and open-minded couple. When the Paquettes found this home nearly four years ago, they knew it would be the perfect place in which to raise their family. They loved the neighborhood and the floorplan but realized the backyard needed a bit of a facelift if they wanted to make full use of the space.

“Emily and Jose were so nice to work with, and it was such a good experience,” noted Sean. “They were highly involved with the entire project and had a lot of great ideas about what they wanted to do with the space. They had a conceptual plan of what they wanted and we worked together to modify the backyard to fit the parameters of what Leawood would approve.”

As the backyard was essentially gutted, a huge order of business was to give new life to the pool, which was in quite a state of disrepair.

“We replumbed and refinished the pool, added new coping and installed new tile and lighting features,” indicated Sean, whose crew also removed an old spa and in its place added plants and trees. “The surrounding pavers are made of Indiana limestone and were cut into a French pattern and were all hand-laid.”

Prior to this new design, there used to be a deck but no usable patio space in the backyard. Lawn & Landscape Solutions installed the fireplace in that area.

In addition to the pool and the fireplace, the outdoor kitchen has become a favorite spot of the homeowners. The L-shaped island is home to a burner, refrigerator, and smoker. The island also has access doors for storage. The unique round countertop at the end allows for additional seating and the addition of an umbrella. A separate seating area is contiguous to the wood-burning fireplace, extending the usability of the space.

“This setting adds to the romantic ambiance of the space,” reflected Sean.

Several unique plant hangers stand along the outside perimeter of the pool area, which were inspired by Jose.

“These hanging baskets were Jose’s idea,” noted Emily. “We had six of them custom-made, and each of them has an irrigation system running up and through them to water the plants.”

As these plant hangers add color and variety to the scene, Emily looks forward to using them year-round.

“I plan to add bulbs and garlands to them at Christmas,” she indicated. And as Halloween and Thanksgiving approach, Emily enjoyed decorating the backyard area with fall colors and pumpkins to celebrate the changing of the seasons.

“Summer may be over, but there are still plenty of opportunities to use this backyard,” she smiled. “We enjoyed working with Sean and his crew. They did such a great job. We can’t wait to bring the TV out here and watch the Chiefs this season, as well as entertain family and friends. We love hanging out in our backyard!”

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