Eight Essentials for a Stellar Backyard

The backyard is where the rubber meets the road when it comes to the boons of SoCal living.

You can — and should — spend four seasons back there. But summer’s the best time to talk about improvements.

To help you in that endeavor, we have eight ideas for retooling, fine-tuning and drought proofing your real estate.

Skip the umbrella and go for sun screens

Umbrellas are big, cumbersome and prone to make you bob and weave out of their way. Sunscreens, which first popped onto the California design scene in the 1955, are svelte and smart while still getting the job done.

Design Within Reach Midcentury Sunshade, $1,600.00

To keep a drought tolerant backyard green, use more planters

A water-wise Angeleno practices drought-resistant landscaping. But to keep things green, supplement ledges and tables with potted succulents. Go for interesting pots, like those from Molly Wood Gardening, geometric stands from Eric Trine or hanging orbs by Potted Designs.

  1. Eric Trine Octahedron Ring Planter, $55.00
  2. Molly Wood Gardening Handmade Scallop Pot, $35.00
  3. Potted Designs Orbit Planter, $95.00

Mix up your furniture for a fresher look

Sticking with one theme — wood, say — is totally fine. However, it’s nice to mix things up a bit. James Perse’s Malibu collection consists of low-profile teak couches, benches, tables and daybeds for the pool. Great stuff. But add a couple of Eric Trine’s metal and leather seats for variety.

  1. Eric Trine Rod-Weave Chair, $1,950.00
  2. Eric Trine Octahedron Side Table, $299.00
  3. James Perse Malibu, prices vary

You can’t start summer without one of these in your pool

The inflatable furniture made by Pigro Felice is meant to be used in and out of the water, but keep it in the water. Looks better there. You’ll need to get a pump, and why not throw in an inflatable seal — a little something for the kids.

  1. Pigro Felice Inflatable Sofa, $729.00
  2. Black Inflatable Seal, $89.00
  3. Pump, $19.00

Café and fairy lights make a backyard look enchanting, but consider other options

Anglepoise has a giant desk lamp that can go just about anywhere and functions as pop art on your back porch. The big light was inspired by Roald Dahl’s The BFG, as Dahl used a smaller-sized Anglepoise lamp in the hut where he wrote it.

Anglepoise Giant Outdoor Floorlamp, $5,300.00

Grills are obligatory. Pizza ovens? That’s where your backyard triumphs.

Tennessee Stone and Design just put their portable pizza oven on Kickstarter, and it’s pretty damn good looking. The brick oven design is modular, so it can be broken down and assembled wherever you go. It heats up to 800 degrees, which is the temp at which Chef Ori Menashe makes his doughy masterpieces at Bestia.

Tennessee Stone and Design Pizza Oven, reserve prices vary

Use drought tolerance to your benefit with a game area

Grass needs water. Gravel needs nothing. Take a strip and put in a bocce court, or add this backgammon table from Restoration Hardware. It’s stone, requires little cleaning and looks like furniture.

Restoration Hardware James de Wulf Outdoor Backgammon Table, $6,995.00

Your backyard is so comfy you might as well watch television there

But do so with a TV made for outdoor viewing. Local company SunBrite’s new 84” Pro Series has a tempered glass shield that protects the LED screen and keeps off the glare. Both the screen and the remote control are weatherproof, and it’s heating and cooling system can withstand temps of up to 122 degrees.

SunBrite 84” Pro Series: $24,995.00