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Creating a Backyard Oasis – Part 3: Pavers, Masonry, and Fireplaces

In this last of our three-part series, we will explore some of the design touches that make backyard living unique and turn your backyard into a place where you can stamp your style. It’s interesting to see how homeowners innovate this space.

Some maintain the same design aesthetic from their living room straight on out to the pool and patio, while others embrace a wholly unique look and feel to their outdoor entertainment area. They give their backyard a little of that “escape from the ordinary” philosophy.

Outdoor Kitchens

As we explored in the first of the series, besides the addition of a backyard swimming pool and spa, one of the biggest alterations you can make is the installation of an outdoor kitchen. Using fixtures, finishes, and options that rival many interior kitchens, with this home improvement, your exterior space will never be the same. It’s an outdoor family room! With food and a wine frig!


In Part 2, thanks to some exceptional inspirations by Better Homes and Gardens, we picked our 5 favorite uses of the versatile pergola when mixed and matched with new and existing patio structures. For architectural interest that ranges from Zen to a perfect party place, there’s nothing not to love about the affordably adaptable pergola. Whether it is standing out or blending in, you can easily elevate the look of your backyard oasis and even continue to build on the core pergola to add more creative components.


In interior design, floors and walls don’t always get a great deal of attention. There are certainly decisions to be made about whether to go with hardwoods, bamboo, tile, or carpeting and then all the design and color choices for each.

A good deal of thought goes into choosing paint colors, because there are so many and because those colors provide the palette upon which the furnishings reflect. Sometimes the walls are treated to wainscoting details or built-in shelves, but by and large the floors and the walls are the stage. They can make a statement, but they aren’t often the stars of the show.

The place where the floor can really shine is in your outdoor space. While pavers too come in an endless array of shapes and sizes, their artistic layout lends itself to so much more. From clay to slate to bluestone, what we can generically refer to as pavers both define and beautify the spaces where they are installed.

Pavers are no longer relegated to the 20’ x 15’ area outside of your back door. They are used to define, highlight, and guide. Here are some great design ideas courtesy of The Spruce!

And here are just a few ways we like to see pavers used:

  • Create a high-end look around your pool.
  • Design pathways that lead to your pergola, spa, or changing cabana.
  • Encircle your fire pit or outdoor fireplace.
  • Intersperse colorful stones or smooth gravel in wide margins between pavers.
  • Place chaise lounges and umbrellas over smooth rectangular tiles sleekly bonded with a complementary mortar.
  • Dig down in lush sod to place tiles as stepping stones with the grass serving as the grout that separates them.
  • Interlocking pavers provide a more uniform look, but the patterning of their placement keeps it interesting.
  • Define a quiet area away from the pool and patio that you can landscape and outfit with a softly gurgling fountain as a quiet place to read or meditate.

When laying a hardwood floor, you stagger the planks. With tiles or pavers, you can purchase the same color and style in different sizes. So depending on the area being “pavered,” you can mix up the boxes of 12” x 24” with 24” x 24” tiles to create patterns.

Bottom line: don’t be afraid of juxtaposing different shapes and even adding completely different tiles to frame the base tile and to add contrast. Lay them out and move them around until you come upon the design you really want before committing to their installation.


Stone and brickwork add brilliant nuances to any outdoor retreat. Low stone walls built along a patio’s perimeter and topped with rectangular slate tiles define and beautify the space while providing a natural seating area for your guests.

For steps down from your patio, instead of traditional handrails, you can go a little more rustic when you have a mini wall built up alongside the steps for a natural-looking banister.

The contrast of modern amenities like outdoor kitchens with traditional stonework makes for a particularly appealing visual.

Stonework on the front side of the kitchen island accompanied by standalone benches is a beautiful addition to your space. A short wall built around a fountain will also add depth to that feature. The inclusion of this kind of material helps integrate contemporary conveniences with the yard’s natural setting.

Plus, an infinite variety of stone options means no two backyard designs will look alike!


Fireplaces and firepits are the rage everywhere. Winter or summer, outdoor lovers are gathering with friends to share laughs and cocktails while enjoying the flickering beauty. What’s wonderful about this backyard addition is that you can enjoy one at every budget point.

DIY Network serves up 66 Fire Pit and Outdoor Fireplace Ideas that “let you get as simple or as fancy as your time and budget allow.”

You can start small with a portable table top fire pit until you’re ready to install a permanent structure. Whatever you choose for your backyard retreat, when you add a hearth like this to your home, you are harkening back to our ancestral roots.

In a Huffington post article, The Evolutionary Reason Why We Love Sitting By A Crackling Fire, anthropologist Christopher Lynn hypothesized, “We may have evolved to enjoy being around fires because they were historically important means of fostering social cohesion. During the stone age, humans likely socialized around camp fires, a place where they felt safe and warm.”

As for us, we are pool financing solution experts who also provide the means to install outdoor kitchens, pergolas and patios, pavers and masonry, and those hypnotic outdoor fireplaces. Low rates and up to 20-year terms make the decision to renovate a home much easier.

At Lyon Financial, we love the difference we can make for your family by providing something that puts years of memories within reach. Call 877-754-5966 for more information about installing your corner of paradise.