Creating Yards of Fun and Function
One of the biggest changes in the suburban landscape in recent years is that homeowners want more than a bluestone patio and a small seating area in their backyards. Just as their gardening visions have moved beyond taxus hedges and rambling forsythia, their desires to enjoy their property and put every square foot of outdoor space to good use have multiplied.
Custom builder Jeff Grasso is a firm believer in the value of front and backyards as extensions of homes. “You need to open up spaces thoughtfully before you try to fit in the elements you want,” he advises. “Those elements depend on your age, the age of your children, how much play space you need, and how you like to entertain.”
For many, an outdoor kitchen is a must, for others a concrete fire pit is just the thing. Screened-in porches are back. Pergolas not only define spaces but add elegance, says Grasso. “For homeowners who have come to appreciate quiet, I recommend a water feature — a fountain works wonders.”
While he enjoys helping clients figure out the best spot for a pool or spa and you’ll often see him on a backhoe moving earth during new construction, he defers to the pool firms when it comes to installation.
On beautiful nights, you’re likely to find Jeff Grasso, his wife Margaret, and their three children lounging on their open-air porch, a private, well-lit spot in which to catch up and relax.
“That’s what most families are looking for. I just try to open up their minds to new ideas, especially ones that enable them to take advantage of their outdoor spaces year-round.”