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Need a Break From the Backyard Blues?

A Little Creative Landscaping, Lighting May Put Your Wanderlust to Bed Once and for All

The pandemic left people no choice but to make do with a staycation, but now that the friendly skies once again beckon, many folks are still staying put.

In turn, this trend has fueled the latest craze in backyard makeovers. After all, why not take the $6,000 Americans typically shell out for a vacation and instead invest it in turning your backyard into its own exotic destination replete with amenities you cannot otherwise afford?

Once you factor in convenience and the dollars you save long term, making your backyard staycation-worthy makes good sense.

Joshua Koehn, Owner of Pristine Landscape and Lighting, says his crews have never been busier.

According to Koehn, the most popular upgrades today involve AstroTurf.

“There’s no maintenance with AstroTurf,” Koehn says. “And it always provides a nice, clean, perfect look.”

Koehn says outdoor kitchens, pergolas, and privacy walls are also in high demand.

But back to AstroTurf. In keeping with the current allure of staycations, Koehn says there has been a dramatic uptick in putting-green installations.

“One of the coolest things I've seen is several neighbors getting together to create a high-end miniature golf course. On the weekends, they go backyard to backyard playing 18 holes.”

The most elaborate backyard makeover Koehn has ever seen transformed a couple of acres into a sports complex with a swimming pool, putting green, batting cages, jogging trails, and tennis and basketball courts.

And one of Koehn’s current projects involves the installation of a rather posh pavilion that will double as a music venue.

“It’s not all about staycations,” Koehn says. “A lot of our clients are wanting to create outdoor spaces that will give them an excuse to have friends over instead of meeting up at a restaurant.”

Whatever course you take, it is important to know the dos and don’ts of contracting backyard makeovers.

Several red flags signal trouble, Koehn says.

“For starters, you want someone who shows up on time and communicates well. If they’re late in meeting you to give a quote, then there’s a good chance they’re probably not going to do much better when money’s involved.”

Secondly, you should always ask contractors to provide photos of previous projects.

“If they don’t have photos, they likely have no experience,” Koehn says. “Either that, or they’ve not done anything they’re proud of.”

Thirdly, you should always expect to receive a quote on the spot even if it’s a pricey project.

“Again, this tips you off as to whether you’re dealing with someone who has experience,” Koehn says.

“If they tell you they’ll get back to you, they’re probably calling their friends trying to figure out what to charge because they’ve never done anything like what you’re needing. And if they have no experience, you can only imagine what the outcome will be.”

Lastly, there exists technology that can provide a clear picture of what the final product will look like before work ever commences.

“If a project is $40,000-plus, I recommend using 3D CAD imagery so the customer never wonders, ‘If I had known what it would wind up looking like, I might’ve made some different decisions.’”

A CAD drawing usually runs from $1,500 to $3,000.

In lieu of CAD, Koehn says he can take pictures of the property and use overlays to give the customer a rough idea of what to expect.

“Either way, you should never go into a project not knowing exactly what you’re paying for.”

Contact Joshua and his team for more information at or 469-325-8191. 

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