Latest Housing Trend: Luxury Yards

Apparently a pool, barbecue, and some lounge chairs is no longer enough for an elegant backyard. Full kitchens, movie theaters, bathtubs, and even air conditioning are among the items being integrated into luxury outdoor rooms.

Perhaps the decline in average home sizes during the recession simply failed to account for the growth in occupiable spaces outside the house. Candace Jackson looks at the latest trend in luxury backyards that seek to offer the equivalent of an in-home experience outdoors. 

"Backyard entertainment spaces have been around for years, but the depressed real-estate market over the past few years has fueled an urge to 'invest in existing homes and make them something more usable,' says Mark Demerly, a board member of the American Institute of Architects Custom Residential Network. Interior designers and architects say they are increasingly asked to create climate-controlled oases, with commercial-grade heating and cooling systems, plus automated mosquito control," explains Jackson. 

"'The homeowner basically wants you to duplicate what they have indoors, outdoors,' says Larry Smith, the marketing manager of Brown Jordan Outdoor Kitchens, a Wallingford, Conn.-based company that made the cabinetry in the Ressler home. Newer options include a round Benihana-style 'social grill' designed for gathering around during outdoor parties. 'Strange as it may seem, it's as popular in North Dakota and Montana as it is in Southern California.'"

The only thing that seems to be missing from these luxury backyards: the yard itself. 

Full Story: Take It Outside

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