The “Property Brothers” stars know that the coronavirus pandemic has made backyards a premium real estate feature. And, on the latest episode of “Celebrity IOU,” they reveal some prime ways to deck it out.
In the season 2 episode “Justin Hartley’s Bombshell,” actor Justin Hartley enlists Drew and Jonathan Scott to help his friend Mat upgrade his backyard. Mat and his family moved into their Los Angeles house just a year and a half ago, and they spent all of their savings renovating the interior.
While staying home in 2020 in a newly updated house may sound great, this family was still stuck with a run-down backyard and a broken pool. Now, Drew and Jonathan have just three weeks to fix up this outdoor space and make it match the modern look of the house.
See how the Scott brothers give this yard everything it needs to ride out the pandemic—which might inspire a few changes in your own backyard, too.
1. Add indoor luxury to your yard with an outdoor kitchen and bar
Drew and Jonathan know, from the beginning, that they want to give this yard an outdoor kitchen with a grill, fridge, pizza oven, and porcelain counter. But halfway through the project, Hartley requests the extension of the porcelain counter to include a bar.
“Mat hasn’t been able to get around to installing a bar inside, so Justin wants to give him one outside,” Jonathan says. “This stunning porcelain-top bar will not only be a focal feature, but the perfect spot for Justin and Mat to sip on their favorite spirits.”
When the bar is finished, it looks beautiful. Plus, with this extra porcelain bar surface to be used as an eating area or an extra food prep space, this outdoor kitchen is as functional as an indoor kitchen.
2. A pergola provides shade for outdoor dining
With a kitchen and bar ready to go, the brothers know this backyard will need a great dining area. And while setting up a table and chairs is easy enough, Drew and Jonathan realize that the hardest part of outdoor dining in California is planning for the sun.
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This backyard will get warm, especially during the summer, so the Scott brothers add a pergola to the dining space.
While any shade will undoubtedly be appreciated in this space, this pergola comes with Hartley’s touch of star quality because the slats up top can be electronically shifted to let in a little bit of sun (or none at all). It’s a great upgrade that makes this beautiful yard feel ultraluxe.
3. Choose a colorful waterline tile for a modern pool
One of the most important things on Hartley’s list is to fix up the broken pool. Not only does it need to work so Mat and his family can finally go swimming, but it also needs a serious style update.
So, while the Scott brothers handle getting this pool up and running, it’s up to Hartley to help with the style.
Hartley says that Mat likes a modern look, but he doesn’t want to make the backyard feel too stark. So when it’s time to pick out a waterline tile, Hartley chooses a chic blue tile that looks both contemporary and classic.
“It’s cool, like a modern but vintage kind of look,” Hartley says. “It looks like it’s been there for a while.”
4. Set the mood with a dark fire feature
With a beautiful outdoor kitchen and an updated pool, Hartley knows that the only thing this backyard is missing is a spot to hang out and relax. So the brothers design a private fire pit area where Mat and his wife can enjoy quiet nights outside.
The design is great, but when it comes time to choose materials, the pressure is on for Hartley. He likes the idea of using a dark stone to give the space a modern, romantic feel.
“That’s probably something you’re going to use at night,” Hartley says of the fire feature. “Maybe he and his wife want to have a romantic evening, maybe come out here and tell each other how much they love each other. So I don’t know, I’m thinking something darker.”
Hartley goes with his gut and chooses the dark option for the fire feature. It’s a great choice; plus, with light-colored rocks on the ground around it, the dark color really stands out. In the end, this extra sitting space ends up being a standout in this beautiful new yard.
5. Finish the yard with some great foliage
There are many beautiful features in this backyard, but Drew and Jonathan know that they need just one more thing to make this space feel lush: greenery.
“Most people think a water feature in a backyard softens the hard lines of an outdoor design,” Jonathan says, “but the greenery is really what balances the hardscapes, making it feel like an oasis.”
Drew and Jonathan go shopping at a nearby tree nursery, choosing practical plants like lemon and lime trees that Mat can use at the bar, mesquites to provide some shade, as well as plenty of grasses and shrubs.
Of course, the brothers want to find plants that are beautiful but also easy to care for.
“Justin wants this backyard to be a much-needed escape for Mat to maximize time with family, so we want to choose greenery that will minimize watering and yardwork,” Drew says.
At the end of the three weeks, Drew, Jonathan, and Hartley are able to present Mat and his family with a stunning backyard. Mat is shocked to see how much the space has changed, and his wife and two daughters are thrilled to find a luxurious space to hang out together. It looks like Hartley’s project was a big success!