Backyard Living

Lakeside kitchen
by Cindy Ruggieri

For John Sacco, owner of Oasis Outdoor Living in Johnson City, New York, it’s all about the backyard. With over 20 years of experience in the landscaping business, he has created plenty of beautiful landscapes. But as his business has grown, it has also evolved over the last few years to include what he calls “backyard living” – extending the interior space by making an inviting outdoor living space.

John explains “The real focus on outdoor living is that we’re re-establishing the social element that we’ve gotten away from. We are encouraging kids to get outside and away from TV and video games, and we’re encouraging families to be outside together.” It’s all part of the “staycation” idea – people investing more in their homes and then staying there to enjoy it.

With advances in technology components that help extend the season, such as heating elements and cooking options, it’s become a growing trend for today’s busy families. Outdoor kitchens have become very popular because they are so customizable to the space. There are so many options for outdoor cooking – wood pellet, pizza ovens, hibachi – and the cooking networks help fuel the focus on increasing outdoor cooking. Spas, pergolas, and water features are very popular as well.

“Every person’s tastes are different” says John. “We really talk to the customers and get an idea of their wants and needs, and customize it toward that.”

John spends a lot of time on the road, meeting on site with the customer. After that, he encourages them to come to his showroom, to see many of the options available and really “touch and feel” what he can do for them. “There are so many options that people are unaware of” says John.

And what a showroom it is. John has re-created all the backyard options under one roof, complete with an in-ground pool, stone archway and waterfall, outdoor furniture, and a fully functional outdoor kitchen. Clients can check out a pizza oven, sit around a fire pit and view spa setups. Various patterns of pavers line the floors and samples of retaining walls are on display. Smaller pieces are available for purchase – pergolas and pizza ovens are very popular – and can be taken home in a vehicle.

“The outdoor living industry traditionally shuts down in the Northeast during the winter months” explains John. “We don’t do that, because our showroom is functional year-round. People can plan their projects during the cold weather months, so when the weather breaks they are ready for installation.”

Outdoor living areas can be customized to fit all budgets. Everyone can do something in their backyard. For limited space, it’s possible to add a small patio or a modest outdoor kitchen. For large areas, there’s the entire spectrum of outdoor living options to choose from. Commercial clients, loft spaces and rooftop areas can add outdoor elements that will also add to the enjoyment of their living and working space.

“We want customers to be able to extend their interior living space outside by adding outdoor elements that totally fit their taste, will lengthen the season and entice them to step into their backyard” states John. It’s a trend in the right direction for today’s busy lifestyles.

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