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Project Highlight: Doris and Mark's Stunning Backyard Transformation

Project Highlight: Doris and Mark's Stunning Backyard Transformation

May 06 2021

Pizza, pups and perfect family get-togethers. When homeowners Mark and Doris set out to design their dream backyard, those were some of their driving factors in creating their ideal outdoor living space.

As nature lovers who liked to cook out, the couple were always looking for ways to spend more time outside enjoying their property. However, their home was about an hour north of Seattle and the consistently rainy weather made it tricky. Seven months out of the year it was usually too wet for them to fully utilize their space.


“Back when we bought our house, it was just all dirt around us,” says Mark. “Within the first two weeks of moving in, we went out there with a hoe and drew in what our future plans were.”

What the pair was envisioning was an expansive covered space where they could spend more time with family and friends (including their three large dogs) regardless of the weather. Another must? An outdoor pizza oven.

Designing a chef-worthy outdoor kitchen

“We knew we wanted the pizza oven to be the focal point,” says Mark. “We worked with our System Pavers’ designer and the way he laid it out was that when you come in the front door, you can see all the way back to the oven in the yard. It really makes the house look a lot bigger and fancier.”

The expansive outdoor kitchen design includes a BBQ island equipped with all the tools a chef would need, and a top-notch wood burning pizza oven. This new setup has become the perfect spot to get together for casual hangouts and conversation. Their summers are spent visiting with their grown children who love coming into town to get their fill of pizza and together time.

“When we have family parties, it’s so nice having everyone here to cook up their own pizzas,” says Doris. “It’s kind of a novelty to eat homemade pizza in your outdoor kitchen and always ends up being a lot of fun.”


Enjoying the great outdoors

The complete 500 square-foot space also includes an enticing fire ring and tables with plenty of seating for family and friends. Mark’s parents who live on the property often come by to hang out on the patio, chat by the fire and spend time with their precious fur kids.

Beyond their dream kitchen and new area for connecting with loved ones, Mark and Doris noted that one of the unexpected benefits of creating a large, covered area in their backyard is they now have a place for the dogs to dry off before coming indoors. With two standard poodles and a 90-pound Australian cattle dog, that adds up to keeping their home a lot tidier on those rainy Pacific Northwest days!

Once the space was finished, Mark and Doris knew they would easily achieve their goal of getting outside more often.  “We use the patio pretty much nonstop spring, summer and fall. In fact, in the summer, we’re out here every night of the week,” says Doris. In the winter, they estimate they get out at least once a week, especially to enjoy the hot tub or fire on chillier days.


Mark and Doris’s vision come to life

From start to finish the whole project took less than three weeks, and that was with a five-day rain delay. “Even with the rain, the crew was very neat and tidy, they kept everything covered and clean,” Mark recalls. “I was very impressed with the work the guys did.”

When it was completed, the space was better than the couple first envisioned.

“It exceeded our expectations. We always had a concept of what we wanted, but in my opinion, it came out even better than I imagined,” says Mark.