A Yard Built for Parties

You can practically taste the margaritas just by looking at this fun Southern California pad featured in HGTV Magazine.

Photo By: David Tsay

Photo By: David Tsay

Photo By: David Tsay

Photo By: David Tsay

Photo By: David Tsay

The Yard

Little did Amber and Jason Ficht know when they moved in to their 1959 ranch house on a cul-de-sac in Costa Mesa, CA, that their sweet street was really one big party. Fortunately not in a frat-house-next-door kind of way. Nope, these neighbors are just a super-friendly bunch, always up for a burger and a beer in the backyard. “We actually have a Facebook group for our street,” Amber says. “Someone will post, ‘How about cocktails tonight?’ and people will show up at the door with drinks and appetizers.”

After living on the block for 10 years and hosting their share of spur-of-the-moment get-togethers, the Fichts decided it was time to spruce up their yard — and make it the entertaining hub of the hood. With the help of garden designer Molly Wood, they installed a fire pit in the front yard, transformed the side yard into an outdoor kitchen and dining area, and created a sitting spot around a fountain in the backyard. “All the updates feel like a natural extension of our home,” Amber says. “And it’s even better that we can share it with our neighbors.”

Grilling and Dining Area

Before the reno, the Fichts’ side yard was a no-man’s-land. “It wasn’t easy to get to, and the concrete was breaking up,” Amber says. To make it private and primed for outdoor entertaining, they had a fresh concrete patio poured and a redwood fence installed. Knowing they’d be hosting plenty of large parties, the Fichts had a 10-foot-by-4-foot brick and concrete island built, plus a matching cook-and-prep area, complete with a DCS gas grill and an outdoor fridge. The mint green powder-coated stools are from Target, and the “fun” sign is from a shop in Laguna Beach.

Dining Table

The hosts with the most — seating, that is! This Restoration Hardware farm table can fit a crowd. The custom pendant is made from wine barrel straps. 

Front Yard

Amber admits that garden designer Molly was skeptical when she and Jason told her they wanted a gas-fueled fire pit in their front yard, right outside the living room. “I know most people want something like this in a more private spot, but putting it here signals to our neighbors to come on over,” says Amber. “And thanks to the French doors, we can just run inside if we need anything.” A pair of slow-growing Marjorie Channon pittosporum bushes flank the doors. 

The Backyard

“Our backyard is actually small and shady, so we knew it wouldn’t be the center of the action,” Amber says. To make it look and feel special, they added a one-of-a-kind seashell fountain, lightweight mesh cylindrical chairs by Terra Patio and a polypropylene rug from Kohl’s. “Our kids, Hayden and Hailey, got to stick shells into the wet concrete as the fountain was being built,” Amber says. “That was hands down their favorite day.” A row of Carolina cherry hedges lines the back wall of the yard.