Meet the Elizondo family from Morgan Hill, CA.  As first time home buyers they were beyond excited to finally move into their beautiful new built home, especially after 6 months of customizing it with the builder. Everything about their new home was perfect,  just as they designed it, but the backyard was a bare dirt lot. On the brighter side,  it was a fresh clean slate to fill in with their ideas of their dream backyard.

Before Pictures

Their must haves were a play area for the kids, grass area, a gazebo, a fire pit, a waterfall, an outdoor kitchen and outdoor TV.

Not wanting to go with artificial lawn they looked for an alternative and decided on a KISS system that is a subsurface watering systems that saves up to 60% of the water needed. With this system the grass is watered directly at the roots. The look without the sprinkler heads is another advantage and the worries of hitting a sprinkler head with the lawn mower are gone. The KISS system ( was developed in Australia and is becoming more popular in the states.  The Elizondo’s felt comfortable about putting in a new lawn using the KISS watering system during California’s ongoing drought. With this system, they have a good chance of keeping it green during the summer unlike most lawns in California.

Their gazebo was built using Redwood and underneath the roof they installed 2 fans and a heat lamp. With these in place, there is no questioning that they will be enjoying their outdoor living area year round. The gazebo is secured to their house so essentially when it is raining they don’t even have to step foot in it to relax under the gazebo.  The gazebo also acts as a protector to their strategically placed outdoor kitchen. The kitchen faces the entire backyard so during parties the grill master can cook and enjoy the view of the party at the same time.

Off to the side of the kitchen is a rock formed water fall.  The water feature almost gives the area a tropical resort like feel and is very soothing to the ear.  Right off the waterfall all along the side of the backyard is a seated wall filled in with landscape. This seating wall always guarantees enough seating areas for guests. The greenery is contained nicely up against the fence and maintains the nature backyard feel amongst the pavers and the stones.  Two small arbor can be found in this area which brings your eye upwards at the same time getting a view of the beautiful mountain behind their house.

Centered nicely in the middle of the backyard is their natural gas fire pit made out of stone pavers. The traditional fire pit contoured cedar chairs can be found at www.allthingscedar/adirondack_chair_adult_kit.htm.

The side yard was designated for the kids with a play scape filled in with ground cover mulch.  The grass line and the mulch were separated by a concrete strip that acts similar to bender board would but by going with concrete it is a permanent solution that you don’t have to worry about breaking with the lawn mower as you would with traditional bender board.

The Elizondo’s are so pleased with their new outdoor living area. With being parents of young kids they find themselves home more weekend evenings than they would like to,  given their kids early bed time schedule. Having a backyard like this certainly makes being tied to their house now so much easier. Their backyard was completed just in time to celebrate their daughters 1st birthday with their friends and family.  This was the first of many parties their backyard will see for years to come.

DIY Backyard Planning wants to give a big thanks to the Elizondo family for sharing their backyard makeover story and being a source of ideas and inspirations to other DIY’ers.

DIY Backyard Planning provides downloadable building plans to create pergolas, gazebosoutdoor TV cabinets, fire pits and outdoor kitchens.

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