expert tips on big backyard upgrades

4 ways to make your big backyard amazing

Posted by Tiffany Wilson on March 9, 2016

Jacksonville landscaper Shawn White, owner of A Cut Above Outdoor Specialty Services, shares 4 ways to make the most of a big backyard.

JACKSONVILLE, Florida--When you own country land, the sky is the limit on what you can do with your big backyard space. But sometimes, all the possibilities can be overwhelming.

We talked to Shawn White, owner of A Cut Above Specialty Services, at the Jacksonville Home + Patio Show to get his ideas on the top 4 ways to upgrade your backyard into the ultimate gathering place for your family and friends. Here are his tips:

1) The ultimate backyard should have a fire pit or fireplace

There's just something about a fire that makes people flock to it -- and actually relax. Whether its a small fire pit detached from your home and patio, or if it's the centerpiece of patio, it will draw people.

"North FLorida is the perfect environment for relaxing around a fire with your friends and family," White says.

2) The ultimate backyard should have an outdoor kitchen

The possibilities of an outdoor kitchen are even greater than those of an indoor kitchen. You can have all the amenities you enjoy indoors - a fridge, an oven, a sink - incorporated with outdoor-only features like grills and smokers.

3) The ultimate backyard needs attractive lighting.

"Lighting sets the mood. You can have wall lighting, landscape lighting, even lighting inside your pavers," says White. "We've even set up LED lights that change colors in front of waterfalls."

4) The ultimate backyard should have a Jacuzzi

"When you have something like a Jacuzzi on your property, it's like a staycation: You have all the features of a resort in your backyard. You'll be happy to be home," White says.

In fact, he said, any kind of water feature will add to the beauty of your backyard space.

A Cut Above is based in Jacksonville, Florida. The business specializes in hardscaping masonry such as stone wall accents, driveways, walkways and patios. They also offer custom built grills, lighting, irrigation, tree trimming, water features, fencing and even sheds and pump houses. You can reach Shawn by calling 904-300-7842, emailing or visiting his Facebook page at

Tiffany Wilson

The former editor of Rethink:Rural, Tiffany Wilson has been passionate about writing - and country life - since childhood. She grew up in a log house in the hills of a small town in Upstate New York. She previously worked as a newspaper reporter and hospital communications coordinator. Today, she lives with her husband and children in Yulee, Florida.

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