Diane and Monte Wilson started with plans to build a simple patio cover this summer and wound up building an outdoor area that has expanded the usefulness and beauty of their backyard. - Photos submitted by Diane Wilson

Outdoor living in the city

When Diane and Monte Wilson bought their home in east Medford in October 2010, the backyard was more back than yard. Without grass or landscaping, the rock and gravel expanse didn't offer much ambience for relaxing evenings under the stars or barbecues when their sons, Chris and Eric, came home on breaks from college.

So last March, they decided to do something about it.

"Our goal was to add an outdoor space that could be used in inclement weather because we heard it rained in Oregon," says Diane Wilson, who moved with her family from Northern California in November 2010.

The project started out modestly with plans for a simple 12-by-12-foot patio cover.

"We even contemplated using the metal-system type," says Wilson, "because you do not need city permits or engineering. But in the end, we knew that was not what we wanted. We used cedar beams with a pine tongue-in-groove ceiling detail."

Wilson, an interior designer whose business is called Design Elements, drew up the plans herself, adding skylights to the new patio roof and a flagstone floor.

"We converted the stone barbecue area into a tiled countertop with a bench on the deck side for additional seating."

The Wilsons hired Mike Hansen from South Valley Construction Inc. in Central Point to build the patio cover. Diane and Monte Wilson built the bench and countertop themselves and laid the flagstone flooring with assistance from their sons when they came home on summer break.

They finished their new backyard getaway in July, and now they're looking forward to showing it off.

"With the addition of a patio heater, we now have a year-round outdoor area that we can use for ourselves or to entertain larger groups," she says.

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