"We've turned a postage stamp into paradise," says Sioux Elledge about her 25- by 50-foot backyard in a new Napa, California, development.
The original yard was simply an expanse of dirt framed by fences-like so many lots in new communities across the West.
Sioux and her husband, Terry, love to entertain outdoors, so they organized their garden around a covered pavilion designed by Terry, featuring a cooking center, wine-tasting bar, and dining area.
"We call it Terry's Taj," laughs Sioux, founder of Sioux Z Wow Sauces ( www.siouxzwow.com), which makes a gourmet marinade (available at many Mollie Stone's Markets and Whole Foods Markets).
The pavilion covers a 14- by 24-foot portion of the yard off the family room and kitchen.
Four posts and long glue-laminated beams support a shallow gabled roof of bamboo fencing covered with translucent panels of corrugated fiberglass.
The unobtrusive panels protect the bamboo from rain but allow diffused sunlight to filter through. A C-shaped food preparation counter wraps around one side of the pavilion.
The star of the space is a custom-made wood-fired barbecue modeled after a grill that the couple saw while vacationing in France. They had a local metal fabricator make the grill and hood, which fit across a rear corner.
Although the counter also contains a gas-burning barbecue, the Elledges cook on the grill, with wood or charcoal as fuel, most of the time.
On cool evenings, they often use the grill as a table-height fireplace.