Easy Entertaining

Prairie Village couple creates patio oasis.



Matt Kocourek

   Ann and Dick Hall moved into their expanded Prairie Village bungalow 16 years ago, and knew 
someday they wanted to replace the concrete slab that was their patio. 
  Eight years ago, they installed the patio of their dreams, and have been entertaining — and escaping 
— in style there ever since. 
 “Our goal was to have an outdoor-kitchen feel with room to entertain, to be able to sit down and read 
a book, as well as have our family eat dinner outside,” Ann Hall says. 
 Designed and built by Maverick Pickering of Stilwell, Kan.,-based Maverick Landscaping, which has also 
created other notable patios like that of Joy and Jeff Stehney, owners of Oklahoma Joe’s Bar-B-Que, the 
Halls’ outdoor living space creates a soothing backyard oasis. 
 The patio is built of natural flagstone and features a grill island, fireplace and a fountain designed by 
Pickering. 
 “Every great patio needs fire and water,” he says. 
 Pickering’s biggest design challenge was dealing with the Halls’ sloping backyard. His solution was to 
create a tiered retaining wall with shrubs to soften the look. He only uses natural stone, never stamped 
concrete or faux stone. 


 “The beauty of natural stone is it only gets better with age,” he says. “Yes, it can be more expensive in 
the beginning, but it’s not more expensive than two patios because you’d have to buy two patios or two
decks. I would prefer to lay a patio over a deck any time you can if it’s in your budget.” 
 Intimate seating was also crucial, he says. 
 “A lot of patios go way too big,” he says. “You don’t have any intimacy at all. Here you can really enjoy 
the party and people aren’t splitting up.” 
 Fortunately for the Halls, who have two teenaged children, their backyard features a northern 
exposure, which is perfect for shady entertaining. For those who face blazing western sun, which can be 
brutal on guests and hosts, Pickering offered some suggestions. 
 “Have your party in the front of the house,” he says. “Or have a morning party with mimosas. Or pop
open your garage. People need to utilize their three-car garage. What a perfect party spot.” 

 

Ann Hall’s Tips for Easy BBQ Entertaining 
 Since the goal is to have maximum fun while not wearing yourself out, she suggests: 

  •  Plan your menu well in advance, and prepare the food a day or two ahead of time. 
  •  If your guests offer to bring food or drinks, let them. 
  •  It’s okay to supplement the menu with side dishes from your favorite restaurants. 
  •  Don’t spend the day of the party cleaning your home. Do that well in advance so that you’re 
  • rested for the party. 
  •  Hire babysitters if you know your guests will be bringing their children. 
  •  Prepare a festive music playlist. Ann recommends an app called Sonos.