We've been going back and forth for months on what we actually wanted to do with this space. The biggest thing we were unsure of was: pool or no pool. We really wanted some sort of way to cool off but didn't love the headache that comes with maintenance and worry that a pool brings. Then we found out that with the high incident of drowning in Phoenix, backyard splash pads had been growing in popularity over the last couple of years. They are much smaller than what you would see at a park or mall but offer the water feature without the worry. A nice bonus is that a splash pad is 1/3-1/2 the cost of a pool. We got a quote last week and had some guys come out and talk design/location/etc in the backyard and I spent the last few days playing around with designs for the rest of the yard.
The goal is to have a bbq area, lounge area, fire pit and splash pad. Another major goal is to get some greenery in the yard for both shade and aesthetics. First thing that needs to go in is the splash pad and we should get going on that in the next few weeks!