Buyers in the luxury real estate market have come to expect kitchens with upscale appliances, posh living areas and plenty of space for entertaining—and now they want it all outdoors, too. Laura McCarthy Real Estate agents are accustomed to working with high-end properties, says agent Kathy Crane. “Buyers love a nice outdoor space,” she says. “People are using them as second living areas. They want lush landscaping, a pool and lots of privacy.”

The real estate company, founded in 1944, has more than 100 agents, and they are used to offering ‘million-dollar’ service for all homes, no matter the price tag. Having been in business for more than 70 years, the firm has intimate knowledge of the local high-end residential market, Crane says.

SS-cover-laura-m-8_26She says outdoor living is at the top of the ‘must-have’ list, including a fence and soft landscaping, like shrubbery and plantings, to block views and create a private escape. “Having a large yard with all the amenities is wonderful for entertaining,” she says, which is one big reason for its popularity. “A house with a pool is where the kids and grandkids want to be! It’s a great way to keep people connected.” Crane notes that other priorities for homeowners include luxurious outdoor kitchens with bars, built-in stone fireplaces or fire pits, and a pool house, which all help keep the activity outside.

It’s also nice to have a beautiful place in which to relax. That’s what Liz Scozzafava, her husband Ralph and their two children appreciate most about their backyard at 4 Dromara Road, which is currently listed for sale with Laura McCarthy. It features a pool and beautiful landscaping on a nearly 2-acre private lot. “We had tons of pool parties, but it also was nice for just laying out—my daughter and her friends loved doing that,” she says. Scozzafava says the pool, surrounded by Spanish tiles, is a classic style, befitting the Georgian home. “Our pool guy always told us it was in better shape than most new ones,” she says. “We had never lived in such a warm climate before moving here eight years ago, but a pool quickly became a must when we were looking for a home. It seemed every house had one!”

The family enjoyed every bit of their outdoor living space for as many months of the year as they could. “Since the summers start early in St. Louis, we really got to enjoy the pool starting mid-May,” Scozzafava says. “We added a heater in order to keep it open until the end of October.” When they hosted parties, guests flowed onto the bluestone patio in front of the pool for cocktails and conversation, and often moved to the solarium (an adjacent enclosed space with lots of large windows) for dinner or dessert. The patio offered sitting areas to encourage socializing, and the large dining table in the solarium was perfect for sit-down meals. “The solarium also has a full bath, changing room, small refrigerator, ice machine and sink, so it’s great when people are over,” Scozzafava explains.

The couple added numerous new plants and flowers in order to have blooms year-round. “We have hydrangeas and roses around the pool in the summer, peonies in the spring,” she says. “And even though the house sits far back on the lot, we planted hedges to block the pool from street view.” According to Crane, the house offers it all: room to entertain, a gorgeous setting and plenty of privacy. “We recently enjoyed a wonderful Memorial Day with the whole family at the house,” Scozzafava says. “We really love its outdoor space.”

Pictured: 4 Dromara Road
Photo: Paul Crane

[Laura McCarthy Real Estate, with offices in Clayton and Town & Country, has more than 100 agents who specialize in the high-end residential real estate market along the central corridor. For more information, visit]