Tricked-out outdoors

Virtual reality takes backyards to the future at new Fort Worth design store

Virtual reality takes backyards to the future at new Fort Worth store

The Collective Outdoors
If you can envision a cozy little nook like this on your patio, you can design it and buy it. Photo courtesy of The Collective Outdoors

A future-y new Fort Worth store is putting backyard design in the mind's eye of the beholder. The Collective Outdoors, opening August 11 at 621 South Frwy., is a hybrid furniture store-home design studio where clients can use virtual reality to trick out their outdoor spaces.

The highlight of the high-tech store is a virtual reality machine that lets clients "walk through" proposed designs of their spaces. Rose bushes here, fire pit there — it's all on the screen before it's in your yard.

“We’re the most high-tech guys who play in dirt all day that you’ll ever meet," says co-founder Dale Jackson in a release.

Jackson, of Blooms Landcare, co-founded The Collective Outdoors with Dustin Hillman, of Panther City Arbor. Together, the outdoor pros aimed to establish a place that saved people time and money — and to do so in innovative ways. 

The 8,100-square-foot store brings Fort Worth artisans under one roof and helps clients focus on both big picture and fun details of outdoor patio and backyard design. What's not fun about a backyard, after all?

The idea is a one-stop shop where customers can design, construct, and purchase everything needed to create the backyard of their dreams — even if they don't know an arbor from a pergola. 

“You can come in with a completely blank canvas and we can handle everything for your yard," Hillman says. "Nothing else like this place exists.”

Besides the virtual reality machine, other high-tech offerings at the store include wifi grills that alert you when your food is ready, bluetooth fire pits that dance to music via soundwaves, and irrigation systems designed to reduce your water bill, they say.

The owners also have plans to connect with the Fort Worth community by offering events like Saturday cook-offs, food trucks, a putting green, and even a bar. “People can enjoy The Collective Outdoors the same way they enjoy their backyards,” Hillman says. “This is the place to be on Saturday.” 

The store will host a free grand opening event from 11 am-4 pm August 11. There'll be food, drinks, a bounce house, putting green, and a chance to see all of the grills, fire pits and outdoor furniture they sell. Plus, a chance to try out out that all-important virtual reality machine.

Regular hours are 11 am-6 pm Wednesday-Saturday and 12 pm-5 pm Sunday.