This quarter’s project began with a vacant backyard bordered along one edge, by a brick wall. The design intent would treat the neighboring wall as our own. The wall serves as the backdrop to the outdoor living that would come.

One of the problems first discussed during the initial consultation was the absence of continuity and connection between the different areas of the property in addition to a lack of gathering areas which initially featured just a back deck surrounded by a wooded lawn. Also, from the driveway, there lacked easy access to the backyard and the deck, which held great potential.

During the consultation period the homeowners expressed their desire for entertainment areas that extended further from the home in addition to a means of connection between the different regions of the property. Their ideal backyard would include a pool with a pool house, irrigation, drainage and lighting systems, small lawn for children to play and more interesting landscape plantings.

The themes of entertainment and outdoor living established during the consultation period were then implemented in the design phase. The garden focal point, the pool house, was located beside the brick wall to mirror the angle and flow in all directions from the center of the garden. This placement ensured that other elements would surround and unify the space. In order to address the problem of unity, a series of freeform brick walkways were laid out tying the existing back deck with the pool house, the pool, several garden rooms and from there, to the proposed entry court.

The homeowner was presented with the plans and the design was finalized upon the homeowner’s review. From there, the construction began. Because of the enormity of the project, both the multitude of elements involved in the construction and the physical size of the project, phasing was required to properly implement the design.

Because an entry point into the backyard was lacking an entry court was designed at the end of the driveway where the brick paths would begin. Due to the varying grade, steps were included so one could exit the entry court and enter into the backyard and pool area. The entry court served as the starting point for the design and also as a greeting and seating area for guests. The semi-circle brick entry court featured a two foot high seating wall with louver and post lighting. To further accentuate the entry court and to provide a threshold to the backyard a cedar arbor was introduced. To finalize and enclose the design a wrought iron fence was added and plants, complimentary to the existing trees and shrubs, were placed throughout.

The next step in the design implementation was erecting sixteen columns and the formation of the foundation for the octagonal pool house. When the columns had been set and the floor was poured, work began on the roof and interior. The pool house interior featured lounging areas for the homeowners and guests serviced by a full bar, bath, and sauna under one roof.

While the west side of the pool house functioned for entertainment and relaxation the opposite side offered a more private arrangement. This side offered access to a private lawn area and featured both a full bathroom and a sauna room for relaxation.

At this time the second phase of the work started by digging the pool. The shape of the pool reflected design elements found in the geometric pool house and the free-forms throughout the site. The gunite pool would be visibly and physically connected to the pool house. The shallow end, with steps, would be closest, while the deep end, with fountains, would be furthest. At this distance the raised brick wall would conceal the fountains and down play the diving board.

Following the completion of the pool and during the finalization of the pool house interior, the next construction phase began by digging the footing for the pool deck’s retaining wall and brick borders.

As stated, the grade of the property varied. Because of this the retaining wall would establish a backdrop for the pool but also served to enclose the north end of the landscape. Additionally, with gathering and entertainment in mind, the wall, capped behind the diving board two feet above the deck, served as a seating area for guests and overlooked a planted garden area six feet below.

With the deck completed and the pool house finished the final construction phase commenced with work on the connecting brick pathways. The brick pathways were rather simple in their design and construction. Executing a freeform design, bordered by steel, a herring bone pattern of red brick edged by matching grey would connect the new areas designed for the property.

The homeowner’s property was set in a very shady plot that hosted numerous shrubs and trees native to the area. The intent for the planting design was to reflect the indigenous wooded surroundings of this region with low maintenance costs. A variety of trees and shrubs were planted in the spaces between the home and the entry court, behind the pool deck’s retaining wall, and throughout the garden pathways. Upon completion, the planting design reflected the existing setting.