2018 Gold Award for Excellence in Residential Landscape Design and Construction - Wisconsin Landscape Contractors Association
Featured in M Magazine, May 2018
With three teenage daughters, our clients decided it was time to add a swimming pool to their backyard. The existing landscape was virtually a blank slate, as there were minimal plantings against the house. An exposed aggregate patio was too small for the type of entertaining the family liked to do. Besides being given the task of locating the pool, our client asked that we raise the patio to be flush with the floor of the home. They also asked that we re-use as much of the existing fence as possible. A great starting point for the design was achieved when the client shared photos from Houzz.com of a pergola/ patio layout they liked.
Working with those photos for design inspiration, we set about determining where the new patio and pool would be located, knowing their placement in relation to each other was critical. So as not to block the view from the living room windows, the main patio occupies the space from the patio doors to the corner of the house. It is paved with Valders Rustic Pavers in tones of cream, gray and white. The pergola was stretched to match the main patio so that larger groups of people beyond family could be accommodated. The "extra" bay on the pergola was centered on the patio doors, with Valders Rustic Paver stone steppers in the lawn connecting visually to the pool deck. Additional steppers were inlaid in the pool deck concrete in line with the center of the doors. This visual axis then separates the pool space from the fire pit area.
The natural stone fire pit was custom made of radial cut Valders stone and is centered on the long axis of the swimming pool. The same stone is used for the low retaining walls around the patio. These walls were necessary in order to raise the patio to be flush with the floor in the home, providing ease of access when carrying food and beverages outside. Narrow planting beds surround the patio space, softening the stone walls. Valders buff stone steps at two locations coordinate with the stone walls. An additional patio space was created to the side for a grilling space and additional seating. Combined, the two patio spaces at the house provide visual balance to the length of the pool.
Concrete was chosen for the pool deck and fire pit areas for ease of maintenance and to stretch the budget. The existing fence was carefully removed to be reinstalled as the required pool fence, including the two gates. Only six additional fence sections were required. An area of lawn was designed to provide a visual buffer to the pool, as well as ensuring that the new backyard didn't end up being a sea of paving. Inside the fence, a mix of perennials, ornamental grasses and small shrubs surround the pool and fire pit area. Serviceberry trees anchor both ends of the backyard plantings, while taller flowering shrubs and upright junipers provide privacy screening from the neighborhood walking path. Low voltage lighting in key locations along with string lights added to the pergola by our client make the entire backyard enjoyable, even at night. Our clients now have a backyard for their daughters to enjoy that is equally adept for entertaining friends and other family. Even the dogs love it!