This landscaping design worked with the challenges of the site – and turned them into assets.
The homeowners want an outdoor retreat where they can enjoy the 10 acres of woods surrounding their home. What matters most to them is that the renovation create no damage to the natural setting.
Integrated With Nature
A small water feature and patio form a destination spot in this woodland backyard. Shade-loving plants accent the hardscaping and drift gradually into the woods, so that nature and the new patio space appear completely integrated.
Add Water Features
A beautiful backyard patio is accented by a "spool," a blend of spa and pool, plus a waterfall. The new space gives the homeowners room to relax and entertain outside while still enjoying the beauty of their beloved woods. Impact on the terrain was minimal; the homeowners directed the heavy equipment on a safe (though circuitous) route through the woods so that trees weren't damaged. Get another perspective of this patio.
This home is located on the edge of a sharp, rocky ravine. There is little space for children to play safely or adults to relax and entertain friends.
Decking and a retaining wall hold a new pool and provide ample space for entertaining and playing. See more of this patio.
Keep It Natural
For their much-needed retaining wall, the homeowners elected to bring in more rock rather than using block, which would look unnatural in the setting.
The homeowners want to add moving water and a "sunning pool" between their old pool and the lake. The challenge will be to dig the new pool without disturbing the wall of the existing one or destroying the retaining wall next to the lake.
A new sunning pool, spa and multiple fountains make a big splash in this lakeside landscape. The pool walls and floor were replastered blue so the pools appear to be extensions of the lake itself. Flagstone coping ties the pools together with a new patio nearby.
Just because you have a small backyard doesn't mean you can't fit in everything you want in a new landscape. The homeowners of this small, sloping backyard beside a golf course want a makeover that will give them plenty of room for entertaining.
The grade change of the yard proves ideal for a vanishing-edge pool, a lower wading pool with a patio and submerged table, a super-sized outdoor kitchen and bar and a stacked-stone fireplace. The plan uses 90 percent of the backyard. The view from above the vanishing edge.
The homeowners recently finished the basement and added a screened porch on the second story, all with the intent of doing some serious entertaining. Now the backyard of this home needs attention, but there's hardly any to consider. The narrow backyard ends abruptly in a steep, wooded ravine.
Building a tall retaining wall that would eventually hold a half-million pounds of dirt requires extra bolstering to keep it stable. Here, a ladder of cross timbers placed every 8 feet will keep this wall from tipping over into the woods. A hole is drilled through the inside ends of the cross timbers, and a 2-foot piece of rebar is inserted to hold the timber to the hillside.
The new timber retaining wall adds 16 feet to the depth of this backyard and allows for more lawn, a patio extension and beautiful plantings, including a special ginkgo tree planted in memory of a loved one.
It's not just another waterfall. This water course has a criss-crossing pathway, serving as a route from the end of the driveway to the backyard.
Every time it rains, runoff has carved deep channels through this landscape. Drainage issues will need to be solved before this landscape gets renovated.
Gullies have given way to lawn, thanks to 18-inch catch basins, plenty of 6-inch pipe and a wet-weather creek bed. A low retaining wall (kept short to avoid having to use railing) helps alleviate the 8-foot differential between the front door and driveway, providing more usable space in the front yard.