This backyard space was designed around sports activities, but a small stream and colorful perennials turned a quiet corner into a relaxing escape.
When the homeowners had to pay to dynamite a granite rock wall that stood between them and their landscape makeover, the designer had to scale down other parts of the project, including this courtyard patio. Because the fireplace is a stronger architectural feature than the water feature, it was placed at the end of the patio; both are in full view of the dining area inside the home.
A Water View
The fountain can be seen as you enter the gate to the patio — and from the dining area inside the house. Among the project's surprises was a large hole underground, originally intended as part of the house's basement, which meant that the kitchen was completely unsupported. A concrete-block foundation now buttresses that corner of the house.
The homeowners wanted their landscape to fit in gracefully with the designated wilderness area next door. What could be more natural than a waterfall to mark the path that is visible from inside the home?
A simple four-foot pond, with a center fountain, forms the beautiful, but understated centerpiece of a new brick patio and garden.
The biggest hassle with this landscape makeover was the six-foot berm. Installed for privacy, the berm's design was met with objections from the neighborhood's architectural review board. To compromise, the back side of the berm was modified to look less abrupt and was landscaped with rocks and plants. It now looks as though it's always been there.
The surrounding woods provide a beautiful backdrop for this pool, but the landscaping project required heavy equipment. A dozen trees had to be cut down in order to make room for the pool and gazebo, while a large quantity of dirt was brought in to level the back end of the decking.
Plants for Privacy
This pool begins with a beach entrance near the house and includes three waterfalls visible from inside the home. Sizable plantings of Leyland cypress, deodar cedar and hollies help provide enclosure and privacy for the outside. The best part about this pool however, is the outdoor kitchen.
The pool culminates in a swim-up bar with a sunken pavilion and outdoor kitchen, where people both in and out of the water are at eye level. The homeowners asked the builders to raise the roof of the pavilion so the feature wouldn't squat in the landscape. Flames from the fire pit are reflected on the water.
If your climate or budget rules out a water feature, consider creating an illusion. This marble-dressed succulent arrangement decorates a desert-style rock garden in this Los Angeles backyard.