Creating a complete backyard retreat within limited space
The designing and building of a beautiful outdoor space can be a complicated endeavor, even when space is not limited. However, when space is a factor, it becomes very important that the team involved can offer creativity backed by years of experience and education.
For this project, the homeowners had a nicely sized backyard, rimmed by a large growth of healthy trees. The dream backyard they wanted would allow them to use their yard in many different ways — swimming, sunning, relaxing, entertaining, as well as room to play outdoor games.
We came up with an ideal plan that included a lovely geometric vinyl pool with automatic pool cover, separate patio areas made from elegant Cambridge pavers, gas fire pit, custom stone bar with water feature, dramatic custom wood trellis, several banks of shade umbrellas, quiet lounging areas, and artful landscaping for beauty as well as to soften the hardscape areas. Deck and Patio was even able to dedicate an area for one of the families favorite enjoyments — ping pong.
Our design included a lovely geometric vinyl pool with automated pool cover, elegant Cambridge pavers, custom trellis and stone bar with water feature.
Deck and Patio’s design for this project included a vinyl pool with seating ledge and swim-out steps. While Deck and Patio designs and builds gunite, many of our clients prefer the padded, smooth feeling of vinyl. Of course, the base construction of a vinyl pool is the same as any other. “Vinyl” simply means the method used to line a pool’s interior.
Automated Pool Cover
Using a pool cover when the pool is not in use saves money, as well as much of the time normally dedicated to keeping the pool free from debris. And because the easier a pool cover is to use the more you will use it, an automated pool cover is ideal. When not in use, this project’s pool cover coils up at one end of the pool where its powerful motor and mechanisms have been artfully hid under an attractive swath of bluestone. Made to fit this pool exactly, all the homeowners need to do is press a button and the automatic pool cover will cover the entire pool within a minute.
Using a pool cover when the pool is not in use saves money as well as much of the time normally dedicated to keeping the pool free from debris.
Stone Bar and Trellis
This project includes a custom bar set across from a slightly raised patio lounge area furnished with circular wicker seating and a shade umbrella. The bar’s stone mimics the lovely Cambridge paving stones of the patio; it has been topped by a counter made from composite decking material that gives the appearance of wood, but being a composite fabrication, there should be no cracking, rotting or splitting. This countertop also requires no sealants because the composite materials are already protected from UV rays, and is very resistant to damage from insects, water or sun.
The custom wood trellis over the bar area helps create an “outdoor great room” effect through the use of this attractive piece of architecture. It also adds to the private escape feeling so sought after these days. To increase over time the shade enjoyed from the trellis, the homeowners can add climbing roses or other climbing plants to the trellis that will add additional natural beauty to this backyard retreat.
Stone Bar and Trellis: A custom wood trellis over the bar area helps create an “outdoor great room” effect.
Pondless Water Feature
Because space was at a premium, the usual type of water feature — where waterfalls are fed by streams and ponds — was not practical here. Our outdoor living expert came up with the idea of having two “sheer descent” waterfalls coming out of the stone bar where the water is re-circulating without the above-ground presence of a pond. This “pondless waterfall” system works much like a normal pond but it is designed under-ground with a deeper hole, lined with rock and gravel, and filled with water. This water keeps circulating through the use of an underneath pump, up through a filter. So, in fact, a type of pond is there, but it is underground and is not visible.
The feature’s “sheer descent” waterfalls provide the desired gentle rushing sound through attractive glass-like sheets of water to create the relaxing atmosphere derived from water features. The best part of these waterfalls is their ability to offer the audio and visual enjoyments of continuous flowing water while using only a minimum of water flow. In the charming block of landscaping in front of the bar plantings, a natural softscape breaks up the surrounding hardscape areas with bursts of color and softness.
A special feature of sheer descent waterfalls is their ability to offer the audio and visual enjoyments of continuous flowing water while using only a minimum of water flow.
Cambridge Random Pavers
To create the patio pool surround and other patio areas, we compacted the soil back around the pool to allow for the immediate installation of the new pavers around the pool.
This compacting process is not done by many contractors. We, however, have been doing it successfully for over 15 years with little or no soil movement. The idea is that, using compacted soil, the base will not settle so you don’t have to wait to install a patio around a new pool. Many contractors still install concrete slabs under their patio. In our experience we find this does not work well. Settling still occurs under the slab allowing the patio to crack or settle.
After the base materials were finished, we installed chestnut-hued durable pavers. These particular pavers have little or no color fade and the random design pattern adds interest to the patio. The pavers’ protective coating means these clients will have a clean-lined modern look. Even after being subjected to snow plowing, de-icing salts and normal wear, they will keep their color and beautiful appearance.
The chestnut-hue of the chosen pavers handsomely echoes that of the trellis and siding on the house, as well as the facade of the custom stone bar, creating one harmonious whole.
Embedded umbrellas, and the flexible shade opportunities they provide, were used liberally in this project to not only offer shade but to help delineate the different use areas. When the umbrellas are open, they provide a bank of shade, perhaps 27 to 36 feet long, depending on how many umbrellas are placed next to each other.
While the pergola adds drama and architectural impact, an abundance of umbrellas adds flexibility over what fixed-shade amenities can offer. This is because various umbrellas can be open and closed at the same time. All open, and you have a perfect area to place a buffet lunch or relax in full shade; partially closed, and those who want shade can lounge next to those who want sun.
The chestnut-hue of the pavers handsomely echoes that of the trellis, siding on the house, and custom stone bar; banks of shade umbrellas offer flexibility on shade choices while helping to delineate different functional patio areas.
This outdoor retreat, despite a limited amount of space, fulfilled each item on the homeowners wish list. They have a lovely padded vinyl-lined pool with easy-to-use automated pool cover, a water feature that provides continuous relaxation and enjoyment, beautiful landscaping, a bar area with attractive trellis, various lounge and seating areas — and even space for one of their family’s favorite enjoyments — ping pong.
There was even delineated space for one of their family’s favorite enjoyments — ping pong.