Considerable rear yard development program on an efficiently-sized lot in a neighborhood close to the shore.

When our clients first approached us with their custom pool and landscaping project, they were most concerned that the program they had in mind might overpower their moderately sized rear yard, and the last thing they wanted to do was have the space become cluttered with too many elements competing for attention.

The challenge for Cross River was to incorporate the client’s wish list, (including pool, water feature, pergola, terrace, pathways, fencing, planting, lighting and irrigation system) carefully into the project master plan so as not to overwhelm the property.  Other challenges included working with a somewhat severe slope running across the back of the property, and what to do with an unsightly commercial building visible from certain angles in the rear yard.

Once we located the ideal position for the pool, we made it the central feature in the yard.  To accommodate the changes in elevation, the pool was designed to act as a retaining wall on the lower side where the grade dropped dramatically.  Solid bluestone tread stones were located mid-way along the length of the pool to help transition the grade differential.  We wrapped the exposed potions of the pool wall and pool coping with a variety of granite that doesn’t react with the minerals in the pool water.

A raised Ipe seating area was added just off the side of the rear entrance of the house, and from here one can see across the pool to the bluestone terrace directly adjacent.  The terrace receives partial shade from a number of ornamental trees planted nearby, and was designed to accommodate lounge chairs and small tables for relaxing poolside.

From the bluestone terrace are views looking toward the house to the deck and pergola, which are bordered with lush plantings of pink hydrangea, sedum and ornamental grasses.  Because the Ipe seating area faces directly south, a retractable fabric was incorporated into the framework of the pergola to provide for additional shade in the middle of the day.


Located not far from the entrance of the pool (just off the bluestone step stones), is a subtle water feature added mainly for acoustic value.  The falling water echoes softly off the surrounding stone wall, and can be heard from almost anywhere in the rear yard.

Large bluetone step stones (some measuring 8’x8′ wide), were used to create the feeling that this space (between the house to the pool), is larger than it really is.  Joints between the stones are planted densely with fine lawn, helping to bring out the steel – blue color of the step step stones.

A custom cedar fence was designed to envelope the entire rear yard, and selective evergreens were situated periodically along the front of the fence to help soften it visually.  These evergreens also screen the views to the commercial building located just beyond the property line.

What can Cross River do for you?

Whether the project is large or small, Cross River Design’s award-winning landscaping team is ready to bring every client’s outdoor living dreams to life.

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