When our clients first approached us with their custom pool and landscaping project, they were 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 or busy with too many elements competing for attention.
The challenge for Cross River was to incorporate the client’s wish list, (which included a pool, and water feature, pergola, terrace, pathways, fencing, planting, lighting and irrigation systems), carefully into the project master plan so as not to overwhelm the property. Other challenges presented included a somewhat severe slope running from one side of the yard to the other, 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 double 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. The pool wall and coping are wrapped with a particular granite that doesn’t react with chemicals/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 located directly alongside it. The terrace was designed to accommodate lounge chairs and small tables for relaxing poolside, and the space receives partial shade from a number of ornamental trees planted nearby.
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 grasses. Because the Ipe seating area faces directly south, a retractable fabric was incorporated into the framework 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 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 longer than it really is. Joints between the stones are planted densely with fine lawn helping to bring out the subtle tones of the grayish-blue 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 help screen the views to the commercial building located just over the property line.