Meeting the challenges of incorporating an existing pool with adjoining terraces into an expansive house addition on a steep and densely wooded property.

The Fabian property consisted of a small house on a high knoll, with the land falling off in every direction. Originally, there were large groupings of mature shade trees surrounding the house, and most of the property was cast in shade for a better part of each day. When our clients requested incorporating large, open areas to make room for planting and outdoor entertaining, it was difficult to imagine where those spaces would be located.

The original house had a compact footprint with an existing pool just off the western facade, so when the owners discussed expanding the house by adding an addition, we suggested an architect whom we knew would be sensitive to the limited space and challenging grading conditions.


From the start, the owners wished to expand the areas available for entertaining and because they had an interest in horticulture, they  wanted the new spaces to contain lush planting beds and areas for seasonal container plants.   The existing pool and gazebo were favorites with the owners, so careful time and attention went into incorporating them so they’d appear to be part of the design from the start.

Working together with the architect, the Cross River Design team established the proper elevations for the new addition that worked best with the new outdoor spaces, and they designed a more pleasant entry experience for someone traveling up the steep driveway.  The new driveway would now run parallel with the house, moving up the steep slope in a smooth serpentine manner, providing the user with quick glimpses of the new terrace and plantings located at the main entrance of the house.

To add usable space around the pool, an Ipe deck was cantilevered over the existing slope which provided space for lounges and other chairs around the pool.


caption-iconNikko Blue Hydrangea bordering the new pool terrace (left). A wrought iron container in summer bloom (right).

Stone retaining walls were incorporated into the slope behind the house to create a flatter, more usable area for a new bluestone terrace.  Located directly off the rear entrance of the house, the terrace is enclosed with a continuous boxwood hedge or “green wall” giving the space a sense of privacy while serving as a lush backdrop for the colorful astilbe, hosta, vinca and hakone grasse in front.

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.