Transform Our Back yard
University City Missouri
The Wish List
- Created complex outdoor living space with kitchen, fireplace, hot tub, pool and pool house
- Accommodated the elevation of the existing house and kept large trees
- Accomplished the customer’s desires in spite of limited access for construction equipment
- Accomplished all the goals within budget
- Finished on time
These busy homeowners in University City, a suburb or St Louis Missouri had a generous back yard space with a deck but no other aspects to make it inviting to enjoy the outdoors. The view from their deck was of lawn and the windows to their neighbors houses. They wanted to be able to entertain in their back yard but they did not want to sacrifice their large trees. One of the neighbors’ lots was a higher elevation and any water running off that property drained right thru the central area where the pool would surly need to be located. The level of their deck and the house stood well above the lawn. To make this job more challenging the back yard was not easily accessible to equipment needed to create their dream outdoor living space.
Landscape Architecture Design and Engineering Solutions
Placing the pool in the backyard required consideration of not only the house but also avoiding roots of existing large trees when excavating as well as the necessary topography’s, permitting and site inspections from University City for our plans to deal correct the drainage issues. Utilizing the asset of the soil from the pool excavation we created a raised bed around the pool, thus allowing the pool elevation and pool deck to be, a higher, more accessible elevation to the existing deck adjoining the house. Tying all the components these homeowners wanted together and bridging the elevations so that no set of steps was too burdensome was the key. A wall of native limestone holds the raised bed in place. Planted in the raised bed are evergreens such as Norway spruce, Arborvitae, and Blue Spruce to create privacy in the backyard.
The outdoor living area consists of pool, hot tub, fireplace, outdoor kitchen, deck and pool house. We arranged these elements of the outdoor living area so areas used year round would be closest to the main house and seasonal elements such as the pool and pool house were the furthest away. The pool house has sinks, refrigerator, storage, wood clad cathedral ceilings, ceiling fans and a great space to enjoy family and friends in the shade.
The deck around the pool and various patios extending from the pool are of exposed aggregate concrete of a neutral color so it does not standout. Not only was this the best material for an unobtrusive appearance but also the most economical. To reduce light pollution and yet still render outdoor living space accessible after dark, a system of subtle lights embedded in the native stonewall and railings was installed to shed soft light on the walkways without an upward glow.
We used local limestone to construct the fireplace, raised bed retaining walls, and the base of the raised hot tub. The outdoor kitchen comprising a grill and refrigerator has complementing limestone veneer as well. Patios and pool are at different levels requiring several steps to access each level. Between levels are planters constructed of local stone for planting small shrubs, flowering perennials or annual color. Temporary gravel access road allowed this all to be built without damaging the yard or home during all the fun changes.
The end results for the homeowner is they love their new space and now enjoy there outside as much as the inside!