The main challenge in designing this 3,000 sq. ft. backyard entertainment area was to integrate a large number of features into one site in a harmonious manner.
The homeowners had a number of criteria to meet: They wanted to replace the deteriorating cracked concrete around their existing pool and hot tub with something more aesthetically pleasing, and make the hot tub as inconspicuous as possible. They also wanted shelter from the weather. Kitchen, dining and grilling facilities were a priority for them, as was having a separate fire pit for relaxation in the evening. And, because they have young children and do a lot of entertaining they were concerned about having distinct areas for adults and children congregate, while still allowing for adult supervision.
The first course of action was to determine the new location of the hot tub in relation to the above ground pool. The owners wanted the tub as close to the pool as possible. Some excavation was necessary, and the excavated material was used to extend the natural slope of the site to create a hidden location for the hot tub, using retaining wall around two sides. Putting the hot tub there made it look like a natural extension of the pool area rather than an add-on, as well as hiding it from view on three sides.
Four levels of patio break the project up visually and provide intimate spaces for family and guests to gather. The contractor worked with the natural slope of the yard, adding County Block® retaining walls to separate the areas.
As the work progressed, the lower patio presented too large an expanse. The addition of a circular raised planting bed helped make the space more usable and approachable.
The multi-sized, variegated and textured Tranquility Pavers® chosen for the project also help to break up the large expanses of space. The selected pavers are slab sizes, in keeping with the scale of the project. Their gray and tan tones complement the siding and brick of the house and the rustic, warm gray split face block used for the retaining walls. The circular edge of the lower patio and a curved step in between the upper levels help to soften the effect and lend an organically flowing look to the site.
The homeowners had originally envisioned the outdoor shelter as being attached to the house. When that proved structurally impractical, the designer suggested a gazebo structure instead. A great deal of care went into selecting the location of the gazebo and the fire pit to ensure a harmonious visual flow. Within the gazebo, an outdoor kitchen, dining area and outdoor TV provide an all-purpose 3-season living area. The granite bar is located at an angle. This allows maximum use of the structure by allowing a choice of shady and sunny spots during most times of day.
Block seat walls encompass the entire project, defining the space and providing a vertical element to complement the height of the gazebo. The pillars at the ends of the seat wall segments also help integrate the gazebo with the rest of the installation.