At California Pools & Landscape, we are in the business of building backyards that truly wow. They have that special something – jaw-dropping design, attention to detail, and the perfect marriage of form and function. We sat down with designer Stephen Reichmuth to discuss a complete backyard remodel into a lush backyard oasis featuring a gorgeous geometric pool with spa.
The family’s goal was to create a backyard that matched the elegance and impressiveness of their home. They had previously contacted another designer but just weren’t wowed by the plans. They decided to take another shot at it and reached out to us!
Designer Stephen Reichmuth talked us through the process:
Seeing the Big Picture
“My process is interesting—I begin by tracing the existing yard on an aerial image and putting it into a 3-D program. I arrived at the property with a blueprint ready to conceptually design with them.”
Stephen and the client’s began by discussing how to create a backyard space that was a better reflection of their home. They sought to create a space that was more sublime with an updated look and fresh features.
The clients had a pool, but didn’t have a spa and wanted to add one. They also wanted a modern water feature and to add a shade structure and fireplace to their yard. Their old backyard had a deep, spacious patio, but lacked an area for gathering or entertaining. The original pool itself had a shape that went out into the pre-existing shade structure, so our team also faced the challenge of reshaping the pool and filling in a portion to create space for the new outdoor entertainment area. Stephen and the clients also looked at configuring some of the steps in their pool to create Baja shelf—a lovely feature that has only grown in popularity since their first pool was built.
Arizona Backyard Makeover
Much of the client’s backyard needed to be reconfigured in order to use their space differently. Our designer’s ability to see the big picture and talk through the small details helped them create the look and feel that they envisioned.
Stephen describes the process of selecting the perfect materials to create synergy between the home and the backyard: “When we looked at some of the existing materials in the yard, we decided that we needed to move into a more modern direction. So we keyed into the materials in the home’s interior and selected something for the outside that would echo the interior and look great from a color standpoint. We went with a 12×24 on limestone paver to make it look more modern.”
They also brought in other stone elements, including a quartz-style, golden honey limestone, with a modern cut and rustic coloring. This rustic coloring kept it from looking too modern and maintained alignment with the tones of the home.
Our designer explained the need to create cohesive spaces throughout the rest of the yard:
“Originally, off to the right-hand side of the yard, there was a spa that was by itself in the ground. It felt too secluded and didn’t feel quite right. We removed that and filled in the space with a grassy garden area. We wanted to give this space a little bit more calm and green, and turn it into a relaxing gathering space.
The upper area that the new water feature and spa cascade down from were there originally, but had no adjacent living space, making it a somewhat forgotten area. Our team sought to reincorporate it and make the area a focal point. Stephen says: “We thought it deserved it. We found a way to make it both comfortable and useful again.”
Using Space Wisely
A core vision for this backyard was to make it feel more grand. And looking at the photos, it’s clear the design team hit the mark. But it wasn’t always like that! The original yard had large planters that created very small paths in between the columns of the house out to the pool, making the patio feel very enclosed. Our team worked to create a beautiful open floor plan with several unique places for gathering.
The original backyard had a fireplace and barbecue area that were placed uncomfortably close together but were set apart from the patio area. Our team resolved this issue by designing a grill area with bar seats to create an interim landing area for guests that wasn’t right on the patio but also wasn’t in the recesses of the yard.
In the end, this was a very classic remodel – the California Pools and Landscape team designed an open exterior floor plan and gallery spaces, thus creating the perfect backyard for our client’s needs.
The client’s property is remarkably green for an Arizona landscape and there was much existing foliage on the property. That made our challenge to fill in the spaces appropriately, which is sometimes harder than working with a blank canvas!
From a landscape design perspective, we sought to maintain a lush feel. The family did not want a stark, Sonoran desert feel, but also didn’t want to create a space that was out of place in Arizona. Our solution was to add more cacti and succulent elements, but keep everything green to maintain that resort-feel. We then added grassy garden areas on both sides to avoid having large areas of hardscape and to add some softness. The middle section was then used for an embedded drainage area.
For a project of this magnitude, there will always be challenges. On this client’s property, our team had to actually tear out and reinstall the driveway. We did this in two sections, so they could have continued access to their garage. We did this as quickly as possible, of course, as there was no on-street parking!
Fine Tuning the Perfect Backyard
Our team goes the distance for our clients, and our work isn’t done until every detail is attended to. We remain involved in everything from master plans to finishing touches.
Stephen says: “We like to guide people through the fine-tuning. I call this phase “seasoning to taste.” We met the clients at the pottery store over the weekend to help them select the perfect pieces. It’s nice to be able to do that, as opposed to just ordering from a catalog and putting things in. The family selected green, hand-glazed ceramic pots, and we set every one of them on-site!”
Throughout this project, our clients expressed their delight. The clients are hard-working business owners, who love their opportunities to relax and entertain. We created a work-hard, play-hard backyard that matches the beauty and grandeur of their home that they will enjoy for years to come!
Ready to begin your backyard remodel? Get in touch with Arizona’s ultimate remodel experts and get started today!