Introducing The Space
In the first Borello Ranch property we got involved with, the client’s reached out to us via Instagram. They had seen our work, and felt that we were the right team to create a modern, funky, forward thinking space. They had a 500k budget, a blank slate, and wanted to see their dream space come to life.
As with all of our projects, we started by sitting down with our clients and getting a firm idea of what they wanted in their backyard. Every homeowner has their own list of “non-negotiables”, and knowing what these must-have items are allows us to create initial designs that fit all of our clients main needs.
The Client Wishlist
For this project, the homeowners had a firm idea of what elements they wanted in their finished backyard. These must-have included a:
Outdoor dining area
Kid friendly area
They also felt strongly that they were looking for a modern-minded design, with funky design touches. Something that felt interesting, unique, and would serve their family for years to come.
All that considered, we headed to the drawing boards. We created a set of 2D renderings, offering two different design directions that we then presented to the clients in order to hear their feedback.
In concept A, you see we began by placing the swimming pool directly off of the loggia, or covered space. The intent in this placement was to give the homeowners something beautiful to look at as they looked out their window of their home into the backyard.
With the pool in this position, the space and the feature wall all fall to center as well. This created one line for the eye as you look out over the year. We loved the symmetry and the focal point positioning of this design.
Exploring further, you can see other items our clients were eager to see in their final living space. To the right of the pool is a pergola-covered outdoor seating area, fully equipped with a bar and kitchen. Carefully placed landscaping spans the perimeter of the project.
Also visible in this 2D rendering is a diving rock. Directly behind this rock, to the side of the house, you see the play space for kids, as well as a designated space for vegetable beds, and privacy plantings that border pavers, all leading organically to the driveway.
The second design presented, Concept B, had all of the same core elements as the first, but the layout differed quite drastically. Instead of centering the pool, we instead centered a patio and fire pit, including a more abbreviated outdoor kitchen.
Directly to the right of this patio space, concept A’s pergola has been replaced by the play area. The pool, which was centered in the first design, has now been moved right of center, and runs perpendicular to the home.
Steppers lead around the house to the pool, which includes both a baja shelf and spa. The feature wall from Concept A also reappears here, tying together the pool and the relocated, pergola-covered deck.
From the pool, you follow steppers to a similarly positioned vegetable bed, additional landscaping, and exit to the driveway.
Now, the homeowners loved this design, but they weren’t completely sold yet. They wanted to a little bit more, and really understand all of their options before they signed off on a final design. We were more than happy to oblige.
Water and Earth’s first concern is with guaranteeing that our clients are confident in their design choice. If that means presenting additional options, we will make that possible. In this project, we decided to do a revision of Concept B, and came back shortly to present another option—Concept C
In Concept C, we flipped the position of the pool to make it parallel with the house, and relocated the pergola to mimic this parallel line. In this imagining of the space, we added a raised yoga deck that steps down into the spa.
Finally, we created a parallel kitchen to mimic the positioning of the rest of the Concept’s elements. When the clients saw this version, they realized that their initial feelings about Concept B were correct. They preferred the prior design, and seeing the features moved only made them feel more confident of their first choice.
We were still happy to have presented an additional option, as Concept C allowed the clients to see all of the same elements working in different ways in their space.
Sometimes you need to see different variations on a similar theme to truly decide which layout will work for you and your family.
Ultimately, our clients decided they really loved Concept B in most of its original form. That is the design we proceeded with. You will see in the 3D renderings below that small modifications have been made throughout the process to better suit our clients needs.
This natural evolution of the design is another reason why we love presenting 2D images first. Clients are able to see themselves using and navigating the space, without feeling backed into a design corner.
In the renderings for this project, we made tweaks to the Concept B, including adding additional pathways, a repositioned spa, and a few other refining items.
A rendering showcasing the pool, new circular-style spa, and covered living area.
As noted, we made several adjustments to our initial designs. One of these was a redesign of the spa. Inspired by Miami design, we presented our clients with a spring on more common angular options and presented a circular spa design. This spa will be built as a perimeter overflow, adding some dynamic movement to the space. The homeowners loved the idea, and were excited to see it take shape.
Even as we built renderings out, and details continued to be fine tuned, the circular spa stayed. At one point during the process, the homeowners decided they wanted an automatic pool cover. We love automatic covers, and think they’re an incredible way to add convenience and functionality to a pool. However, they don’t work if your pool has any irregular edges.
Because of this, we repositioned the spa back further in the design. The final project will still feature the circular spa design, however the pool itself will retain functionality for an automatic cover to be installed.
Plank and Feature Wall
A view looking over the pool toward the pergola. Visible is the feature wall with the long wooden runway style plank in front, allowing homeowners to easily move through the entire space.
Another highlight of the rendering process was seeing the envisioned feature wall spring to life. This feature wall sits behind a run of wood we dubbed “the plank”. Clients can use the plank runway to navigate to the pergola-covered living space, passing by the triple water feature wall. This water wall creates an illusion of falling directly into the pool, while being recycled into reservoirs instead.
Focal Points and Kid Friendly Spac
A night rendering including grassy space to play, and a look at the linear shape of the space.
As you look around the corner into the length of the yard, you see the kitchen and kid-friendly play area. We mentioned in our discussion of the initial design renderings that we wanted our clients to look out their window onto a focal point of the design. With the pool located alongside the far end of the house, in Concept B, this focal point became the fire pit.
A look out over the yard from the home. From their house, our clients can see a focal point fire feature, as well as their kitchen, backed by decorative privacy panels.
In the rendering above you can see the kitchen remains functional, without consuming too much space in the yard. Behind the seating area and grill we have placed three large OutDeco panels. The entire perimeter of the backyard is carefully landscaped to enhance privacy, and add an injection of green and color.
Finally, our designs need to serve all of the needs of the people who live inside of them. Next to the kitchen and seating area is a large grassy space for the kids to hang out, complete with a play structure, and plenty of room to run or throw a ball.
Small Details Make a Big Difference
In every project, there are small details that we believe really work to bring the space to life. In this property, one of these aspects is the linework.
Rendering showcasing the angled lines of material, consistent through pavers, planking, and the patio.
As you can see in the above rendering, pavers have been placed at a 45 degree angle, running through the space and adding real texture and substance. A line of turf is complimented by a line of pavers. The eye follows this line across the pool to the patio, only to see this design mimicked in turn.
In the paver patio, alternating shades recreate these 45 degree lines, linking one side of the pool to the rest of the yard’s design. These line’s and alternating coloring even carries onto the beginning of the plank which leads to the pergola covered deck. This small detail effectively ties all areas of the space together, without feeling forced. Sometimes, it’s the most subtle details that make the biggest difference in the execution of the design.
Final Renderings & Design Overview
Our final round of renderings reflected a few more small changes we made to the initial design, all to make the space more functional for our clients. When reviewing previous rounds of renderings, the homeowners decided to opt for a fully covered pergola on the deck next to the pool.
A final rendering showing the opaque pergola cover and privacy fencing.
This will allow them to enjoy the space during more weather, and offer complete shade no matter what time of day or how harsh the California sun may get.
Additionally, visible in these renderings is the added privacy fencing around the perimeter of the property.
A nighttime look over the pool, toward the feature wall and connecting plank runway.
Once we have made all of the applicable changes and our clients are 100% satisfied with the project, we will create final plans to present. These plans are viewable below and include the site survey, 3D rendering, as well as any applicable lighting and planting layouts.
Water and Earth wants our clients to feel fully informed. Being equipped with all applicable knowledge guarantees homeowners will understand the scope and process of the construction of their living space.
To Be Continued!
This project is currently coming to life. Construction is underway, and we plan to have the space completely finished by April, 2022. We are excited to share the finished results with
In the meantime, if you are eager to see more of our design transformation, check out the blog for more complete design write ups, or give us a follow over on Instagram. We love hearing your feedback.