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Cute, Modern Backyard for New Construction: Burlingame Landscape Design Challenge

In today’s landscape design challenge, we visit a transformation completed for a homeowner in Burlingame. The owner of this home had recently renovated the property from a small, nondescript pink box to the beautiful, modern home you will see throughout this blog post. She had a vision for the space and was excited to bring her personal touches to an updated outdoor living space. We love when clients are collaborative, and we were excited to jump in.

On her wishlist was a custom pool, patio space, plenty of green grass for the kids, and an overall sleek, modern design that would match the refined style of her completed home. After a series of discussions, we settled on a design direction that incorporated all of the functionality she was after while retaining the cool, California modern style of the property.

3D Renderings

Before any project breaks ground, we bring the design to life in a series of 3D renderings. 3D renderings allow the client to see the proposed final result of their space, and make adjustments to the design as necessary. Below, you see the final renderings for this Burlingame home.

Above, an aerial rendering of the backyard shows a space that incorporates all of the homeowners wish list items while capitalizing on both space and style. A long driveway is intersected by the round pool deck. A real grass lawn and lush landscaping inject color and life. In the back corner, an inset trampoline is surrounded by a sleek deck. This deliberate layout allows for style and function in equal parts, and offers something unique for every member of the family.

Walking out of the rear entrance, the client steps down onto a large, Techo-Bloc paver patio. From here, they look over a brand new, concrete pool with an integrated 8X8 spa. A large planter serves multiple purposes, acting as both a landscaping element, but also retaining function as a base of a water feature wall and modern take on a jumping platform.

You’ll notice that the driveway in this space deviates from the classic design, and for good reason. Though the garage structure in this space was going to be repurposed as a pool house, neighborhood code does not allow for this structure to exist without a driveway. To meet this code while avoiding a stereotypical garage look, we intercut the concrete slabs with the round patio. With the lounge chairs removed, the hardscaping retains its function as a driveway that meets code, while prioritizing the future, non-garage purpose of the structure.

Looking back toward the house, you see a nighttime rendering of the space. The patio immediately off of the home now houses a brand new fire pit as well as an arbor, which serves as an anchor for twinkling string light. Along the fence you see a series of three new privacy panels, which break up the line of the fence and add some modern visual interest and texture to the design.

At the far side of the yard, you see an additional kid-friendly element that is unique to this space. An inground trampoline is surrounded in this rendering by decking, and bordered by a large swatch of real, green grass.

After reviewing this final design, the client was excited to break ground on the project. Today, we’re excited to share the finished space.

The Finished Space

When all was said and done, the final result was a beautiful outdoor living space that was faithful to the final renderings. Of course, Water and Earth prioritizes client collaboration. Thus, minor tweaks are often made as construction occurs to ensure that all specificities of the design are in line with our clients vision for their backyard. However, changes to the design of this particular property were ultimately minimal.

Above, you see an aerial view looking toward the back of the home. Here you can see the beautiful finished renovation of the home itself that is now seamlessly complimented by a modern, refined backyard. To the left side of the frame, the modified driveway is intersected by that unique, round Techo-Bloc paver patio. A long, custom concrete pool houses an integrated spa and is finished with the multipurpose feature wall and raised bed. To the right, a long stretch of real, green grass is bordered by a line of trees.

Zooming in closer to the back of the home, you see the string lights suspended from the home and anchored by the new. Below, the new fire pit crackles and geometric, gray Techo-Bloc pavers lead you toward either side of the space. Small raised planters line the property’s back steps, contrasting organic foliage against sleek, minimal concrete.

Looking over the pool from the other side of the yard, you see how a multitude of different lighting applications have been used to transition this space from day to night. Path lights illuminate the patio, while pool lights glow blue just beneath the surface of the water. Along the fence, spotlights cast a warm glow on the trees.

In the image above, you get a closer look at the raised bed at the side of the pool that has been designed for multipurpose use. Not only does it carry the landscaping from the fence to a central part of the yard, but it also houses the waterfall feature and provides a platform for kids to jump into the deeper end of the swimming pool. Finished with a blue tile, this feature showcases the Water and Earth approach to design, where function and aesthetics seamlessly overlap.

Taking a closer look at the unique driveway, you can see another area of problem solving within this design. As is the case in a majority of our designs, this custom pool features an automatic pool cover. However, to accommodate the driveway we needed to find a way to prevent the final install from interfering with potential car traffic.

To do this, we pitched the far end of the pool up higher, and created the distinct curve at the end of the driveway. This small detail adds both functionality and style to the design, and echoes the lines of the rounded, intersecting patio making both elements look intentional and cohesive.

In the very back corner of the yard you see the inground trampoline brought to life. This distinct feature provides more space for kids to play without impeding on the sleek lines of the finished backyard. As this project was completed, the proposed deck was removed. Instead, natural grass surrounds–a relative rarity for southern California properties.

When all was said and done, the finished space was a direct reflection of the homeowner’s excellent style, while meeting functional needs for every member of the family. From green grass for the kids, to a sleek spa and fire pit for the grown ups, this backyard now has a renovation that matches the home itself.

Interested in viewing more design walkthroughs like this one? Visit our blog! For day to day updates on all of the latest Water and Earth projects, follow us on Instagram.

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